Thursday, April 16, 2009

I could have done without that

Monday night was a hell night at work, the sort that leaves me knowing I will be in deep pain the next day. And when I awoke Tuesday to the sound of my cell phone alarm going off, reached over to grab it and then didn't feel it despite looking straight at my hand laying on top of the darn thing, I knew it was going to be a long day. A long day in which the "highlight" would be a nerve conductivity study on my legs and lower back. Yippee! What could be more fun? Maybe a hair dryer in my bathwater? Oh well. While I didn't expect anything useful to come from this study, it seems a necessary step since my doctors insist that joint problems can't possibly explain my pain and dysfunction. These are, of course, people who note that I am "unusually limber" and then don't want to hear it when I try to talk about family history of being unusually limber. (Any doctors who might read this: When your patient tells you what they consider to be an important part of their medical history, even if it doesn't seem important to you, that would be a good time for you to shut up the train of thought in your head and open your mind to maybe something useful being shared).

It is a good thing I had several hours to get from my bed to the doctor's office, because I needed every minute. I had hoped to stop at the hobby store and buy a sketch pad and some pencils, but being hardly able to move kind of ate into my time. As I finally threw myself into the driver's seat of my car, I noted that my left foot was buzzing. Fifteen minutes later, it had gone numb. Hey, why should my hand have all the fun?

I got to the medical complex, parked in the closest available handicap spot, and wondered if I would be able to make it in. Starting up the ramp to the sidewalk, it looked like the answer would be "no" because I didn't have enough momentum to force my left leg to swing forward. A woman maybe 20 years my senior was sitting in the vehicle next to mine, window down, watching me. "I'm stuck," I said as I manuevered a few steps from the ramp, "...try again." She laughed, "I have those days," the way only someone else who has been defeated by an ADA compliant ramp can laugh. With her moral support, I got up to the sidewalk and limped the 20 feet into the building.

The staff were waiting for me, which was great. I wouldn't have to fill anything out or even sign in. But then I was asked for my co-pay, which meant balancing to open my purse and dig out my wallet. I could feel my hip giving way and did what I have come to regard as the safest thing to do. I fell. No sense in fighting gravity. If I let myself fall, at least I can control the direction I fall. But it is damned embarrassing to fall in public. I fall in private nearly everyday, and just drag myself up. In public, I am a spectacle. Half a dozen hands reached out to lift me up. I chose the uninjured arm of a sturdy-looking man there with a hand fracture. It makes it easier to decline everyone else's help if I can pick the person least likely to fall on top of me. 

I wasn't hurt, but I was shaken and exhausted from the effort of having to get up right away instead of being able to lie there a bit. I wasn't convinced at all that this was the last fall of the day, and I felt flustered for being the center of attention. I tried to read for the few minutes it took to be called to the exam room. As usual, the assistant started walking too fast. (Note to medical aides: If the person you are escorting has a cane, walk slowly. Stop to see if we can keep up.) In fairness, she did realize what she was doing before the door shut on me. That doesn't always happen. And then she was careful after that. The 10 feet to the exam room pretty much took out the rest of my energy reserves.

And then, the electrician showed up. I mean, neurologist. I'll try to talk about that tomorrow.


FridaWrites said...

Neurologists, electricians, ha! I know what you mean about assistants who walk too fast--doctors, too.

Full Tilt said...

Sounds like a nasty day all round...I've had those and they are increasing. The only thing I know to do is what you've done here--write with clarity, honesty and let your docs and their office staff know what to do. They can be astoundingly stupid at times. I hope you get rest and that the weekend is better.

One Sick Mother said...

well, I am very sorry you had such a crappy day, but in a way it was good to have a crappy day on a "test" day.

Then maybe they will be able to "see" and maybe even measure the crappiness. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to the doc with a recurring complaint, only to find that whatever-it-is has decided to go into a little remission on that day.

Elizabeth McClung said...

I hate nerve conduction with a passion, but I hope that they were able to find something - I also hate having to have a crap day THEN get a medical day on top of that. But you survived it sounds like, or parts of you did?