Saturday, February 4, 2012

In The Depths

My cerebus for 9 days.

For ten days in December, I was hospitalized for treatment of a sensory neuropathy caused by an autoimmune disease. This is my first essay discussing it. Keep me in prayer. Thanks!

I lay on the elevated hospital bed with a thin paper sheet over my face. I felt sweat beading on my forehead. On my palms. Behind my knees.

The doctor tried in vain to relax me. He told joke after corny joke about doctors, nurses and residents. His residents were busy giving me lidacaine. Lidacaine that could not block out the searing pain of a needle being pushed into the main vein of my neck.

Which was followed by a long white tube that was inserted deep into my chest. The top of it hung out of my neck like some sort of medical cerebus with its three ports.

I felt my eyes starting to roll back in my head. Do you know what's  worse than searing pain? Suddenly feeling nothing. I struggled to speak. It felt impossible. Considering I'd spent the past three years losing the ability to control my legs like normal thanks to a sensory neuropathy, you'd think this would not be too frightening. But it was. Horribly frightening.

I mumbled out a weak "Help". The doctor with his corny jokes told me it would be okay. God, no, no, please help me speak... "My heart is racing...". One of the residents ran to grab a monitor. She put my right pointer finger in a tiny clip on cuff and sure enough, my heart rate had jumped extremely high.

"Oh no... Sweetie, Sweetie, calm down..." the corny doctor said in his thick Pakistani accent.

I had calmed down enough to hear his Pakistani accent. Enough to realize I hadn't passed out.


The bed lowered, my dad and stepmom were ushered back in my hospital room. They had been standing outside the door. Now they were at the foot of my bed with tears in their eyes.

My 74 year old roomate told them how brave I was. She was crying, too. I wiped away the tears that were streaking down my face and put my glasses back on.

For some reason, I couldn't bear the thought of everyone in that crummy little room crying.

"I'm okay..." Who's voice was that? Damn, I sounded horrible. I couldn't fool a soul sounding like that.

I couldn't fool my soul feeling like that.

I stared at the crucifix on the wall across from me. I couldn't think clearly. Not enough to even pray. Just stare. Stare at tiny metal Jesus. Stare at his tiny feet with the single nail through them.


Recently, I read a great quote by the late Catholic priest Father Daniel Lord. It was shared with me by Dawn Eden, an amzing writer who is no stranger to pain and perseverance herself. The quote says, "It may well be that I shall find you in the depths before I shall find you upon the heights."

That night, at St. Francis hospital, in the deep, in the valley, I found Him.


Don said...

I actually googled "sensory neuropathy caused by an autoimmune disease" to educate myself and perhaps gain a better understanding (which I wasn't able).

It does sound very painful though, and reading your blog has offered an idea of exactly how I'd feel as well, laying on an elevated hospital bed.

Of course, a prayer went out to you back in December and best wishes as you undergo future treatments. The quote makes perfect sense, I must say. First time ever hearing the quote.

Keep your head up, Alisha. I know you will.

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