The Chronicles of Ophelie the Wussy Pally

I want to thank everyone for your words of encouragement, it really helped keep morale up over the past few days. In the grand scheme of things, two weeks of being a bit sore with less mobility really isn’t a big deal, but I’m a huge wuss and my arse was thoroughly kicked. It took me a few tries, but this post was written lightheartedly and is meant to be read in the same tone. As my friends always tell me: “If you’re not worth a few laughs, you’re not worth much.” (I know, I have really nice friends.)

They say that when really bad things happen, you sort of change your view on stuff. I guess that’s kind of true. For example, I now view 5pm as a perfectly acceptable bedtime. And I view 16 hours as a reasonable, good night of sleep.

Mostly, though, its everyone else who changes. People talk louder, have more off key voices, smack their gum more, have more loud colds, make more noise when they turn book pages, have this annoying habit of existing… At the hospital, they ask about suicidal ideation but, really, its homicidal ideation they should worry about.

There’s always an ambiguous feeling when you’re sick. Part of you is all “NO! I WANT TO DO THIS MYSELF! I CANT ACCEPT RIDES TO CLASS OR ANYTHING I HAVE TO DO IT MYSELF ME ME ME!“. The rest of you is overwhelmed with despair at the thought of having to wipe your own arse at the toilet (not that I have that problem right now, bowels were among the first functions to shut down) or to chew your own food. Chewing is srz bzn, I assure you.

I’ve always criticized other MS patients I meet in the hospital about their whining, but now I kind of relate. I’ve been providing anyone within shouting distance of my progress: “Well, today I can flex my legs a bit more and my left foot is slightly less tingly, but my hands are still very tingly and my back feels sprained from about the fourth vertebrae down, and it hurts when I lean slightly to the left and- Hey!
why are you walking so fast! I can’t keep up! Stop running away from meeeeeeee!

The FIX ME NAO Moment

I went to Emerg for the first time on Wednesday. Several classmates, bless them, offered to stay with me. In case you’ve never been to the ER in Newfoundland, I’ll point out that offering to wait with someone there is a generous, generous gesture. (I complain about a lot, but I can’t complain about my classmates- I am very fortunate to have such wonderful people in my life.) Not wanting anyone to suffer from malnutrition or hypothermia, I gently refused their offer. To me, it wasn’t a big deal: alone and uncomfortable at home, alone and uncomfortable at the hospital, same difference. At least in the hospital, you eventually get meds.

I bravely announced my presence to the triage nurse and provided her with my complete health history.

Ok I lie- in between sobs, I whimpered something about tingling, muscles refusing to obey and constipation and omg it hurts make it stop. Then I collapsed in a corner where I stayed huddled for the next 5 hours.

At least I felt at home in the hospital waiting room. In school, I was the only person slowly shuffling around like an 80 year old. In the hospital, everyone moved just like me! Lots of other people were also crying and thrashing around in agony, so for the first time since my body gave me the finger, I wasn’t embarrassed. I then had a talk with myself.

Myself: You don’t like the idea of feeling as if you have progressed Parkinsons?
Me: NOOOOO I’m so ashaaaaaamed! (As if diseases affecting movement were something to be ashamed of…I don’t get my own logic.)
Myself: Well, these people move like you and they were probably in car accidents. Maybe you could feel like you were in a car accident?
Me: A bad car accident?
Myself: Horrific!
Me: With lots of blood and broken windows?
Myself: Blood and broken windows everywhere!

From then on, I saw myself looking like a horrific car accident survivor and not someone aged before their time. As odd and disturbing as it was, I felt much better.

The hospital team that helped me when I finally got a bed was simply fantastic. Being a somewhat of a thrill-seeker (Jackass is actually a documentary on my childhood), I hang out in ERs a lot. I’d never been treated so well. As I was settling into my sexy hospital nighty (and cursing the fact that my legs hurt too much for shaving, a girl has her pride!) the nurse came in, extracted some blood (I’ve developed a reflex of extending an arm whenever I see a nurse). As she was leaving, the doctor walked in, took some notes. As he was leaving, the porter came in, took me to X-Ray where there was no wait at all, then I was returned to my unit. The doctor was waiting, saying they’ll give me steroids for my MS flare-up and take care of my, um, digestive issues.

Treating digestive issues is the best! I went from about a 7 on the pain scale to being relatively pain free in the span of 10 minutes. If I had been able to move my legs properly, I would have danced like those guys in Viagra commercials.

Also interesting fact: the neurologist on duty that night was the instructor who taught my class on MS treatment in school. Newfoundland’s a small world.

Filling Up On Them Steroids

Steroid treatments… Most MS patients will tell you steroid treatments are terrible and painful, causing depression and irritability… I suspect they’re lying to cover up how awesome steroid treatment is. It’s almost as joyful as constipation relief. Me, when I get steroids, I go from my usual state of

to a state of

They also cleared up my acne and these lingering hives. (Speaking of hives, wouldn’t it be hilarious if this whole thing turned out not to be MS but shingles?)

Coming off steroids is another story. I didn’t bother with a taper and, um, remember what I said about everyone becoming more irritating? I’ll leave the outcome of that to your imagination. But the energy boost along with some of the symptoms getting better is well worth it. Plus the nurses give me candy.

(The candy is for a side effect of bad taste- like bad taste in your mouth, not bad taste as in suddenly wanting to watch Gossip Girls. The nurses say that when they’re giving steroid treatments to men and there are other men in the room, the other men demand to have candy too. Apparently other women in the room do not demand candy.)


I was less whiny for a bit, but was delivered by a classmate to the Emerg triage nurse again on Saturday. This time I was a bit more… or a bit less…. First there was a line up for the triage nurse. I couldn’t stand up, so I sat on the floor until some security guards found me a chair. If you want to skip ahead of a triage line, just sit on the floor.

The triage nurse himself also had MS. He wanted to make conversation and normally I would have loved to chat, but his timing was off.

Nurse: Oh, I’ve had MS for 4 years, how long have you had MS?
Nurse: What kind of symptoms have you had in the past?
Nurse: What do you think of the new stent treatment.

On the bright side, my incoherence won me the isolation room. I love the isolation room. It’s a bit on the chilly side (its designed for people drowning in their own sweat from fevers), but you get a couch and some privacy. Somehow I also discovered that sitting with my elbows on my knees and rocking back and forth would lessen the pressure on my ribcage (abdominal muscles trying to break my ribcage was what landed me in the ER) so I did that. For the entire, 4 hour, wait. (Though the waiting room looked full, there must have been less heart attacks and car accidents because the wait was an hour shorter than usual.)

The hospital team that night was pretty good too. But I did discover that when you’re almost a pharmacist, you get treated somewhat differently than the average patient.

Doctor: I see you’re a pharmacist. What should I give you?
Doctor: Would you like another course of steroid treatments while you’re here?
Doctor: Do you still have tingling in your legs?
Doctor: Can you take codeine?

In retrospective, I probably should have asked for the steroid treatment and the codeine but my judgment wasn’t at its best. (Granted my lack of working bowels might be an issue with the codeine since codeine = constipation.) Honestly, pharmacy students in pain are not patients to be intimidated by.

I left with a muscle relaxant, which is what I had in mind from the start. It ended up not working. Bummer.

Well, actually, it did wonders for my legs. After my first dose kicked in, they became very, very light! I walked around like I was on the moon. Then I toppled over and slept for 16 hours.

Which brings us to now. My muscles are still trying to break my ribcage, but the extra rest seems to be helping. The excruciating bruised feeling in my sides I had over the weekend is gone, mostly it just feels like a combination of wearing a belt too tight and a really bad back sprain.

I’m still having trouble walking, but stubborn girl that I am I’ve started using stairs again and I’ll be able to walk decent distances very soon. I managed to shave my legs which would be cause for celebration if it weren’t the middle of winter. (The neurology resident who examined me last week found it amusing that all her female MS patients ask for their hairy legs to be excused.)

My hands are still pretty tingly and I whined while typing this post, but, as they say, internet before comfort.

And hey! Why are you walking so fast? I’m not finished! Wait up! Stop running away from meeeee!

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22 Comments on “The Chronicles of Ophelie the Wussy Pally”

  1. Ouch! This sounds awful. I am glad that you are on the mend (if you can call it that), and I hope that your ribs get released soon.

    Warm wishes!

  2. repgrind Says:

    You are far stronger than I ever would be. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to deal with that.

  3. Essence Says:

    “If I had been able to move my legs properly, I would have danced like those guys in Viagra commercials.”

    I spit out my milk as I was drinking and reading this, I laughed so hard. πŸ˜‰ Glad you’re feeling at least a tad better!

  4. theerivs Says:

    I never knew you had MS, after reading this I simply went wow.

    I applaud you for your toughness, courageness, and your smooth legs. πŸ˜‰

  5. ladyerinia Says:

    There is really nothing that I can say except *hug* and that I wish you the best and hope you feel loads better soon.

  6. Gilomor Says:


    I’m sorry you haven’t been feeling well. I’ve been lurking on your blog for sometime now and I really enjoy it. This post really touched me and I hope you are back to 100% soon.

    Please feel better!!

    • Ophelie Says:

      Many thanks, both for your well wishes and your compliments to my blog πŸ™‚ It’s always a pleasure to “meet” a new reader!

  7. Apple Says:

    Ugh, I can’t imagine how much that sucks. 😦 My girlfriend Jackie has fibro, which I know isn’t the same, or even generally as excruciating as MS, but having to sit by and not be able to help when someone’s hurting like that just makes me go “AUGH”. So in lieu of being able to use Cure Disease or something on you, I will just send good thoughts your way, and hope that you feel better soon. <3333

    • Ophelie Says:

      Fibro’s a nasty one 😦 At least with MS, I get some comfort in being able to see on an MRI whats causing the problems. People with fibro don’t have that luxury. Pain is so much easier to deal with when you know whats happening.

      Being a caring friend does a lot more to help pain than you might think. Personally, my pain tolerance is much higher when I’m in enjoyable company than when I’m alone. And I think one of the reasons this flare up was tougher emotionally on me was exactly because in the past I’ve always had family or a boyfriend to pamper me when I was sick, whereas this time I was more isolated and it took a few days to get my social network going. So I’m sure that just by being a good friend, you’re helping your girlfriend a lot.

  8. Brangwen Says:

    If you find a way to get rid of wonky eye and sunburn (when not sunburned, especially in places that generally dont see the sun) you will have my undying gratitude. Lol at the stent comment from the nurse πŸ™‚

    But, you know, feel free to complain! I do haha! More steroids. Moar!

    I send you dreams of an immune system that is not bored.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I don’t get the flushing or wonky eye (first time I hear of that one!) side effects at all. From what I understand, those effects are dose related, so you might be getting a higher dose than me, or you’re getting it too fast. I always get the infusion over 40-45 minutes and I only ever get a bit of bad taste towards the end and a feeling of being high.

  9. Echo Says:

    Get well soon, but remember that Bad things come in threes! :p

  10. Ophelie Says:

    @Everyone: Guys, guys! This post was meant to be HUMOUROUS! You’re supposed to laugh!

    Many thanks for your warm thoughts, though, I really appreaciate it. I’m happy to say that I’m doing better every day and while I’ll probably have some lingering discomfort for awhile (don’t we all?), at this rate I expect to have all my mobility back by the end of the weekend.

    I also got my computer back this morning *squee* I wonder if the intensity of my reaction at this flare up had to do with my lack of internetness… I mean, normally I’d be THRILLED to have an excuse to lie on the couch and do nothing for two weeks!

  11. Vidyala Says:

    I know you MEANT it to be funny, and it’s funny because your personality is funny, but mostly people just see: “OPHELIE. PAIN!” and wish you didn’t have to go through this.

    I don’t buy the Wussy Pally thing, by the way. You are tough and badass!

    • Ophelie Says:

      You didn’t see me wimpering like a baby in the emergency room! The time I was in the regular waiting area, all the grandmothers in the room gave me tissues.

      I think there’s always some part of me that has to laugh at everything. When the nurse with MS was trying to make conversation with me as I was screaming my head off, I couldn’t stop thinking 2 things: “We must look so incredibly silly right now” and “This is so going on my blog”

      It reminds me of an interview I read with a 10 or 11 year old survivor of a plane crash. When asked what he was thinking as the plane was going down, he answered: “I thought we must all look ridiculous leaning over and holding our ankles like that”. I thought it was a brilliant answer.

  12. Will Says:

    Wow; it’s been a while since I’ve commented, hasn’t it? I’m kind of late to the post, so I hope that it’s relevant for me to comment.

    I wish I could do something more than just offer good thoughts and wishes, but that’ll have to suffice, I’m afraid.

    Before you holler at *me*, too, I did see the humor, and I did smile a time or two. But I’m sorry you have to go through it at all. [Hugs]

    Oh, in case you hadn’t seen it yet, I succumbed to peer pressure and made a blog a little over a week ago. Feel free to go take a look if the mood ever strikes you. πŸ™‚

    • Ophelie Says:

      Will! I’ve missed you!

      I am pretty much recovered now. Thankfully the steroid treatment kicked in pretty fast!

      And you started a blog! *Runs over and looks right away* It’s a bit late tonight, but I’ll read it all tomorrow. Welcome to the dangerous addiction that is WoW blogging! I’m really glad you started blogging, you’ve always left fantastic, thoughtful comments, it’ll be great seeing what you’re capable of on your own turf!

      • Will Says:

        I’ve missed you too! [Hugs] It’s been a bit busy lately, so I fall behind on my blog reading/commenting every now and then.

        I’m glad to hear you’re basically recovered. Reading this post, I wished that I could have been there to at least keep you company.

        I appreciate your enthusiasm, but don’t go to any trouble to read it. I’ve posted about a half a dozen entries so far, and most of them are pretty long. I’m enjoying it so far, though, although I owe its existence mostly to the stubborn persistence of my Twitter friends who poked and prodded me until I finally caved.

        I hope you enjoy reading it, and that it lives up to the standard I seem to have set for myself. πŸ™‚

  13. saif Says:

    Man, that sounds like a hell of an ordeal. Hope you’re feeling better.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thanks πŸ™‚ I am pretty much back to normal. Still needing a lot of rest, but taking full advantage of being able to walk long distances again!

  14. Digit Says:

    Really really late to this post, but oh well, I came forth with my club, slab of meat, chisel and stone to leave this comment. (Takes a long time to chisel a comment at 07:30 in the dark.)

    I think the best you can hope for with this kind of post is bittersweet humor a few smiles and a few laughs, then immediate guilt at laughing. Most people don’t understand the desire to not see pity but more desire for just ‘come on, stop staring and let’s just hang out’ kind of attitude.

    I’ve been through some pretty terrible things in my life, but few I think compare to yours. I wish you the best, but as long as you can press buttons with your tongue you better be pally healing!

    -Digit (crazy chick from the internets.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Aww, I didn’t really go through much, just two weeks of being sore and spending a lot of time on the couch. All around me, people are dying of cancer and whatnot. I have a schoolmate who has cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis! In pharmacy school! Makes my challenges seem petty.

      I really just wanted to talk about the flare up in a way that isn’t all “woe is me!”. I want to explain to people what it’s really like, but I hate MS stories that sound like publicity campaigns for adopting kids in 3rd world countries.

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