I’m getting better at going to the hospital. I’d rather get better-period, but I’m taking pride in handling how these investigations work. On Friday I saw the Nurse Practitioner at my hospital’s Neurology department. You’d think waiting a month and a half would yield a doctor, but she was very friendly and thorough. She jabbed my feet with pointy sticks, banged on my knees with metal rods and tried to knock me over several times to figure out how much proprioception I still have.
Good news: I have some. Proprioception is the wonderful sense of balance and spatial reasoning. The notion that we only have five senses is a crock.
|I need to be electrocuted again?|
The sign of my improvement at managing healthcaregivers (perhaps the second-ever three-word portmanteau, after “plainclothesman”) came as she tried to dust me off to blood work. After we got the results, we could schedule a follow-up.
I opened a portfolio and produced the bloodwork from January, when the neuropathy was already going on, complete with disease tests and liver function. She found nothing suspicious in the data and said she’d have to sign me up for a Nerve Conduction Study, where they run electrical current through your nerves to see which are active. Shock tests. They usually took a while to get, but we really needed to know…
I opened my portfolio and handed over the results of the Nerve Conduction Study from January. Ba’am.
Bringing print-outs of records saved me at least two months of waiting between tests, but I still needed an EMG, because for all the data doctors have taken on me, the Nurse Practitioner couldn’t figure out a proper cause. In her experience neuropathy usually results from alcoholism, diabetes or age, none of which apply to me. The “age” one made us both laugh. I believe the only time I’m ever called young anymore is when someone is talking about the health problems I’ve already developed.
Because of two particular nerve groups that appear damaged, her best hypothesis was Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. It’s like Carpal Tunnel, except focusing on the tibial nerve in your foot. Well, not your foot. Both of my feet.
That it’s in both feet is what baffled her, because such neuropathy and motor control loss is seldom symmetrical without a spinal issue. This sort of malfunction typically hits one foot and might hint at something. It’s something we’ll review after my EMG. She spent a proper half hour fielding my questions, getting down to some crazy theories about non-manifested diabetes and shoe sizes. At the worst, I couldn’t have asked for someone to be more indulgent of my curiosity.
This was also the first hospital visit on the case where someone said it might be all in my head. It was a joke, but it was said.