Yesterday my mom and I went through our typical morning routine. We commute to Chicago by train and hail a cab to my office. We have a lot to carry–she has a rolling backpack with her laptop. I have one with my breathing machine, which I need everyday for my midday reset. And we both carry purses. In addition to this, I carry my lunch. While boarding the train, she lifts up both rolling backpacks as I focus on climbing the stairs. And then at the station, we switch–I roll the backup while she carries my purse (in addition to all our other belongings) as we go down the escalators. At the foot of the escalator, we switch again! It’s an elaborate dance designed to make us crazy!
A Kind Stranger Lightened Our Morning Load
Yesterday morning as I we were climbing up the train steps, a woman-insisted on carrying my breathing machine. That was so nice! Little did I know, other strangers would be saving my life 14 hours later.
Don’t You Hate it When You Lose Feeling in Your Legs?
At work, for about 40 minutes in the morning, I lost feeling in my legs. First it was my right leg. Then it was both legs. Being in charge of this new project at work, I didn’t want to tell my coworkers and risk looking weak. I was so thankful when the feeling returned. Losing feeling in my arms and legs is not a novel experience as someone with Myasthenia Gravis (MG). I’m sure many of you with MG, lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, and other neuromuscular diseases can relate.
What It’s Like When You’re Dangling from a Train
Typically, I leave work at 5 pm and get home before 7:00 just in time for my last medicine shift. And I catch up on the day’s General Hospital (y’all should tune in-it’s really great again!). However, yesterday’s journey home proved more exciting than usual. As I was descending the steps of the train, I lost feeling in my legs. So I was dangling there…for a minute! And the heavy train doors started closing in on me. I heard the conductor say the train was on its way to the next stop. Immediately, these two men–strangers, who looked genuinely scared for me, started pushing the doors away from me. And my mom and the two good Samaritans helped me down the steps in the nick of time. Whew! Dangling from a train is so different than it is in the movies or TV shows like MacGuyver. When it happens to you, you don’t scream “help!” Scared, I found myself mumbling sounds I’ve never mumbled before. Aside from a small cut on my right foot, I sustained no injuries.
Not My First Rodeo
Yesterday wasn’t my first freak accident. When I was 20, I was almost thrown out of a moving car in the middle of traffic. The next year I was locked in a 2 X 2 foot hundred year-old bathroom, which had no ventilation, and I managed to escape. I also had a an “eye accident” the next year. As I was walking down the street one summer day, a gust of wind came and blew a piece of glass into my eye. It scratched my cornea three times. Yet I didn’t lose any vision! Recently, someone I know lost vision in his left eye after having an eye accident.
What made yesterday’s freak accident different from all those other times is that I now have MG. That makes it harder to save one’s self. I thank God for the two strangers who acted decisively. This article is a tribute to all the strangers who do little and big things for people with disabilities. On behalf of all the “professional patients” in the world, thank you!
–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno