started about three months ago with my eyes. Day by day my vision became
blurrier than the last, and I could not see as far as I used to. There
was a time when I was able to spot a dime a block away lying on the
pavement of a crowded New York City block; now I couldnt tell
if my sister was my mother or my uncle no less than four feet away.
can imagine my concern at this point. My mother wasted no time in notifying
my optometrist. After an hour or so of testing, the doctor did his best
explaining to me that he did not know what was going on; he told me
that a possible cause for the double vision and the muscle loss in my
eyes could be Lyme disease or Multiple Sclerosis (M.S). A knot the size
of a baseball logged itself in my throat. I backed up against a nearby
wall and searched desperately for the right words. Damn
Sucks! He went on to tell me that the double vision is called
Diplopia, and in order for me to see straight he needed to cut prisms
to place on the lens of my glasses. He referred me to a neurologist
to take further tests. Thats when I met Doctor Steven Wolfe.
greeted me with a pound the first time I met him and inquired
as to how my day was going. I immediately pegged him as a down- to-
earth individual. I had yet to get my new glasses, and it was pointless
to wear my old ones, so I had been squinting terribly. He looked at
me once and smiled, Looks like youve got a problem with
your eyes, he said cheerfully. We talked for twenty minutes about
what was going on. Like my optometrist, he did not know the cause but
also felt that the reason could be either Lyme disease or M.S. After
expressing his concern for my somewhat unique situation, he scheduled
me for an M.R.I (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) where I was to have pictures
taken of my brain. A week later, accompanied with my mother, I visited
Westside Radiology on West 57th Street and Broadway.
days later I was notified by Doctor Wolfe and asked to come in for a
Spinal Tap. A Spinal Tap is when a doctor draws fluid from your spine
using two needles. They numb the area around where the needles are to
be placed. You have to lay in a fetal position with your back facing
the doctor, lying perfectly still. The scary part about the procedure
is that it can paralyze you, and its not very comfortable. It
feels like someone punched you in the back and is grinding their fist
into you. I had one when I was twelve and hated every moment of it.
But before I was to go in for the procedure, I had already scheduled
an appointment with my optometrist to get my new glasses.
Kotay was his name. A tall Caucasian male with glasses of his own. He
has been my optometrist for some time now and has always been honest
with me. Like Doctor Wolfe he was also a nice guy with a great sense
of humor and I felt really comfortable around him.
his office he cut special lenses made out of prisms for my glasses.
Prisms are crystals that reflect light. They also use the colors in
the color spectrum to bend light. The lenses themselves have rows of
tiny prisms. Somehow they allow me to see straight instead of double.
They straighten my eyes themselves and strengthen the muscles in the
process. I was instructed to wear them all the time.
working on my glasses he informed me that he had seen the pulmonary
results of my M.R.I test. He told me that there are spots on my brain,
which shows signs of M.S. Dr. Wolfe, being a specialist in that area
could tell me in full detail what was going on.
following day, my mother and I sat alert in the waiting room of the
Neurologist Center at St. Lukes Roosevelt Hospital. Dr. Wolfe,
accompanied with his assistant met us there. As usual he asked me how
everything was going and whether or not I liked my new glasses. With
some coxing from my mother I told him of some new symptoms that have
arisen in the past couple of days. I told him how I had been experiencing
frequent headaches, a lack of equilibrium, and the loss of words. This
changes the situation it seems because he then canceled the spinal tap.
He referred me to one of the top M.S specialist in the country, Doctor
Saddiq. He felt that he should look at me first before we did anything
mother, being an employee of the hospital knew Doctor Saddiq and had
on several occasions done some work for him. The problem with seeing
Dr. Saddiq is that he does not take any type of insurance. This immediately
worried my mother and me. We knew there was no possible way that we
could afford one visit with the doctor. Dr. Wolfe immediately told us
to calm down and that he had a solution. It turns out that several months
ago, Dr. Saddiq came to Dr. Wolfe asking for a favor. He asked him to
see a Bosnian man for free, and that in turn he would be indebted to
him. Well, it turns out it was time for Dr. Wolfe to cash in on his
promise. He assured us that we would be able to see him for free.
And that brings us up to the present. I have yet to see Dr. Saddiq or get a spinal tap. I have informed loved ones of my situation and they have sympathized greatly. When this all began I was very fearful; not knowing what to expect kept me awake many nights. To comfort me, friends and family have joked around about it, like telling me that its probably some freakish tropical disease that only affects eighteen-year-old bald black males who spend their free time watching cartoons, and who live in the Bronx. Its all very funny, and has at times turned my frowns upside down, but I cant help but wonder what might happen in the near future.
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