Six months ago I started to notice my feet and lower legs were getting numb. Not a total loss of feeling, but numb in the way your arm gets numb after cracking your “funny bone”.
After consulting with my family doctor in the spring, I underwent a procedure a few weeks ago where fifty electrical shocks were shot down each leg to test the nerves connecting my hips to my feet.
On Monday I met with the doctor to go over the results, and he has concluded what I was feeling — and not feeling — is a direct result of the diabetes I was diagnosed with last year.
I’m still not sure if the test is called ‘EMR’ or ‘EMD’.
He also did a standard needle test on my feet. The sensation of him dragging the needle from my toes to my calves actually became much sharper just above my ankles.
The diagnosis, according to his note, is diabetic polyneuropathy. Without a significant loss of weight, and a much tighter control over my blood sugar, the condition will get significantly worse. However, a tighter control over glucose levels only reverses the damage if the diabetes has only recently manifested. Mine has been out of control since, roughly, 2003.
Diabetic polyneuropathy is the first serious step towards “diabetic foot”, which means minor cuts and bruises can turn into major wounds, and “delayed wound healing, infection or gangrene of the foot is relatively common.”
The rapidly increasing likelihood of losing one or both of my feet was actually the second worst piece of news I received on Tuesday. Later on, at the Ottawa General Hospital, my girlfriend and I were told her pregnancy is in danger of not making it to full term. We were actually told it was “extremely unlikely”.
So, in a few hours from now, my mother will drive us back to Ottawa where my girlfriend will spend the next three to four days in a quiet hospital room.
Because there’s absolutely nothing the doctors can do except ask she live a stress free life for the next four weeks, so the baby has a chance to grow strong enough to be able to withstand being borne.
…and, on the same day we learned about the state of the pregnancy and my legs, a school bus hit my parents’ home. It happened just after my girlfriend and I dropped her son off at school, just before we went to my EMD/EMR appointment.
There’s a large parking lot across from my parents’ three-storey, 150-year old, red brick, heritage-designated home. The bus driver parked, turned off the ignition, but left the bus before engaging the parking brake. The bus then rolled backwards forty feet down a slight incline, picking up speed until it popped the curb and flew into the house.
At first glance it looks as though only a few bricks were damaged. But inside there are significant cracks in the plaster from the floor of the first storey, to the second storey ceiling. That entire third of the house, according to the claims adjuster, has also been moved inwards on the foundation at least an inch. So now none of the front windows will open, and all of the shutters are stuck in place.
You can, standing on the sidewalk and looking at the right angle, actually see the huge dent. The front porch has actually separated from the house by, in some places, four inches.
My mother was home when it happened. By the time she got outside the driver, who thought the only damage was to the flowerbed, was pulling away. My mother told her to stay put, because there was obvious damage to the house, which made it an accident scene.
But, when mom went in to call the police, the bus driver left. So when mom told the 9-11 operator “a woman hit my house with a school bus because the parking brake wasn’t working”, it got translated to the actual cops as “school bus travelling with no brakes hits house, driver flees scene…”
“…unknown number of children on board.”
So the town was swarming with speeding police cars.
The bus driver drove all the way back to her company depot, told her manager what had happened, her manager — having heard about the search for the broken bus — freaked out, called the cops to explain, and drove her all the way back to mom’s place. Where they tried to convince mom the damage was minimal, and really just a broken window and five or six broken bricks.
Which is when the police finally showed up to mom’s place, took everyone’s statement, and then they all left.
The bus driver will be charged, as will the company, which will also be on the hook for the — sure to be massive — repair bill.
Repairs done to heritage homes in Ontario always cost far more than newer ones because, by law, the repairs have to be done as close to the original material as possible. And nearly everything in my parents home is the original 150-year old workmanship.
My step-father bought the home thirty-years ago, when it was basically a derelict. And he has spent the last three decades restoring it one square foot at a time. It’s a magnificent home, but only because he has done so much work on it.
So far he seems far too calm.