08/14/2009 - 11:52 AM
I had a very long, painful, yet quite productive session with the neurologist yesterday. I was scheduled for an EMG at 10:30 am, which I had assumed some tech was going to do. Nope...the doctor himself spent a whole 2.5 hours with me. The first 90 minutes or so was the actual testing, the rest we just talked about my issues and what we can do about them.
For those of you who have never heard of or had an EMG, let me just describe it a little bit for you. He placed sticky pads on various places on my left hand that were connected to wires...sort of like the ones they place on you when monitoring your heart, except that these monitor muscle activity. He then took this machine that looked and performed much like a traditional taser, delivering electrical shocks to any area touched by the two metal prongs on the end. It also has a dial that he used to increase and decrease the shocks.
Although it started quite light and tickly, by the end it really did feel as though I was being tasered and was quite painful.
This procedure was repeated for my left elbow, left foot and left knee. I was not happy by the end of this part.
This is followed by direct stimulation of the same nerves. This requires the insertion of a slender needle through the skin, directing touching the nerve, then sending electrical jolts via this needle to stimulate the nerve. The needle isn't painful or anything...it's very much like the needles used in acupuncture and you don't really feel it. The electrical stimulation is MUCH milder and simply feels like a little tickle.
The results for my left arm showed that I have ulnar neuropathy, which includes some damage and/or entrapment of the ulnar nerve causing a loss of about 40% of its capacity to transmit the correct signals to the left portion of my hand, including the ring and little fingers. No muscle damage was found, so we don't need to do much about it right now. If it becomes necessary in the future, there's a very simple procedure they can do to try and correct it.
The biggest and most important part of the whole morning...for me...was when he determined and explained to me why I get those infernal 'zaps' in my neck and up the back of my head.
I have a condition called occipital neuralgia...damage to the occipital nerve that goes up through the back of the neck. It can cause pain, zapping, and headaches that affect very specific parts of the head in very specific ways. It is the cause of my new "stabbed with a knitting needle" type of headaches, the creepy crawly sensation in my scalp, and the nefarious (neener) zapping that I've suffered from for years.
I now have an appointment with a pain doctor who specializes in this very problem. Apparently there are lots of things that can be done for this problem. Woo hoo! More doctors!! Maybe this one can actually help me in some identifiable, useful way.
After spending about 30 minutes talking about the medication history for my migraines, he came to the conclusion that there really isn't much more we can try in that department. The only useful drugs that really gave me any relief are the ones that I can no longer take due my heart condition. He did give me absolute permission to "play around" with the gabapentin dosage, saying that he was comfortable enough with my knowledge of the drug and my conditions to allow me to try and find a dosage that would be helpful, yet still allow me to function fully throughout the day.
The current dosing regimen he has me on is horrible. I alternately can't sleep for days and then can't stay awake for even several hours at a time. I can't function like that. I had to skip my pills just to be able to drive to the appointment yesterday and told him so.
He is also working on getting me into the final stage of clinical trials for the use of multiple site botox injections for the treatment of migraine and chronic pain. We'll see how that goes.
My afternoon was spent at Dr. Martha's office. I had to take Jo for her appointment at 3:15 pm, which took a little longer than expected since Martha didn't actually get into the exam room until 4:20 pm. Don't get me wrong, I love Martha to pieces and she is an excellent doctor. However....she is one of those doctors that actually spends however much time required with each of her patients, specifically because she IS such a good doctor that she refuses to rush patients through without proper time and treatment. But this leads to HUGE backups in her office. I always schedule my own appointments with her for the very first time slot of the day if at all possible. However, this was a last minute cancellation slot that they stuck Jo in.
My evening was spent talking with Dad. His new moniker (neener) is 'Cosmic Toilet', due to the fact that he is the main receptacle for all of my verbal vomit these days. He sits very patiently for hours at a time, just letting me vent and spew whatever vileness, frustration or irritation is eating up my mind at the moment. He's a good guy and I wish more people could have a dad like him.
Can you tell I love my dad? Nah...didn't think so. *grin*
Ok...time to go indulge my addiction...
Mood: much improved today
To do: facebook...is there anything else that feeds my addiction?
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