Over the course of the next year I continued on as the overnight manager. It was a very strenuous job with bad hours which didn’t leave much time for a personal life. I knew I had to do this at some point in my career to get to the next level. After much push back, I was finally off of nights and back on days!! I had made the decision to ask Gina to be my wife. She really wanted to go to her home town that Christmas so I though it would be the perfect time to ask her.
I was given the Christmas week off and would return December 28th. Because of the weather and time crunch we decided to take the Greyhound out. This way we could get some rest while on the bus. Looking back now I should have known something was going on. My left foot kept going to sleep at work. Whether I was in the aisles walking or standing still having a conversation. I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time.
We got to her home town, I was nervous as hell obviously! I did do the traditional gentlemanly thing of asking her dad before proposing. He teared up and said yes with a big hug!!
My plan was to take her for a walk after the presents were done, to a look out near her home of the city she grew up in. As we got to the look out I gave her a kiss, told her how much I loved her then got down on one knee. She cried and said yes!! As I stood up I lost my balance and literally almost fell down the hill!! We laughed it of an headed back to the house. Everyone was incredibly happy for us and I called home to share the news.
A few days later we packed up and boarded the bus to come back home. It was a late day bus ride we would arrive back home well after dark. I remember being very tired, the bus wasn’t overly full as it was only December 27th. I was hugging the seat in front of me just to try to get comfortable. I was feeling tired and dizzy. I noticed I had the sensation of rug burn on my face from where the seat was while I was hugging it. My “fiancé” didn’t see anything.
When we got back to the apartment late that night I still had the sensation. We attributed it no being tired. The next day I was still dizzy bit the facial sensitivity had decreased. I remember having problems with my balance and vision through the store and the dizziness did effect my driving to a degree. Again I kept telling myself I was just needing more water.
Then on December 31st, I was on a causeway to get to work. I couldn’t keep the car in the lane and knew I’d made a bad decision. I took an early exit and looped slowly back to the apartment. I called my fiancé first to come home as I thought I should maybe go to the hospital. When she got to the apartment she looked at me and watched me walk, we went in.
My dad thappened o be visiting from the US at the time. He came tdown o the hospital for a few hours while we were waiting in emergency. After a few hours he left, I thought we too should leave. I mean I wasn’t bleeding or anything so we could spend all day there!! Finally a doctor saw me in the late evening. He did a battery of physical tests to see what was going on. At first she thought I had a detached retina. After using the eye exam machine she quickly ruled that out but wanted me to see an Optimologist the next day to be sure. She said the balance problem was not caused by my dizziness and now double vision as I could not walk a line with my eyes shut as most people should be able to do.
She sent me back to the waiting room to wait to be called for a CatScan “to see what’s going on”. A few more hours later I went for the CatScan and was given a bed in the Emergency department. As we sat there waiting for results, I told Gina to go home, it won’t be till tomorrow they get back to me anyway! She decided she would go as the following day would be a long one too.
I remember ringing in midnight and still not having heard the results. It was just after 12:30am January 1st that the doctor came to see us. Gina had just made it back to the hospital. The doctor calmly said that the CatScan showed abnormalities consistent with either Mini-strokes or Multiple Sclerosis. Given the symptoms I was exhibiting she was confident it was MS. She said she was going to do her best to get me in for an MRI later that day and she had already contacted Neuro for the consult.
You can only imagine what was going through my head let alone the woman I had asked to marry me…literally seven days previous! As I was going to be there for some time Gina went home to get some rest and make a few phone calls in the morning before coming back to the hospital.
So wthere is as, alone with my thoughts. At the time I knew absolutely zero about MS except that one distant third cousin who is almost twice my age has it. I didn’t know what my reality would be if it were MS. Or if it was Mini-strokes, what the hell does that mean for me??? Remember this is before the r time of mobile technology so it wasn’t a case of “Googling” anything from the bed. There was one nurse who obviously knew my situation. She comforted my thoughts of Gina walking away. She kept telling me shed been married for years, she looks at her husband the same way Gina looked at me.
It’s amazing how complete strangers can make such an Impact on your thoughts. With all I’d been through in 2003 in Red Deer I thought I’d been through enough. I didn’t have time to feel pity for myself. All I could think of was when am I having that MRI?!?!?! I needed to know what was going on. At the same time I just wanted to walk out of that hospital. Not to go anywhere just to get the fuck out!! Maybe a walk would help things to go away!! The only problem with that was, everytime I’d get up to piss or take care of Charlie I’d almost fall over! Even sitting on the toilet to empty Charlie I’d be so fucking dizzy I thought I was going to throw up.It took a lot for me that night, especially when I was alone, to absorb all of this information.
All I could do was wait for the MRI to narrow down what the hell was going on.