Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nerves

SK left yesterday, Beve went back to work this morning, leaving me with one task of the day.  Well, probably more than one: there is that file cabinet Beve wants me to go through before the weekend, but I have plenty of time for that tomorrow, don't I?  Don't I? It's not even my file cabinet, it's my grandfather who, had death not stopped him in his tracks at 67, was planning to write a naval history.  The other day Beve brought in just one box from one drawer, and instantly overwhelmed me.  And apparently every drawer is stuffed with such things.  I don't exactly know how I'm supposed to sort this stuff, but as Beve said, it is my grandfather's.

But the real task of the day was going to a neurologist.  My once and future neurologist, it turns out.  Years ago, when I began this journey of idiosyncratic neuropathies (which just means nerve pain of unknown origin), Dr. Morris was my traveling companion.  By traveling I mean I drove to the various neurology clinics where he practiced one day a week here in town, until he stopped coming up here, and I had to drive down to Mount Vernon (Washington, not Virginia, in case any of you thought I was driving across the country for a doctor's appointment).  I saw him about once a month for 4 years, while he changed, upped, reduced, generally messed around with medications for me.  For a while there I was taking nine different drugs trying to find a combination that actually made an inroad in the actual pain I felt.  And, of course, there was blood-work, MRIs, Cat-scans, nerve conduction studies (there's torture for you--sticking needles into the nerves of arms and legs, then stimulating them with electricity!), and every test confirmed that my left arm and leg have nerve problems, but discovering why, which for some ridiculous reason, is the one thing I'd dying to find out, seems to be impossible.  The most likely cause happened on my 7th birthday, when I ran across the street without checking the traffic, and was hit by a car, causing my left hip to be pushed toward my backbone.  The resulting scar tissue, as the injury healed, interrupted the nerves or something.

But I don't know any of this for sure.  No one can.  So I'm left with the mystery of cause, and the non-mystery of pain.  But I got tired of taking medications that didn't actually dent the pain, so a year or so ago, I stopped taking them.  And guess what?  Over the course of the last year I became increasingly aware that those drugs actually were making a difference.  I know, I know, I'm a slow learner.  But, and this is no small matter, I didn't actually talk to a doctor about stopping the meds.  So when my family-practice doctor suggested I go back to Dr. Morris, I wasn't completely thrilled.

But back I went, then sat in the hot waiting room for about an hour and a half before being taken to a room.  This after I was called yesterday to see if I could come in earlier.  I'd have been better off keeping the original appointment.  Sigh.  And Dr. Morris, who is nothing if not thorough, wanted me to give him a detailed history of what has been going on with me since I last saw him, in 2006.  Are you kidding me?  No wonder he runs behind constantly.

Needless to say, he wasn't pleased that I'd stopped the drugs (which in other contexts, might make someone throw a party!) and--surprise, surprise!--I came home armed with a new perscription, a two lab sheets.  Yep, here we go again.  He says there are much better drugs available now, ones that have been quite effective with neuropathies.  It's hard to imagine not having this pain or being able to lie on my left side, sit on hard chairs, walk more than a few blocks without my leg giving way.  I'm still a little skeptical, as you'd be if you'd been on this journey.  Beve's a little skeptical as well.  But I've packed my things (my hopes, my fears, the myriad emotions between) and am on the road again.  If my nerves can take it, so can the rest of me.

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