On a Day Like This, Oh Lord, Help Me!

(This is going to be realllly long.  It was just that kind of day.)

I started off my lovely day by not going to sleep.  I had it planned so I could get about 4 hours of sleep before I had to head to Cincinnati to meet a friend and then go to 2 different neurological test appointments.  My ability to do math once I pass the "too tired" stage is seriously impaired, and I ended with 2 hours of sleep time.

Seeing as how I’d not taken my regular meds, in hopes that the tests would go better as a result, I spent at least an hour of that time laying there, too sore to sleep.

So I slept for maybe an hour, then my Mom called to wake me up (thanks Mom), and after hearing "be careful, conditions are great for black ice", I discovered that my watch was dead.  

Now, I’m one of those people who never takes my watch off… I shower with it on, I swim with it on, I do dishes with it on, and I look at it at least every 5 minutes, just to make sure it’s still there.  I can’t tell left from right unless I look to see which hand my watch is on.  I need my watch.  I was running too late to do anything about it, though, so I just stuck it in my pocket, put a place-holder bracelet on that wrist, and headed for Cincy.

My trip there went fine.  The traffic wasn’t as bad as I expected, the black ice only showed up a bit on the back country roads, and everyone somehow managed to stop without hitting anything or anyone when those three deer ran right out in front of us in the middle of a suburbian city street.  

I was on my way to meet @K_Dad for the first time, for brunch at a little breakfasty restaurant.  Google had me go through 3 unnecessary school zones on the way to the restaurant, but I think I managed to get there relatively on time.  

K_Dad’s a great guy, btw.  (I already knew that, but it was fun to have it confirmed :).  I talked way too much, probably, but he’d have to expect that of me, right?

The meal was pretty great (though, what kind of breakfast joint doesn’t have tomato juice? and no, V8 will not do), thanks K_Dad!.

The remainder of my day was absolutely horrible.

I spent about 30 minutes driving around town trying to find a watch battery before I had to get to my first appointment.  No luck.  

I did manage to make it to my appointment on time, though.  Where I got the pleasure of being  tortured by a neurologist.  

And when I say tortured, I mean that the technician hooked me up to electrodes, and shocked me with every last bit of juice her machine was willing to give her.  She spent a considerably amount of time baffled by the fact that there was no response from my nerves, and repeated the shocking sequences over and over again, until she’d convinced herself that the lack of results was due to my screwed nerves and not her incompetence.  

She repeated this process with each nerve she was tasked with finding, until she’d found the ones she could and given up on the rest.  The neurologist on duty then sunk 4" needles straight into my muscles (oops, straight in was the goal, "was that a blood vessel? ack, you’re gushing!") and forced me to clench those muscles against the needles, so he could read the impulse output that the needles picked up.  I wimpered, I yelped, I groaned, I coughed, and I believe, for the first time in my 21 years of being tortured by neurologists, that I actually screamed at one point.  The arm they were testing, after all, started the day in excruciating pain, and the needles just put me over the edge.  At least I didn’t cry.

They should have been done with that test, but the neurologist, who was sitting in the room during the whole 1st round of torture, watching the technician, decided to try to find that pesky nerve one more time, and shocked me for a while again.  Thanks, man.  It’s my own fault,  though.  I was over-tired, and a bit giddy, and trying to recover from the shame of screaming, so I told him he could go ahead and double-check if he felt the need.  Surprisingly, he got the same results.

So they finally finished with that and walked out, leaving me to get dressed… erm, they’d pushed my chair out into the hall somewhere earlier to make room in the tiny exam room we were in.  My shirt was on that chair.  I had taken my gown off before I realized this, but they were a little quicker than I, and both came pushing my chair back through the door just in time to see me standing there in my sports bra.  Awkward.

So after dressing and trying to recover my dignity with jokes, I stood there schmoozing long enough to find out how bad the test results were.  Pretty darn bad.  Completely useless, actually.  All of that torture?  For absolutely nothing.  

So I strapped on a wrist brace and I rolled my dejected, tortured, incredibly sore self down a floor to the imaging department to wait for my MRI that was supposed to happen in a couple of hours. They decided to be nice and try to work my MRI in before their next appointment.

And by being nice, I mean, they decided to lead me, my chair, and my freshly-electrocuted arm to the other side of the UC campus: through 5 different buildings, across carpet, around obstacles, up ramps, through tunnels, over the river and through the woods to the MRI machine we go.  Thank God it was all indoors.  I didn’t make it, my leader had to push me up the last ramp or two.

When we got there I was informed that I’d be spending the next 45 minutes or so laying face-down, with my right arm stretched out in front of me, palm up.  The poor tech must have spent 20 minutes finding a way to get me positioned that way.  It turns out holding my arm palm-up was not a feat I could accomplish, so I was aided by a million foam pads, pillows, sheets, towels, and anything else non-metalic she could find.

My shoulder started screaming about 2 minutes in.  My entire hand was numb after 5 minutes.  She gave me some cheap ear plugs, so the machine wouldn’t deafen me, but they apparently haven’t heard of muzac at UC.  Oh, and that 45 minutes?  It was really an hour and a half.   And it was freezing in there.

At least they got some good images, and they were nice enough to provide me with my own copy.


Hopefully these will be more useful than the conduction studies.

They sent an escort to help me make my way back to that imaging waiting room 5 buildings away, where I settled in with my laptop, loaded up on every med I could possibly take without overdosing or rendering myself unconscious, and settled in to wait on them to kick in.  I felt remarkably well once they did, all things considered, and decided to head home.

My tired self thought the ceiling tiles in the elevator would... on Twitpic I realized once I got on the road that I’d waited for rush hour.  And that black ice Mom warned me about had settled in.  I got some gas and headed out.  It took me 45 minutes to go 15 miles.  My head was starting to bob, so I decided to stop and eat.

Knowing my arm was not really functional, I opted against my beloved Skyline 3-way and headed to Steak’n’Shake, where I wouldn’t have to use a fork.  Little did I know that Steak’n’Shake hasn’t heard of the ADA.  Their handicapped entrance?  They’ve turned it into an emergency fire door.  I needed to use the restroom, and going to a different restaurant was no longer an option, so I grabbed my cane and made the trek around the building to the ‘main’ entrance, and somehow narrowly avoided falling on the unseen ice that was all over their sidewalk.

After a quick ‘talk’ with their manager, who really, honestly, didn’t give a flying flip about the ADA (Steak’n’Shake will be getting a letter once I’m rested), I settled in.  The waitress took one look at me and said "I can see you’ve had a bad day, I’ll just leave you alone, just let me know if you need anything".  Who knew Steak’n’Shake’s chili was actually good?  They had to cut my sandwich into 4 pieces so I could eat it left-handed, and put my drink in a to-go cup because their glasses were too heavy for me to move, but all in all it was a good meal.  This was not in keeping with my day from hell, so I decided to dump A1 steak sauce all over myself just for emphasis.  

I had a nice little power nap while I was waiting on my check (which is to say, I fell asleep while waiting on the waitress to come back and tell me how much I owed her).  Afterwards I felt well enough to get back on the road, and I somehow made it back to my car again without falling on that ice.

A few miles down the road my day got really good.  Traffic came to a complete stop, just past the only suitable detour around a huge stretch of st rt 28.  10 minutes later I came to an intersection with a not-so-convenient detour possibility and decided to take it.  2 miles later I found a semi jack-knifed across all 8 lanes of traffic at the four-way intersection that was my ticket to freedom… so back to the highway I went.  I spent the next 45 minutes or so at a dead stand still.  5 miles up the road something happened, I may never know what (according to this link there were at least 5 wrecks in that area alone), but it did finally get cleared…

By which time I’d written half of this blog post, from my laptop which was plugged into an adapter which was plugged into my cigarette lighter.  You’d be surprised how many random houses are broadcasting completely unprotected wifi.

After sitting there for 45 minutes I only made it another 15 miles down the road before my head started bobbing again, so I pulled off at a McD’s to finish this blog entry, figuring it would wake me up enough to make the last 20 mile stretch home.

I finished it, hit submit, and in keeping with my no-good very-bad day, lost the entire second half of the post.  I swear, it was better the first time around.  Why I stayed up to write this is beyond me, I think I’m just too tired at this point to tell myself to go lay down.

And people wonder why I don’t like to leave my house.

Here’s hoping you had a much better day than I, and Happy Hanukkah!


Filed under Disability

2 Responses to On a Day Like This, Oh Lord, Help Me!

  1. I was initially shocked at the whole Steak ‘n Shake disability fail, but then I remembered… this is the same company who failed just as badly when a deaf woman tried to order through their drive-through.

    • Tam

      Yeah… Honestly Steak ‘n Shake is just about the worst restaurant there is for disability issues. Their stores are always made with that weird double-door, and I swear I can’t even OPEN those doors most the time when I’m walking, and I’ve seen small children get CAUGHT in them…

      I really should have known better than to go there but I really do like their food.

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