My Diagnosis and Other 20 Year Old Tales

Why is it that I’ve been blogging for more than a year and until now, haven’t discussed my diagnosis? As I struggled to complete this entry I realized it wasn’t a time I care to revisit in such great detail.

Far be it for me to leave anything unsaid!

I bring you to 1988. A time before email, Google and Amazon, before texting and ichatting with people all around the world and selling them your priceless “junk.” Before we had access to watch two Chinese boys lip-syncing the backstreet boys in their dorm or the dancing guy traverse the continents.  It was a time when “vinyl discs” were known as records and sold on main street and the only Bush was the VP running against Michael Dukakis in the election that was my first opportunity for a presidential vote. It was also the year I moved from my teens to my twenty-somethings. Little did I know at the time, it would be a year I would be recounting ever since.

Entering my third year of film school after transferring to Baltimore from the College Park campus of University of Maryland, I had made plans to live with my friend at Johns Hopkins before finding a place for myself in the Baltimore suburbs. The chaos of this change was dimmed by the changes of the 3 years prior. Just back from a teen trip to Israel, I learned that my parents were divorcing. My mom moved out of the house over the next year and ultimately to Florida before I graduated high school. So by 1988 I had made it through two years in college without much in the way of parental guidance. In fact, the only reason I was at University of MD was because my friend sent me an application. Any help with big decisions from my parents had evaporated.

I was in NJ for the weekend visiting a friend when I woke up with half of my body numb and tingly. The feeling divided me in half running right down the middle of my face and the center of my abdomen. It immediately struck me as a brain issue. I had taken psych 101 during that Spring semester and spent a lot of time studying the hemispheres. I couldn’t imagine how sleeping wrong could result it this sort of experience… but I tried to shake it out none-the-less. As the morning progressed the sensation remained, so I put a call in to my GP. I went to see her and she did  a standard exam, finding no obvious cause for this symptom. After some blood-work, she told me to call if there were any changes. I did just that when the tingling got stronger and she met me at the hospital.

So there I was at JFK Medical Center, the hospital where 19 years and 362 days earlier I was born.  During this visit, I was prodded and poked in unfamiliar ways that are now ritual. Because my dad was in Miami at my sister’s high school graduation (she moved down with my mom) the only family in town was my older brother. He visited me and proved that the meal I wasn’t eating was pedestrian-worthy by finishing it himself. (lol) Not what you would expect of hospital cuisine.  It’s funny how 20 years later that point sticks with me.. yet I can’t remember which tests were performed! I guess that’s what stands out for a 19+ year old. Continue reading