That was one doctor’s off-the-cuff diagnosis as to why my left arm was malfunctioning. I was unable to grip a cup, straighten my fingers, or hold my fist over my head. My layman’s imagination pictured the drunken reveler sleeping it off in some gutter after a night of excess.
But I was also experiencing an inability to lift the right leg when in a prone position. How long had this been going on? Two days.
From the medical building they moved me to emergency and finally to a room on the stroke ward. Stroke got mentioned several times, but the evidence was slim; no slurred speech, no double vision, plus the symptoms were bilateral, left arm, right leg. So other words were considered: Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, mononeutritis multiplex. The vast machine of medical testing went into operation: vials of blood, CT scan, MRI. I said no thanks to the spinal tap.
Mononeutritis multiplex is what the records say, not really a diagnosis so much as a description: an inflammation of multiple nerves, probably brought on by an auto-immune reaction to a flu virus.
One day you’re hoisting bags of compost, the next day falling down stairs, legs just gone.
Now a week later, I’m again toting bags of compost. Gratefully, pretty much.