Friday, August 26, 2011

What a week (with three Public Service Annoucements)

I don't think I've EVER been quite so glad to see Friday get here.

Monday during the day I had an appointment with a neurosurgeon as part of the ongoing hand-neck-shoulder saga. (My orthopedist wanted me to see him about possibly getting a steroid injection for my pinched nerve.) I wasn't crazy about him, since he was obviously of the Me Doctor, You Patient school that gives you minimal information. He examined me, clucked thoughtfully, and referred me for an MRI on Tuesday and a follow-up visit Thursday, refusing to speculate on my likely prognosis or treatment options. But the very speed with which they got me scheduled made me a little nervous, along with the thoughtful clucking.

That night I came home from work, planning to cook dinner, do some housework in preparation for my mother-in-law coming to visit next week, and write. But then I spotted a carry-on suitcase that had been in a corner of our bedroom lying in the hall, thought, "That's weird," and went to have a look...only to discover we'd had a break-in. The thieves took almost all our electronics--my iMac, three laptops, both our Kindles, our Wii, Mr. Fraser's digital camera, and Miss Fraser's DS--along with a silver ring designed to look like an ancient Celtic torc (not worth a lot, but high sentimental value for me, and as best as I can tell no longer available), and, to add insult to injury, a handful of Canadian change, maybe $5 worth, from atop a dresser. See, our change jar was full last weekend, so we took it to one of those change counter machines you see in grocery stores, which of course returned all the Canadian money that had got mixed in from when we've gone up to BC for a weekend. I was going to start a separate jar, figuring next time one of us is up there we'd have enough CAD$ for a couple of donuts at Tim Horton's or something, but no more!

Tuesday I was scrambling to come up with as many receipts as I could for all the stolen items for our insurance report, and I had my MRI, which seemed to go smoothly. I left work with a list of plans for when I got home--only to step on a honeybee while picking Miss Fraser up from day camp. (Open-toed sandals, grassy lawn with blooming clover, OUCH.) It hurt too much for me to drive, so Mr. Fraser had to come get us both, and I spent all evening with my foot propped up on ice.

Wednesday I got a call from the neurosurgeon, very hush-voiced and mysterious, telling me there was something concerning on my MRI, and they were going to set me up to see a neurologist. They'd found one who was happy to see me the very next day, though I might need to be patient and wait at his clinic, since he was squeezing me in. He said there were 5 things it could be, and 4 of them were pretty benign, but the other one...less so. I eventually forced him to tell me that the less benign option was MS, but that I shouldn't worry or look things up on the internet and just see the neurologist tomorrow like a good girl. (He didn't SAY "like a good girl" but the tone was there.)

IMHO, that call would've made the calmest person in the world anxious. And I am NOT the calmest person in the world.

This post is getting long, so I'll just say I spent a harrowing 24 hours until I saw the neurologist, who was able to assure me I don't have MS. When I apologized for being such an anxious patient, he didn't quite criticize his colleague, but made it clear what I should've been told on Wednesday was more like, "There's nothing in your MRI that indicates a need for surgery, so we're sending you to a neurologist for follow-up instead. It just so happens Dr. So-and-So has an opening tomorrow, so you might as well take advantage of it if that works with your schedule. And, oh, there was a shadow on your MRI that's probably just an artifact of your breathing or swallowing at the wrong moment, but he may do a few additional tests for due diligence."

Oh, and based on his examination (lots of reflex checks and a nerve study) he thinks I had a pinched nerve that's now healed, and my lingering symptoms are muscle and ligament damage that should heal with time, patience, continued PT and therapeutic massage, and diligent attention to posture and ergonomics for, oh, the rest of my life. So that's good news.

Anyway, what's the use of a Week From Hell if you don't come through it with wisdom to share with your tribe? So here are my PSAs for the good of the order:

PSA the First: Save receipts and serial numbers for all your valuables in a centralized, easy-to-locate place. This will make you, your police officer, and your insurance agent happy. I think I'm going to scan everything and store it on Dropbox next time.

PSA the Second: If you get stung by a honeybee, pull the stinger out RIGHT AWAY. I would've probably suffered less pain Tuesday and would have a smaller welt on my foot even now if I hadn't waited 10-15 minutes because I didn't want to touch it.

PSA the Third: Neck MRIs are prone to weird shadows and false positive results. Don't let yourself panic over one, no matter how mysterious and hush-voiced your doctor insists on being.


  1. Oh, no!

    I hope things get better and that your insurance company is reasonable.

  2. Our insurance company seems reasonable so far, but we're kicking ourselves for not setting our deductible lower, since as is we're looking at about 80% out-of-pocket costs for replacement. We'll probably adjust that in the future--and I may even hold off on replacing the iMac till we've made that change. :-(