An unknown cause
April 20, 2020
Fowler spent her Sunday at volleyball practice and that night at a sleepover. She took a nap that day, but still succumbed to her unusual tiredness and went to bed around 8 o’clock.
She hadn’t eaten in two days and still didn’t have any desire to.
When Monday rolled around, Fowler woke up feeling normal and headed to school. But it was during second block that she started experiencing odd pains and what she thought was heartburn.
After struggling to talk and move and sleeping in her teacher’s classroom during recess, Fowler’s dad picked her up from school.
The pain only got worse. Fowler barely slept due to the fact that the only way to avoid excruciating pain was to sit up straight on the couch. She decided not to go to school the following day.
Instead, Fowler and her mother went to Health First, anxious to do anything to stop the pain. They arrived 30 minutes before it even opened.
Lung disease, they said.
That diagnosis didn’t sit well with Fowler. It didn’t make any sense, but she was happy just to have some kind of answer.
That was, until the pain got 10 times worse and she spent her time, unable to walk, screaming in pain on the couch.
This time she went to the emergency room.
Heart infection, they said, textbook pericarditis.
Makes sense, Fowler thought.
Fowler was excited to finally have an answer, until her treatment turned out to just be more pain medication. Already on so many that weren’t doing their job, Fowler was once again discouraged.
Then Fowler started to lose control of her legs. Uncontrollable spasms rocked through her and caused her to stumble, until her legs buckled underneath her and she was forced to go back to MUSC.
Fowler sat in a wheelchair for the first time that night. She sat in the waiting room, uncomfortable, but when she tried to move from her seat, she found that she couldn’t stand.
Her dad carried her to the exam room and doctors swarmed all around her from various medical fields.
No one knew what was wrong. An MRI was called for, but wouldn’t be available for another seven hours. Seven hours spent waiting for the diagnosis that would change the course of Sydney Fowler’s life forever.