Jooly's Joint: people with MS supporting each other

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But I just got new clubs

by Doug

In August 1995, I had just bought a new set of golf clubs. Two weeks later I was in the hospital. I knew the golf gods didn't like me, but really! Actually, I believe my problems began in the summer of 1991 and had nothing to do with golf.

It began with eye strain and a tingly sensation in my legs when I had a good run, walk or bike ride. I thought the fatigue was the symptom of a bad cold. The only thing that concerned me was the pinched nerve in my neck. How did that happen and why did my left hand go numb? Why was I getting those bad headaches? Physiotherapy should have helped, but it didn't.

My family doctor suspected Multiple Sclerosis and booked an appointment with a neurologist. Quite a big deal for something so minor, I thought. The specialist had me look through a scope to a checkerboard with moving lights. Probes were attached to my body. The neurologist then made an appointment for in the Foothills Hospital in Calgary for an MRI because the waiting list in Edmonton was a year long.

The Foothills MRI unit reminded me of NASA. I felt as if I was entering the space age. Men in green suits slid me into a large donut shaped hole that hummed and rattled like it was ready to blast off.

Two weeks later I had another appointment with the neurologist. He explained to me about the myelin sheath, the spinal cord and what had happened. He proscribed a steroid and a month on prednisone had me back to normal. It wasn't that serious I thought, but I joined the MS Society as a support if I ever needed one.

A couple of years passed and my job changed in the company where I worked. I was back working shifts. The change in my sleep pattern brought on the flu and one night I had to sleep beside the toilet. Why did I vomit constantly and why did I have a splitting headache? By morning my eyes were blurred and my hands were numb. Maybe it's the MS again, I thought. Time to get back to the neurologist.

The following day the doctor gave me another prescription for prednisone. I knew I had been right. In a month I could ride my bike to Morinville or Fort Saskatchewan for coffee. This MS is no big deal. (A typical case of denial if there ever was one.)

On August 1st I bought a brand new set of golf clubs, a new bag and a new cart. I was in heaven. On August 14th I played a round of golf but it really tired me out. I had a hard time walking off the course. I immediately went to bed. The next morning my eyes were blurry. A good sleep and I would be back to normal I thought. On the 16th, I called for another appointment with the neurologist but couldn't see him until the 21st.

The night of August 17 was a sleepless one. By morning I could hardly walk. I was seeing double and slurred speech made me sound drunk. A lot more concerned, I called the neurologist again at nine. "If you can make it here by 10.00 you can see him." the receptionist said. By 10:00 I had seen the doctor and by 11:00 I had been admitted to the University Hospital. I had always wanted to go to university, but not this way.

That night in hospital my entire left side became paralysed. I received a powerful steroid, which seemed to work in reverse. Over the next two days my situation deteriorated. "My dad is sterilised on his right side," my eight year old son told my friends. He may have been right I washed regularly with a sterile surgical soap.

Three weeks in the University Hospital taught me to walk again but I didn't have any stamina or balance. "Would I like to go to the Glenrose Hospital for physiotherapy" I was asked? How soon could I go? There was no question in my mind that I would again ride my bike or walk 18 holes of golf.

My time at the Glenrose taught me the seriousness of MS. I learned to walk short distances with use of canes and to use a wheelchair. My time there also taught me to look at the positive. I could walk a little and lift my wheelchair as needed. I saw others and knew things could always be worse.

The Glenrose had a library and as my vision started to come back I decided to do some research. With this goal in mind, I remembered the MS society had much information. I knew the MS society would help me.

I registered with DATS and now travel with their assistance. I make the MS Victory Society one of my stops. Because the LRT is wheelchair accessible, I use it to help me get around. Now that spring has sprung and the snow has disappeared from the sidewalks, I can use the wheelchair out doors.

Summer is almost here...and summer is golf season. I plan to rent a golf cart and use my new clubs. Maybe this year the golf gods will be a little more lenient.

And yes the golf gods are good. I lost my slice, increased my drive and have been out more this year than last.

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