As a health educator I encourage people to get routine medical exams and tests. I try to practice what I preach. I understand how difficult routine health checks can be for people with certain chronic illnesses because we often live in the land of urgent care. I spent the spring and summer of 2017 in that land fighting allergic reactions and infections that interfered with my ability to breathe. Breathing has a top-level priority.
The last infection left fluid trapped in my middle ear. The urgent care physician prescribed antibiotics and gave me a referral to otolaryngology. By the time I got to the exam room of the specialist, the fluid was out of my ear and the infection was gone. He insisted that it had never been there. The arrogance and the flawed logic ticked me off and that visit did not go well. Nevertheless, he diagnosed my hearing loss from my speaking volume and sent me off with the audiologist.
She thought that I might qualify for a used hearing aid at $25. I am not quite that poor. Since then, I have been fielding calls from aggressive hearing aid sales representatives. Tomorrow, I finally have an appointment with a group that accepts my insurance.
I love this time of year! The angle at which UV rays from the sun are hitting the earth at this latitude means that this photosensitive woman can just get up and leave the house without taking loads of protective measures. THIS MEANS THAT MY NEIGHBORS ARE NOT ABLE TO SYNTHESIZE D3 FROM EXPOSURE TO SUNLIGHT. THEY NEED TO SUPPLEMENT.
This is also the time of year when I schedule routine visits with my physicians. In the last few weeks I have seen my colon specialist, yet I still need to schedule a colonoscopy. I have seen my ophthalmologist. I see him twice a year, as everyone taking Plaquenil should. I have also seen my rheumatologist. I drive on the hated I95 to see him. This is not a time in my life to be considering a new physician in this specialty.
I have also had several treatments, transforaminal epidural steroid injections under fluoroscopic guidance, from my neurologist/interventional pain management specialist. Those injections are designed to reduce the pain, numbness, and weakness that I experience because of spinal stenosis.
Since those treatments were not successful, I got a second opinion from an orthopedist. I was really hoping that he would say that some of my symptoms were being caused by the arthritis in my hip and SI joints. The orthopedist agreed with the pain management specialist. They both believe I do have arthritis in these joints but that the pain, numbness, and weakness are being referred from my lumbar spine. They both agree that I need to see my neurosurgeon. Today I got an MRI. On Friday I see my neurosurgeon. Yes, I am dancing and singing and making like happy.
Next week I see my PCP. He is an internist. I have already been by his office to have my blood drawn so we will be going over those results. There will be a full metabolic panel. And a full lipid panel. I cannot lie to him about what and how much I have been eating. The evidence will be staring us in the face. I will use my pain and lack of mobility as excuses and he will just give me the look. Sometimes knowing better does not mean doing better. There will also be a CBC (with differentials), thyroid levels, and a 25OHD level. These numbers do have meaning. Together we check levels against behavior and set goals for the next checkup. This usually takes about 45 minutes.
The orthopedist gave me an order for aquatic PT and my evaluation appointment is set for December 14. I am excited about that without even a hint of sarcasm. I love the water. And the therapeutic pool at Sheltering Arms is a safe place for me to have PT. I have been out of the water for too long. I miss it. I need the exercise to keep my metabolic indices within the normal range.
I have no more doctor visits planned for 2017. I start again in January of 2018 with my annual visit to the gynecologist. The dental hygienist is the next health care professional in my date book.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
WHAT ROUTINE CHECK UP HAVE YOU BEEN PUTTING OFF?
WHAT SYMPTOMS HAVE YOU BEEN IGNORING (KNOWING THAT IF THEY WERE GOING TO IMPROVE ON THEIR OWN, THEY WOULD ALREADY HAVE DONE SO)?
WHEN ARE YOU GONNA GET THAT SECOND OPINION?
WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO START PHYSICAL THERAPY?