Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rockin' Cleveland

No, I didn't get to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but I still rocked Cleveland. Or it rocked me. And all in a good way.

The doctor I saw at the Cleveland Clinic, Rula Hajj-Ali, was brilliant in every way. She listened attentively and asked loads of questions. You could see her mind work as she pieced the puzzle together. I think she's among the smartest people I've ever met. She was also incredibly generous with her time, spending close to an hour with me. Not least, she had a calm, warm demeanor.

Her judgment: I don't have vasculitis of any flavor. Lots of factors went into her assessment, but the bottom line is that I'm feeling better without treatment. That shouldn't happen with vasculitis. She ordered tests for a few even more exotic ailments, just to make sure we don't miss something. She also says I need to see a neurologist and get a spinal tap (yes, I'll be sure to insist on the one that goes to eleven) but she'd be surprised if that yielded any abnormalities.

While she obviously can't guarantee anything, she thinks I'll most likely continue to improve and be okay.

As for my slightly mutant MRI? A few days ago my mom and sister started wondering about an episode when, as a young toddler, I had a severe reaction to a smallpox vaccine. Fever convulsions sent me into a continuous seizure for an hour and a half straight. Everyone was afraid I had brain damage. (You may be the judge of that!) When I came out of it, I immediately said "cookie," to my parents' and doctor's great relief. I did have to re-learn how to walk again, so evidently some sort of damage occurred.

Anyway, both my local doctor and the specialist I saw today think that the multitude of bright spots in my brain could well be the result of that unusual seizure.

Or we could just say that I'm brighter than we thought. No? Okay, I'll settle for being happily home, reunited with my kids (who managed not to scare off their sitter's hopes of having her own children someday), and less worried than I've been in quite a while.

Oh, and if anyone ever considers going to the Cleveland Clinic for treatment: Do it. I encountered so much kindness and competence. They even had a huge brown bear Newfoundland named Teddy Bear hanging out in the lobby as a "greeter." His actual job was as a therapy dog, visiting sick kids. It's the small things that count - or sometimes, the mammoth furry ones.

This is not the actual Newfoundland I met today, but it gives you a general notion; this gal's name is Jill and the photo is by Flickr user 2-Dog-Farm (used under a Creative Commons license). Now picture this mountain of a dog in a hospital lobby ...


Hydraargyrum said...

Good news indeed! Your were in my thoughts today, was wishing you well!

Now I can badger you to get the Sungolds and Black Cherries planted!

Your Albanian Celt.

Carla said...

So glad to hear this. Thanks for posting so quickly so we wouldn't worry! Oh btw, I bought my sungold (and other) seeds the other day.

John Pine said...

Glad to hear you are on the mend (and taking Vit D). Don't forget the 'G' fraction (sudden-onset symptoms might simply indicate you have reached the tipping point). I don't think you have ever had a miscarriage, but for those who have, Hughes Syndrome (currently in the news at can also give neurological symptoms that are all cured by a daily aspirin.

Sungold said...

Thanks, one and all, for your good thoughts. They seem to be working.

Hydraargyrum - I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't ordered my new stock of Black Cherry seeds yet - which means your pepper seeds are also still in limbo.

Albanian? Huh???

Carla - Good work on the Sungold seeds. I'm glad to hear your garden planning is more advanced than mine. Then again, I bet you can plant things out a couple weeks earlier than we can here in SE Ohio.

John - I didn't know anything about Hughes Syndrome until now (and am actually wondering about a friend of mine who had recurrent miscarriages - you're right, I've been very lucky that way). I've been tested for antiphospholipid antibodies, and now I know why! (That was the only test whose purpose was not evident to me and I hadn't gotten 'round to googling it just yet). That test, too, came back all clear.