It was an early morning Thursday, in October 2015, when the ambulance with twirling red lights and sirens blaring finally took me into the ER of the hospital. In my mind, I was expecting to hear, like what we’ve heard before, that everything is happening because of my post polio condition and there is nothing that can be done except strong pain killers for the rest of my life. At that time, I secretly felt was not too long.
My wife who’s a doctor bypassed the usual ER procedures and requested for a Neurology consult right away. I thank the Lord for my wife that day for after the Neuro-doctor saw me, I was admitted quite quickly. That late afternoon, I got the first sign of good news.
The doctor came to my room that afternoon and basically explained the there were signs that went beyond the doctrinal conditions of post polio syndrome. He thought that my spinal cord was affected. So, the next three days, I underwent a battery of tests and scans. My wife was worried. As for myself, I was feeling a little bit hopeful. I thought that all I could look forward to was continued physical deterioration. But now there may actually be a chance.
When the nurse wheeled me to the doctor’s office, he showed us a number of x-rays. His diagnosis was that my entire spinal cord was being compressed. But the doctor’s main concern was that the compression in the neck area was actually endangering my life. You see, the C2 up to the C5 part of my neck actually regulate those parts of my body that have been failing. And to my surprise, my ability to breathe is affected as well.
My dear wife broke down in tears. For myself though, I had a strange sense of relief and peace. Of course, from a spiritual point of view, I knew the Lord was behind this. But that is for another story.
It was when my neuro-doctor brought in the spinal surgeon who introduced a radical procedure to fix my problem that I actually experienced a real hope. I had no fear but was quite elated.
To this, I again I say “Thank the Lord and let His name be praised.”
Until the next post,
It was around 2009, when I started feeling weakness on my left arm. My left arm is my working arm. I used it for throwing frizbees (which I was quite good at in my young days), lifting, carrying and most important, eating. I still remember it clearly. I was in a food court by myself ordering my favorite Spanish dish. My arm was shaking and I was losing my grip on the fork. It took me about 40 minutes to eat lunch where it usually takes 10 minutes. By 2012, I was either being fed by the help of someone or in the privacy of my home, I would eat like a dog (literally speaking). Then, my legs gradually gave out on me. It was not long until I was dependent on machinery to lift me out of bed unto my chair and commode. At least, I still had strength in my right hand to manipulate the joystick control of my electric wheelchair. But even that was short-lived.
Sure enough, by the time 2015 came around, I was having trouble driving my electric wheelchair anywhere. I found myself staying at home. In my heart, I surrendered to the idea that my continuing deterioration was my reality until the Lord takes me home. Then, the pain came. It was an indescribable pain that emanate from my waist down. Most of the time, I had a high threshold for pain, but this pain was beyond bearable. The only relief I got was when my wife would transfer me unto the commode chair. For two weeks, I slept on a precarious sitting position. The pain would come and go, but then the pain throbbed so much I was in tears. My wife had to call for an ambulance to take me to the hospital. It was an early Thursday morning, second week of October. The feeling all around was a desperate dismay, but believe it or not, good news was going to lift my spirit. That story, I’ll leave out for the next post.
May the Lord bless you!
Before October 2015, there was a time when I was standing on my own power. Though I was a victim of the polio epidemics of the ’50s, I was still very active and adventurous regardless my physical limitation. I played sports when I was young from American football, soccer, volleyball, racket ball, and fencing. I was also quite a good dancer. There was a even a time when I traipsed the trails of the high Sierras with a 70 pound backpack on my back. Those were the good ol’ days. I recall the highlights of my youth for all of you as a way of background.
If I remember right, I started to really slow down on 1998. By the time the millennium rolled in, I was riding an electric scooter (used by Seniors) up and down the streets of Manila as a way to compensate for not able to walk long distant anymore. Then I started to lose my balance more often and my legs would collapse with no warning. Then, one day as I was eating lunch, my left arm felt so weak that I could not lift the food up to my mouth. It was then that my wife and I went to the doctors. The word we got was that I was experiencing post-polio syndrome. It was a deteriorating muscular condition that been ailing many polio victims in their old age. Of course, I have long knew about post-polio and prepared for it. But I was not prepared for what happened next.
For now, I will leave it there for the next post.
With much hope, thank you.