Sunday, September 2, 2007

Diagnosis, please?

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple of days. We've had company this weekend and I've been too busy having fun. Did ya miss me? Are you even reading my blog ~ well I guess "you" are but how about the rest of you out there? Can I get a shout out? How about a comment or two? Just need to know you are out there!
Here's my friend Mary Catherine. She came up Friday night and we did our own quilt shop hop on Saturday. 4 quilt shops and a Jo-Anns... not to mention lunch at R.J. Gators which is where this picture was taken... Several of the shops that were on our list of places to visit had the nerve to go out of business though ~ how rude of them! We still found plenty to spend our money on and so many things to inspire us. Hopefully I will start sewing again this week and will post pictures for you all.

So, at the beginning of last month my left shoulder starts to hurt, BADLY. I am in pain 24/7 and can't find an angle to rest my arm that relieves the pain which starts in my shoulder and goes all the way down my arm to my elbow. Advil doesn't work, heat helps a bit but not much so I do what we all do these days... go to the expert ~ THE INTERNET. I google around for a bit and decide I have torn my rotator cuff. Now, I know better than to use the internet for self diagnosis but I have all the symptoms, read up on the treatments and use this as a starting place to decide what kind of doctor I need to find which turns out to be an orthopedic surgeon. Again, still on the internet, I go to my insurance company's web site and find a doctor in the area whose name I can pronounce - nothing prejudicial here but my I had a really hard time understanding what my last doctor was saying and vice versa which makes for a less than successful doctor/patient relationship.
I get there and tell him what my symptoms are and what I suspect ~ he runs me thru the gamut of moving my arm in every way possible and some that are were NEVER possible on any human. Pokes me so hard in the shoulder (OUCH!) and says "Does that hurt?" "Hell yes, and it would have before I tore the rotator cuff too". We take some X-rays and fortunately there are no black blobs to be seen (cause you know in the back of my mind my arm has been taken over by tumors) but we do find a bit of bone floating out just past my shoulder. The doctor, in his infinite wisdom says "well maybe that's our problem, or could be a torn rotator cuff, arthritis, or (gasp) osteoporosis. Let's do some physical therapy, a bone marrow test, take some anti inflammatories and see where we are in a month. After that we'll talk about MRI's, cortisone injections and after that surgery". Hey, wait a minute ~ can we decide what's wrong before we treat it?
A month later (after AGONIZING PT three times a week ~ I swear those people get off on your pain!) I go back to see the doctor. He asks how I'm doing and I say "Better than I was, the level of pain is less and not as often but I still can't sleep with my arm up under my pillow and I can't lean my head back without getting shooting pains and can't lean my arm on a table or the whole thing goes numb (didn't do that before physical therapy), can't use my arm to lift anything heavier than a pillow but if you don't count that, I'm good." He moves my arm this way and that and says "Hey you can move your arm now" HELLO, I always could move my arm, that wasn't the problem. "Well it seems that your rotator cuff is all better (Oh, so that's his diagnosis?) but I think you have a pinched nerve in your neck as well." So I ask if I should continue PT and he says something vague along the line of maybe, so I ask if maybe a chiropractor would be better at this point. His brilliant answer is "If you think that would help,". "Okay, well should I continue taking the anti inflammatories?" he says "if it helps, sure. If not, don't worry about it". Oh and "If you decide (why should I decide) you want cortisone shots we'll do them in your neck not your shoulder but we'll talk about that when you come back in a month."
So I guess I am the medical expert here because basically he's left my treatment completely up to me. HELLO ~ Did he not go to medical school for all those years to become a doctor? I mean I finished high school and even took one or two courses at the local junior college but somehow I would have thought that he should be the one to decide the course of treatment, not me. Needless to say he'll miss me next month cause I think I'll find someone who can actually tell me what's wrong and what to do about it.
So, how was your day?


Danielle said...

Hey babs! LOL I am reading your blog... I think he sounds like a quack!! LOL I love ya

karen said...

Hi Barb, you might want to see an orthopedic surgeon since it sure sounds like a nerve/disc problem in your neck/upper back. An MRI will give a better picture and I wouldn't have the PT doing anything without a picture of your neck! Good Luck! Karen P.