A few years ago, I woke up with a pain in one eye. The doctor couldn’t find anything but told me to come back if it got worse. Two days later, I was blind in that eye. That was definitely worse. Several tests later, my vision came back, but the news wasn’t great. I had multiple sclerosis.
I was beside myself. Upset, confused and terrified. Also, my experiences on the way to getting the diagnosis weren’t great. The first neurologist I saw assured me I was too old for MS, and was brusque and remote. The hospital where I went for my first MRI didn’t do anything wrong, but they didn’t make me feel … cared for. Then I got to St. Michael’s Hospital.
Being at St. Mike's was like going to a spa. It was comforting. Everyone was welcoming. As soon as I went in, it felt like a big warm hug, and it was like “Christine, you're gonna be okay.”
It seemed like everybody at the hospital was on my side–from staff to nurses and, of course, my neurologist, Dr. Daniel Selchen. From day one, he put me at ease. I was scared out of my mind–convinced I wouldn’t be able to walk or I’d go blind. But by the way he talked to me and his sense of humour, I knew I was in the right hands and I was going to be okay.
And I am okay. My night vision isn’t great, and I still need regular treatment, but as long as I get it, I’ll be alright. I want to thank everyone at St. Michael’s. I learned a big lesson from them about the difference between “okay” healthcare and “great” healthcare. It’s all in how they make you feel. People at St. Michael’s knew I was scared, and they wanted to put me at ease. Because that’s what I needed, and that’s why they were there.
Interested in learning more about or supporting advances in MS that are happening at the BARLO MS Centre? Contact Liza Smithies at SmithiesL@smh.ca.
Donate to St. Michael's Foundation.