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  • A very easy silver lining is that I was asked by the attending ER physician, while discussing my symptoms, if I was in medical school. Being intelligent and without health insurance requires a certain amount of self-care; when you have to deal with something as unpredictable as multiple sclerosis there is an extra level of intimate awareness into which one must be able to tap. And even then there will always remain a coin toss.

    A week ago, I felt bad enough to go to an Urgent Care -- when my knowledge combined with the internet's knowledge fails in conjunction with severe enough symptoms I will begrudgingly sit in a waiting room. It presented as a gastrointestinal problem and ultimately I paid $150 to be told to drink less coffee. So I cut my coffee, and ended up begging my partner to take me to the ER two days later. Things hadn't just gotten worse, they'd begun erring on the side of total disability. As I hugged the trash can between my knees on the toilet, few coherent words could come out of my mouth. I rocked back and forth in the thick soup of my reality. I called for the thermometer; I was sweating and burning. My temperature was 95.9° and my eyeballs had fallen prisoner to unrestrained opsoclonus. My specialist had to be taken into a conference call with the two attending physicians, and it was ultimately decided that what sent me to the ER was a pseudo-exacerbation caused by nerves at the base of my skull sending misfires into my organs. My official, on-paper diagnosis? Constipation.

    The hilarious juxtaposition between my ultimate, on-paper simple Dx and the complicated pain I had experienced became less hilarious when another attack began the following morning. I focused on driving the car home safely -- I could picture the bathroom at home and I kept the image of it clearly before me even as my eyes began failing. I made it home. I made it. I was safe but steadfastly on the surreal plateau of "ten on the pain scale." I breathed and it passed. Then I was fine as though nothing at all had just occurred. And yesterday nothing happened. And Oh Thank God today nothing is happening.

    Except my vision. I type with my eyes downcast, closing often. That is getting worse and I still have so many blank canvasses. I've got to file my SSDI appeal. I've got to fight with DSS about food stamps again. I've got to find the silver linings.

    [update: these attacks continued on a scale of severity from 4-8 for the next several weeks. i am certain this was no "pseudo" exacerbation]
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