Progress

Things have settled down health-wise to a manageable level since my last post. I have cut down on a lot of things I used to do around the house and either get someone else to do it or do it in a way that puts the least amount of stress on my left arm and that has helped. It means leaving the carpets unvacuumed sometimes or having to wait till there is another adult in the house to help me push the bed to look for something that has fallen behind it. It is a lesson in patience; something I have never been good at.

The appointment with the Neurologist was one of the most disappointing medical encounters I have ever experienced. He did not take a medical history or even ask how I was feeling. Instead, he had decided my symptoms were being caused by stress and anxiety and prescribed a drug which amongst other things was an anti-depressant and had strong sedative effects. It was supposed to help with nerve pain. No amount of explanation on my part that I had a son with special needs that needed me to be responsive at night convinced him that this was not a suitable drug for me to be on. After arguing my way through the hour long appointment, he finally agreed to talk to his boss about using a technique used to measure brain activity in stroke patients. He promised to get back to me in a few days, but I haven’t heard anything back in the two weeks since the appointment.

Out of options, I finally decided to to back to Wellington and see the Vascular Surgeon who did the original scans and MRI’s on me when I was first diagnosed in 2004. It seems like a better option than going to a new doctor for a 2nd opinion. My medical condition is so complex, it would take a new doctor weeks to gather all the relevant facts in order to give me an informed opinion. That appointment is next week and I am staying in Wellington for a few days afterwards to catch up with friends.

Yesterday I took Jacob to watch the Cricket Worldcup Semi-final between New Zealand and South Africa. I had bought the tickets months ago and didn’t want them going to waste, so took on the challenge of convicing Jacob to go along with me. We only stayed for the 1st three hours and left after the rain started. That was all I could handle tiredness-wise. But I am glad we did it. Jacob might not have inherited a single cricketing gene from either heritage, but maybe a love of the game can be taught? Or maybe not, given he spent most of those three hours glued to his iPod…..

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Jean says:

    I’m sorry to hear of the neurologist. When you say vascular surgeon, is that a cardiovascular surgeon/cardiologist? You have to push onward for the best medical opinion that you trust. I agree that an anti-depressant would be a zero option and set you backwards.

    Next time, see if you can have a close friend accompany you to any doctor specialist. All they have to do is to listen and watch the conversation.

    I’m glad you try to be very specific and whatever you do, give several concrete examples of your symptoms and times of when they occur. Most patients fail to realize that any doctor needs very specific details, timing and frequency of symptoms.

    I was a medical librarian for a few years. I also have a sister who is an emergency medicine doctor plus another sister who is a hospital pharmacist. Yes, from the inside, I can tell you, be persistent, calm and specific when speaking with any doctor.

    1. Hi Jean, Many thanks for your lovely comment. In our main hospital here in Auckland, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery are treated as two separate specialities. I see the Vascular Team. I went to see my former surgeon in Wellington whom I last saw 10 years ago. He had a few ideas that he will be writing to my current doctor about, but nothing majorily different to what the other’s have said. I noticed that my GP has said he thought it was more anxiety in both the last two referrals he wrote to specialists on my behalf, so no wonder they don’t take me seriously. Felt very sad. I think I am a rational person and know I am not making things up. But there you go. Will take your advice on taking someone with me next time I see a specialist. Thank you.

  2. Jean says:

    The other option is to try to see another GP…unless you don’t have a choice. Since this is the first doctor who makes diagnosis and recommends to other specialists.

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