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My first neurology appointment

There is no other way of putting it – babies are hard. Very hard. Nothing, nothing at all prepared me for what hit me when I had Bubsell. Not the advice from my family and friends nor the antenatal classes Mr Kindness and I had to attend two Saturday mornings in a row! Skirting over the physical trauma (which no one really wants to read) the emotional trauma was huge. The hormones raging inside my body made me feel and sometimes act like a lunatic – one minute I was in awe of myself and so overjoyed at the fact that I created a beautiful, perfect, gorgeous human being. The next minute I felt so guilty about almost hating this human being who had taken over my life in such way that I’d forgotten who I was.

Who was I before I had this child? What did I even used to do with all that ‘free’ time I had? For me the overriding thought above all of this was – due to the trauma that my body was facing on top of the ‘normal’ postpartum – did I regret having Bubsell? I used to cry to myself looking at Bubsell feeling ashamed for feeling this way. But the fact was that I loved this little creature with such fierce love that I answered my own question: no I didn’t regret having her! I was so so blessed and I would go through all this again just to know that I’d have her at the end.

Rather randomly I kept having this traumatic dream where someone kidnapped her and the emotion of never seeing her innocent little face again felt so real that I woke up in a sweat and cuddled Bubsell tight promising that I’d never leave her!

My Bubsell’s cute hands

With all these random thoughts and feelings buzzing through my brain I eagerly awaited seeing the neurologist at the private hospital. I’d never seen a neurologist nor knew what they did, so before my appointment I googled who I’d booked to see but found no online presence so I didn’t know who or what to expect!

On the day of the appointment I asked Mr Kindness to join me with Bubsell as he could also give an account of what my condition was like from his perspective. When I was finally called by the neurologist (who I shall refer to as Eccentric-Neuro) from the waiting room they were slightly old-looking and seemed friendly as we walked to their consulting room. They could see I had difficulty walking and mentioned this. I pointed out that this was because I had had a c-section and to reassure me they said they were aware of this from my GP’s referral letter.

When inside their room they asked for my account of why I was there and I told them with Mr Kindness pitching in with any additional explanation required. Eccentric-Neuro seemed to take it all in and asked me to describe the feeling in my hands to which I replied it felt like a burning feeling. They asked me to describe the burning but I couldn’t so they said “does it feel like you have been out in the snow, then come inside and your hands are thawing out?”. I said “YES that is EXACTLY what it feels like!”. And for the first time I thought – OH MY GOD – YES, FINALLY someone understands!

They examined my hands, legs and feet. Mr Kindness was watching throughout and the bit that shocked us both was when they did the pin-prick test, gently stabbing my skin with a pin starting from my feet and working up my ankle and leg: I didn’t feel a thing until just below my knee!

Their initial quick-fast diagnosis from hearing my story was that I might be deficient in vitamin B due to the sickness I experienced in early pregnancy. They prescribed a very high dose of Thiamine (300mg) once a day and Vitamin B Co Forte twice a day and said that my body would be ‘awash with vitamins’!

My prescription in Eccentric-Neuro’s handwriting

They wrote out blood tests that I needed to have done which I was able to get done there and then and they requested that I have CT and MRI scans and I also needed an electrical test (what was that?!). I eagerly got the blood tests sorted that day and awaited the rest of the tests.

I went back to the hospital on the Saturday at the end of that week to get my MRI scan done. It was a first as I’ve never had anything like that done before. I was asked to wait in the waiting room which had comfortable seats and was well lit with lots of colour in the room making it visually appealing. After a few minutes I was called by a technician who walked me to the MRI area. He handed me a gown and robe to change into. The gown was exactly the same as those in the NHS and once changed I was thankful for the robe as the back of the gown left nothing to the imagination! There was a locker in the changing room to put my clothes and bag and I took the key. I came out and was asked a series of questions by the technician. One was – “could you be pregnant?” so I replied that I hoped not seeing as I’d had a baby just six weeks ago. He looked at me bemused and ticked no!

If you’ve never had an MRI scan, I can tell you it’s a very strange experience. Before going into the machine, I was asked what seemed like a dozen times if I had any metal on me. The first time, the technician took my locker key and placed it on the side. I was then helped into the machine and given ear plugs and a headset. It didn’t take me long to realise their use as the machine was loud. SO loud! Another technician appeared and put a blanket on me and told me to relax and that it would take around 50 minutes and that would be a nice break from my baby! They also gave me a ‘panic’ button to squeeze if I had any issues at any point during the process. They asked me if I was good to go and I replied “yes” but I had no idea if they could hear me – and then it began.

An MRI scan is definitely not for those who are claustrophobic. Luckily they had placed a mirror above my head so I could see the technicians in their part of the room otherwise I would have felt really nauseous going into what looked like a long tunnel lying down. After what seemed like hours I was told that they had the images they needed and I was then let out. Once out of the machine I had a really fuzzy head. Escorted back to the changing room, I was told that the results would go straight to my consultant.

Mr Kindness picked me up from the hospital with Bubsell coo-ing in the back seat. I remember feeling so relieved to see Bubsell and a feeling of contentment passed over me even though I’d only been away from her for a short period of time!

The now ‘so-familiar’ MRI machine

The CT scan experience was pretty similar but I had a catheter put in which was so bizarre. I was told that once the machine was up and running, a liquid would flow into my body via the catheter and it be a warm feeling and I would even feel like peeing but it wasn’t real. That’s exactly what it felt like – it was such a random experience which is really hard to describe!

Is it unusual for women to have MRI or CT scans a few weeks after giving birth? It seems so as in both instances I had to ask for help to be lifted off the machine due to my c-section. In both instances I nearly pulled the technicians down with me as they weren’t expecting how hard I would pull! At the CT scan the technician even asked me not to pull so hard as she had a back problem!

After experiencing these two high-tech tests, I now had just one remaining: the electrical test (formally known as an “EMG”) to look forward to.

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