Saturday, September 6, 2014

A VERY Long Day

Yesterday was a VERY long day. Start with a 4 hour drive to Gainesville VAMC. Add in a 2 p.m. Neurology appointment that didn't start until 3:30 - and didn't finish until 5:30. Then spend 4 hours driving home through a thunderstorm most of the way. My Broken foot (the one I'm supposed to stay off of) wasn't happy about the almost 1 mile of walking to get around the VA hospital - I wasn't happy, either ... for various reasons.

The appointment was delayed because there were new Doctors for everyone (The VA Hospital in Gainesville uses the Students from Shands for a lot of routine things - like follow-up appointment). I DO like my new Doctor (actually a 1st Year Neurology Resident), and he did a good evaluation and was receptive to suggestions about my treatment from me. He agreed that I could taper off of the medication I was taking for Neuropatic PAIN - because I have no pain in my lower extremities. Once he was through and had a tenative plan in place, he had to get it cleared by his supervisor - a Neurologist on staff at the VA Hospital.

After a relatively long wait, he returned - with the on staff Doctor. The Staff Neurologist asked a LOT of background questions about my Active Duty time. Was I exposed to yada yada (Yes to Asbestos, Ionizing Radiation and probably Agent Orange) and then detailed questioning about those. Detailed questioning about my other conditions (Cardiac, Pulmonary, Migraines, Ménière's, etc.).  Then he said,

  • My lack of sensation in my lower extremities and foot drop was probably due to a problem in my Lumbar Spine at the L1 through L3 levels (narrowing of the spinal canal - AKA Spinal Stenosis) and there was nothing they could do about it. It would get worse with time and there was nothing they could do about that, either;
  • He wasn't happy AT ALL about the number of falls (and near falls) I have been having. More on this later;
  • The CT scans of my Lumbar and Thoracic spines were worrisome, and I would be consulted to Orthopedics for that;
  • There were some concerns about some of my lab work, so it is back to the vampires for more blood letting;
  • He wasn't happy about the fracture in my foot (and some of the CT Scan findings on my spine), so he was going to order a DEXA Scan (Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) to check my bone density;
  • He wasn't impressed by the walker I have to use to take the weight off of my broken foot when I have to walk - so he is adding that to the Orthopedics consult and suggesting I should be placed in a wheelchair ... because of my foot and all of the above reasons.
It's easy to see why my appointment took 2 hours - and why I'm not real happy right now. This is far beyond what I expected, and far from the news I really wanted to hear.