I still have not seen the neurosurgeon. First, her staff lost my referral, then she cancelled three appointments at the last minute due to emergencies. These cancellations are understandable but frustrating since Peggy took off from work to go with me, and I even left a funeral early to get to one of them. Also, the doctor’s nurse told me to stop taking my anti-inflammatory a week ago in preparation for an early biopsy, and this has caused my pain to grow exponentially, yet she will not schedule an operating room until I see the doctor.
On the good side (maybe) I’m told that my next appointment (tomorrow at 8:00 a.m.) is a”100% sure thing.” Right. Sort of like when I call a doctor’s office and the receptionist says, “I’m going to put you on hold for just a moment.” Now, I would define “just a moment” as longer than a second but shorter than a minute. People who work in doctors’ offices have a different definition. They define “just a moment” as an indefinite quantity of future time that would normally transpire before the caller dies—assuming that the caller is not too sick or old, and his call is not disconnected. This means that a “100% sure thing” could mean, as I define it, a 0.4% sure thing, or a 50% sure thing, or anything else.
I took the following summary to the neurosurgeon's office today along with some other forms:
A Summation of Why I Have Come
I have impingement problems in both shoulders. When the pain got so bad that I could not carry on a normal life, I went to Shapiro for surgery. Shapiro said that a tingling/burning sensation in my right arm was not connected to the impingement problem, and that I would need to see a neurologist before he operated. I waited six weeks for an appointment with Balm who said Shapiro was probably wrong, but that he would test me anyway. He did an EMG and a nerve conduction study, and ordered an MRI and a CT scan. These tests proved Balm right, but they also showed a “shiny fifth cervical vertebra.” Balm suggested that I see my internist, Jacobsen, to determine whether I have metastatic cancer that, he speculated, might have originated in my prostate.
I told Balm that the pain in my shoulders (and to a lesser extent in my back) often leaves me just short of tears, but that despite my fervent and repeated requests for adequate pain relief, Shapiro had not seen fit to prescribe anything stronger than 25mg Elavil (of which he said I could take a whole tablet if I needed it—the first night I took two tablets and still got little if any relief). Balm gave me a prescription for hydrocodone, but it makes me itch so bad that I rarely take it. I partially control the pain by: taking Piroxicam each morning and Elavil, Ambien, and Requip at bedtime; sleeping with a heating pad under my back and a pillow under each shoulder; and not doing any physical activity that involves my arms if I can avoid it (I even keep my hands in my pockets when I walk, and I ride my bike with only my left hand on the handlebars as much as possible).
I also went to an acupuncturist for eight visits. I wasn’t sure he helped (or if it was my constant experimentation with other measures that accounted for the pain reduction), but I observed that he stuck me in the same places each time, so I ordered some needles and have been doing almost daily acupuncture on myself. I’m not sure what combination of measures I can attribute it to, but I have reduced the pain sufficiently that I am no longer obsessed with suicide as a means to escape it.
Jacobsen suggested that I see you. Bridget lost my referral, and three appointments on three consecutive days were cancelled by your office at the last minute, so it has taken me three weeks to get in. Last week, Debbie suggested that I go off the Piroxicam in order to obtain a speedier biopsy. I did this, and the shoulder pain and the pain from an arthritic left knee is getting worse.
Lorna, in Jacobsen’s office, told me that two other doctors said a biopsy was too dangerous, but that you are willing to do one. I don’t know why they thought as they did or why you think as you do. No one who I have spoken with knows any more than I do.