February 7th 1998 was like any other morning. I got ready for work as a Consultant Cardiologist in Kent, UK, 70 Miles from London and went to work after saying goodbye to my wife Beryl who was a nurse in the same area.
That afternoon while I was seeing patients, I realized that something was wrong, maybe I was coming down with a bad flu? I had aches and pains, and felt a little off. I drove home and when I went to the bathroom, I realized that I could not urinate at all.
Being a medical family, my wife decided to take me to the hospital where I worked in Margate. The doctors and nurses on duty were concerned to see me as they all knew me as a doctor there and we all decided I had a prostate problem so requested all the necessary tests. I also suggested I stay in overnight so they could do some more tests as there was lots of numbness in my fingers and toes now and pain in my back which seemed to be in bands around my torso. As the night went on, I realized I could not move my feet, or my body, arms, head. I was paralyzed and could not speak. What was happening to me?
The hospital called my wife and told her at 6 am they would have to rush me up to St Thomas’s Hospital in London to get tested further as I was now paralyzed and unable to speak. They were worried. My wife followed the ambulance up to London and I was admitted for further testing and urgent care. The doctors thought I had Mad Cow disease, or TB of the Spine, I am Indian and lots of Indian people apparently carry TB with no symptoms.
I could not speak; I could not move but every movement in my room seemed like an earthquake. The crease in the sheet on my hospital bed felt like a knife sticking in my back. I had severe pain that was in bands around my body and I was thinking in my medical brain that this must be Transverse Myelitis, a very rare disease I had read about but never seen before. Could I have this very rare disease? I was burning up with a fever too.
I tried to talk and tell the Doctors but could not make a sound. I was paralyzed. I was treated for TB of the spinal cord and had numerous MRI’S, and scans of the brain and spinal cord which was very inflamed and had lesions. After a week of treatment with no improvement, they told my wife and children that they were not sure I would ever recover.