Thursday, July 29, 2010

Call Ahead

I travelled to Philadelphia, PA last week (it was this week when I began writing this post) to visit (apparently, just) with my neurologist. I must drive eight hours from my home in Radford, VA in order to see my neurologist at the Jefferson University Headache Center. This is not a trip that I take lightly. Usually my wife travels with me and we travel up on the weekend for a Monday appointment, but this appointment was on a Wednesday and she was unable to accompany me.

So, I had to make the trip by myself. I felt really good on the way up, spent an overnight with some friends near Baltimore, and made the last two hours of the trip the day of the appointment. And, it went downhill from there.

I was really excited, because I had a new MRI and the results of an EMG and sleep test to share with the staff there. The MRI shows that I have some bulging of the C5, C6 disks along with the flattening of the nerves at C7. These are attributed to multiple head traumas. I thought this could really shed some light on the neck pain we had previously contributed to the migraine.

The EMG shows that there is some nerve damage to both my right and left arms, but more so on the right. This also, is attributed to multiple head traumas and could explain some of the weakness I have during a migraine. (see this video of how the test is done)

The Sleep Test confirmed that I have sleep apnea. Actually a regular apnea and a central apnea, which definitely make it difficult to get quality sleep. And, so, could also be contributing to the migraine as well.

I was excited about the testing results but, was to be disappointed as the neurologist looked over my test results and then asked two questions. The first was, why had I taken so long to return? Which I simply and honestly answered, that I had to reschedule twice and that his office had called and rescheduled twice. Which is why it took several months to get another appointment.

The second question was, where is your blood work? I was surprised. He had not given me an order for blood work, so I didn't have blood work done. I told him this and he said, "How can I make changes to your medicine, if we don't know how much is in your system?" I was flabbergasted. Here I was 8 hours from home, and not getting treatment, because of a breakdown in communication! All I got was an order to come back in 4 weeks. A wasted trip.

All, because I did not have blood work done in advance. The testing for Mexilitine takes at least 5 days to process, so there was no way to have it done there, that day, and make the trip worthwhile.

So, what have we learned here? Always call ahead and talk to at least a nurse, in order to ask if there is anything that needs to be brought to you appointment. Do not take for granted that any testing reports have been forwarded to your doctor. You should bring a copy of any testing done, with you to your appointment (which I did with the others).

The one thing I forgot to do, was CALL AHEAD.

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