I Give Myself 3 Tests Each Workday to Gauge My Symptoms
As a neuromyelitis optica (NMO) patient, sometimes I am under the impression that I am at a disadvantage compared with my healthy co-workers. Some of the daily routines that they complete effortlessly are a struggle for me. For this reason, at the end of my workday, I often feel as if I have passed a series of tests that are required for me to have a productive day.
During my workday, I give myself three tests due to my disability, which causes blurry vision, difficulty walking, and problems standing for long periods.
I’m a medical interpreter and independent contractor, which requires driving to different medical facilities. Most of the time, I take the highway, where I must pass my first test of the day, which is driving safely. When weather conditions become severe in the winter, I focus on the road 200%, because objects can look blurry because of the rain and the snow.
Also, like everyone else, I must deal with what I call the “Jeepers Creepers,” a reference to the movie of the same name. In the film, a giant truck terrorizes the main characters while they are driving. I call those drivers who get too close to my bumper “Jeepers Creepers.”
I take my second test when I arrive at the hospital where I’m working that day. I often must walk a little to get to the unit I’ve been assigned to. Some of these hospitals are psychiatric hospitals, which means a staff member must accompany me from the entrance to where I need to go.
I’ll follow them, but I can’t walk as fast as they do. They’ll occasionally look back at me and wonder why I’m not in a hurry like they are. They might even think I’m lazy. I walk more slowly than they do because my latest relapses made it hard for me to walk. Additionally, the lights in the hallway blind me, which doesn’t help, either.
My third test of the day is when my assignment involves a patient who requires surgery with local anesthesia. In those cases, I accompany them to the operating room. While some of these assignments are short procedures, they can also be long, and I won’t know when they’ll finish.
For example, I accompanied a patient in the OR who was having a cesarean-section. The anesthesiologist offered me a stool to sit on during the procedure, but I declined. The patient was visibly nervous and asked me to hold her hand. I couldn’t have held her hand if I had used the stool, as I would be in the way.
I didn’t regret my choice, because the baby’s birth was a magical moment, and I was glad to be there. However, after a while, I couldn’t feel my legs and my back. I was on my feet for a long time, which felt like I had received an epidural like her!
Some workdays feel tremendously long for me. However, the rewards of helping someone that day help me forget my disabilities. Those types of experiences make me feel alive.
Note: Neuromyelitis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Neuromyelitis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder.