New Years Eve was peaceful for us, we did the same as usual, enjoyed some snacks, a bottle of wine and watched Hootananny on the TV. We were a little subdued as my Father-in-law had passed away suddenly the day before and it had been a big shock, particularly as I was with him at the time.
I went to bed feeling fine, I didn’t even feel tipsy, just tired.
I woke up New Years Day with pins and needles all up my right side. I thought they would go away and got on with my day, busying myself as much as possible to take my mind of them. They didn’t ease so I turned to Facebook and asked my friend for tips on how to get rid of pins and needles, but nothing suggested worked at all.
Around 11am I decided to call 111. I just wanted advice because these didn’t feel like normal pins and needles, they were overwhelming and even numbing. After taking my history they decided to send out an ambulance and I was like, what! I only have pins and needles.
The ambulance came checked me over and wanted to take me to A&E. “but I’ve only got pins and needles” I cried, I don’t want to go to hospital. So, they left me.
An hour later the pins and needles started on my left foot and I actually felt them rising through my left leg and starting in my left hand.
This really isn’t right I thought and sheepishly called my brother and asked him to take me to A&E.
I walked into A&E just before 3pm. It took ages to be seen. I went to the loo and felt a bit shaky but ok. At 5pm I’d been to give my details to a nurse and they finally called me to a cubicle. But I couldn’t stand up or walk. While on the cubicle bed I quickly lost all sensation in my arms and legs apart from pins and needles. I had no strength at all and was paralysed.
I was taken for an MRI but once inside the machine I had a panic attack so I had to come out. I was admitted to a ward.
The next morning I was taken to the MRI again but with sedation. I was in there for half an hour while they scanned my head. Then I came out for two minutes before they put me back in for fifty minutes to scan my spine. They wanted to put dye in and put me back for twenty minutes but I really couldn’t take any more so I was taken back to the ward.
They found inflammation on my spine and called it Transverse Myelitis. In the UK it’s pretty rare unless you have Multiple Sclerosis, which I don’t. I’ve had blood tests and a lumber puncture, where they take out some of the spinal fluid, but so far no answers as to why this happened to me.
I spent twelve days in hospital, five of them on intravenous steroids.
The day after my paralysis I regained my right arm, then slowly afterwards my left. A few days later I started to gain strength in my right leg and ten days later a little strength in my left leg. So, I’m still not walking unaided but I’m so grateful that I’m not having to be lifted anymore.
The pain is continuous and the pins and needles have not stopped, not for a second. Everything feels weird and I’m hyper sensitive to touch. The symptoms affect me from the waist down, and both arms. I have never in my life felt so awful, but I’m staying positive that I will make a good recovery. No-one knows if I will recover, or if I do, how long it will take. It could be weeks, months or even years. I may be permanently disabled.
I feel like my life is on hold at the moment. I’m taking each day at a time and feeling happier now that I’m home and can be with my children, even if I can’t do anything for them. At least I can speak to them, read to them, and cuddle them, so long as they are gentle with me.
Who would have thought that pins and needles could be so serious!