1 year ago 💘 for day 53, 2019 with 579 words.

Today, my body went on strike

I hate hospitals. I grew up learning that routine trips to the hospital were common, yet I never got round to enjoying the experience. I hate the intense smell of bleach on the marble floors that all hospitals seem to have. I hate the red dispensers of foamy hand sanitiser placed all around the hospital. I hate the colour-coded garbs worn by the doctors, nurses, paramedics and trainees, but I think I'm just mad because I never quite learnt the code, and every time I get close to cracking the code in one hospital, I get hospitalised somewhere else and find that other hospitals have their own codes.

A sharp pain woke me up at 5am. I tried to grab my phone on the nightstand on my left. I tried, but my left hand didn't respond. My left arm didn't either. In fact, my left side felt completely absent.

"Okay Google, lights all the way on". I hear "You got it", I see the light coming all the way on, I see the left side of my body, and...I can't feel it. It felt like my body was split in two hemispheres, and only one was switched on, while the other wasn't even on standby - it was just...off.

Within seconds I realised that I had a massive pain going from my jaw all the way up to the left side of my head, then all the way down to my neck, now stiff, just as my left shoulder. I called 999 right away and stuttered my way through requesting an ambulance to come see me, while being surprised at this sudden stutter coming out of nowhere. The paramedics arrived within minutes and got in my apartment. They didn't question the mess in my living room, or why I had so many open packets of painkillers around me.

As they were strapping contraptions on me and taking numbers, I heard it. I heard one paramedic say the word "stroke".

I'm 28 going on 29 going on 80, I can't possibly be having a stroke. Right?

They rushed me to the hospital right away, and I spent about 15 hours there, being transported from floor to floor, getting injection after injection, being asked about my family medical history, as I cursed my family for not having a properly documented medical history except for gossip passed around the dinner table like condiments back when we were kids - "oh, your auntie Brenda? Oh honey, you know she can't be eating this, she's got the sugar", meaning, she has diabetes, meaning, the doctors diagnosed it and told her all she needs to know about it, but she never took care of it properly because she was taught to leave it to god instead and use prayer as replacement for therapy, or replacement for insulin, or both.

Today my body went on strike. Thankfully the doctors ruled out a stroke, but at least I learnt about hemiplegic migraines today. Thankfully the doctors did not write "stroke" in my discharge letter, but I will be going back and forth this coming week for further tests to rule out any possible clots that may have caused what happened today.

Today my body went on strike. Part of me thinks that this was all preventable. Most of me wishes that I weren't writing this right now. All of me hopes I never have to set foot in a hospital again.


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By Ben Ellis 💘

researcher. frequent traveller. speaker + writer. belligerent qpoc. tweets at @fr314.

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