Updates To The Book “ERIC IS WINNING”

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June 9, 2007


The Desert Regional Medical Center had a visitor from May 28 through June 7; IT WAS ME. Now normally I would not write about that but my experience may be of interest to you. My experience includes interesting discussions with a few MD's and also info about drugs and hospitals.

It all started when I was sitting down on the toilet. A sharp severe pain came into my lower spine and I collapsed on the toilet. After three hours of no success in getting me up, we had to call 911. I asked one of the paramedics if he could simply give me a shot in my butt for the pain and that I would be alright. He said he could not do that so they hauled me off to the hospital. The hospital ER personnel were very prompt in seeing me. However, the ER medical doctors took an immediate dislike to me when I told him I don't take any drugs, not even for pain. He said "Then you have tied my hands; there is nothing I can do." That turned out to be wrong. He treated me just like an attorney would treat a hostile witness. On the good side, however, he did finally admit me. I commend him for that because of the end result. I also asked him if he could give me a shot for the pain and he said no, that there was none.

They did x-rays, cat scans, and an MRI on my spine. The MD's told me my spine was in terrible condition with severe arthritis. By the way, my conclusion is that arthritis is simply a word that means pain in the joint. Arthritis of the spine and arthritis in a joint are very, very different.

The next event was a visit by a neurologist. He was an OK doctor. He told me that an epidural was simply an injection of a drug directly into the spine. I asked him for more information about that and he agreed to have someone from the pain control people to visit me. A nice young man came to visit and we had a thorough discussion about the shot they call an epidural. I decided that pain relief overshadows any concern about a toxic drug's effect on my ALS condition. It was a good gamble because I had no problem with my ALS and the epidural shot was very beneficial. We also discussed avoiding the local anesthetic to avoid any ill effects on my ALS. The pain doctor told me it would take about three days for full effect of the injection to be realized, and that was just about right.

The epidural shot was effective and after several days I finally left the hospital.

Do you remember that I have written before about the fact that when I'm away from home I get better and when I return home the improvement stops. Well, it happened again. Day by day I've had improvement in my range of motion and strength while in the hospital. Even though I was weak from laying down for ten days, I was able to move my feet around and transfer from my scooter to our car better than ever. So, I'm reminded again that there must be a toxin somewhere in my home environment that I must eliminate.

The hospital changed the nurses almost everyday. Most of them were very, very good with only two that I would not have if I was the manager. Now you may not believe this one, but my food in the hospital was just great. No not great; EXCEPTIONAL. All I did was ask for an all-vegetable dinner with a lot of real butter. WOW! After that, I had several of the best damn all-vegetable dinners I have EVER had. The veggies were cooked in butter and they provided me with even more butter. Other than the epidural, the dinners were the high- light of my visit.

One thing I've learned from this experience is that you may have difficulty arguing with people of authority such as doctors and nurses when you're under their care in the hospital. It is very difficult to communicate your thoughts to them and that's understandable but important for the patient to realize that.

Every morning when a new nurse was assigned to me, she or he would come in with a list of prescription drugs for me. I would have to go through a lengthy explanation that I don't take any drugs. Apparently what happened is that the doctor ordered several pills for me without even once talking to me about whether or not I wanted them. In fact, I told the ER MD that I do not want any prescription drugs.

In spite of that, they had a list of about five different drugs all approved for me. Celebrex was the number one drug on my list and that's probably one of the most dangerous and toxic drugs of all.

One problem I have in being in any hospital is my slurred speech. When you couple that with hospital personnel who do not understand English well, you have a major problem in communicating. Here is a FUNNY example. About four five times this happened with different nurses. I would ring the buzzer for the nurse. They would answer. I would tell them I have to pee. The nurse would come in and ask me was I in pain? Does pee sound like pain? Well, anyway, it was amusing.

Attention all caregivers: It would be a nearly impossible situation for an ALS patient to be in any hospital WITHOUT a person from the outside visiting everyday. I really mean that. Glenna was there at my bedside everyday. Most days she would drive back and forth not once but twice to be there at important times. As I've said before, an ALS patient without a serious caregiver is a person without almost any hope. Caregivers need to be reminded of how important they are to our success and our PMA.

Hope this experience of mine provides some benefit to you.

Bye for now.