Saturday, September 3, 2016

Take Ataxia to the River to Watch Fee Fishing

For those who can recall the way Tim Conway would walk as "The Old Man" might then be able to picture how I was now stepping about.  My new gait was easily spotted by others, although it was probably not at pronounced as I saw it in my own head. I felt in my own mind as if I was walking as you see those who have Multiple Sclerosis walk. Legs slightly splayed, arms swung out oddly.

It was as if I had become one of "Jerry's Kids".

It occurs to me at this point that Tim Conway might not be allowed to do his "Old Man" shtick anymore in what has become our humorousness society. Some self-pitying loser might be offended that he is making fun of elderly people; of course, Mr. Conway is an elderly person himself nowadays (He's 82).

If by chance anyone is offended by anything I write go sulk in a corner and suck your thumb and be even more pathetic. You know, if we lose our sense of humor about life, we lose our soul. I fear our country has lost its soul.

I followed up with my Doctor (I use the term loosely) and here is what he did, after he shrugged and said, "Golly, gosh gee, I don't know." Then he wrote out orders.

Schedule an MRI of my Lumber Region
Schedule an MRI of my Brain
Schedule a visit to a Neurologist (he of course supplied a name.)
Schedule several tests at the Cardiologists (he of course supplied a name.)
Come back and see him, good ol' Dr. Fears, in 6 weeks.

So what did I do? Exactly what the Dr. ordered.

I got home and called an Imaging Business and scheduled the MRIs, which I was surprised I could get the very next day.

I called the Neurologist the Dr. named and scheduled an appointment. They could not give me one until September 7, however.

I called the Cardiology Business and scheduled for three ultra-sound tests, but they could not schedule me for the first test until July 28, the second on August 11 and the third of August 15.
Cutting it close, because my follow up visit to Dr. Fears was August 16.

Now why were these tests so spread out? Each of them only took about 15 minutes, so why not just do them all at once? Years ago I had these tests and they were all done together with no problem. So, I asked, "Why do they have to be separate visits?"

That they told me is new government regulation under medicare, each had to be done on separate days. That's our government, inconvenience the public and garner some extra visit fees for the doctors; how does that save us health care costs?

I didn't tell them about the fourth test on the order nor schedule it nor take it. That was a stress test. They had determined I was too old and feeble for the tread mill, thus I was to get a chemical stress test. When I saw this took 2 12 hours and that they would be squirting foreign chemicals in this body, naw, I don't have time for that junk.

So I take the tests and then get a call from Dr. Fears. He wants me to go get a cat scan of my head. I keep telling them they'll find nothing inside my head, but they keep looking in it anyway.

I soon got a call from the Primary giving me a name and telling me to see a neurosurgeon. I called and made the appointment. Somehow on the day of the appointment, I got the wrong time. I walked in at 2:00, which is what I had on my calendar and the receptionist says, "Mr. Meredith, your appointment was at 10:30."  But the doctor was good enough see me anyway.

First, a young assistant came in, questioned me and put me through some simple tests, you know, like
touching my nose, holding a leg up. Then she gave me the "roadside sobriety test". You stand and try to walk straight ahead placing the heel of one foot right in front of the toes of the other.

I failed miserably. One step and I veered far to the left. I tried again and this time she had to catch me as I stumbled off to the right.

All I could think was "I hope a cop doesn't stop me. I don't drink, but he'll think I'm drunk."

After reviewing the MRI Images the neurosurgeon said: "Golly, gosh gee, I don't know."

He couldn't come up with a reason for my problem. The images showed a stenosis of my lumbar region, but he said, you guessed it, this was not unusual for my age and it wasn't enough to explain my gait and weakness. He ordered another MRI, this one of my neck area.

I am not going into those tubes again. I went and did this MRI, but I shook the whole time. I didn't think I had claustrophobia, but after those three MRI I have developed a lot of anxiety and apprehension.

And nothing supplied any explanation, yet in the meantime since the beginning of June I have seen my Primary twice, (both times he said, "Golly, gosh gee, I don't know,")  a Urologist, a Rheumatologist and a Neurosurgeon. I am scheduled immediately after Labor Day at the Neurologist, Nephrologist and the Cardiologist. Meanwhile, my Primary called and wants we to schedule a visit to an Ear, Nose, Throat guy (he supplied the name).

The gait I have is called Atxia Gait: "an unsteady, uncoordinated walk, with a wide base and the feet thrown out, coming down first on the heel and then on the toes with a double tap;----the presence of abnormal, uncoordinated movements. --- An unsteady, staggering gait is described as an ataxic gait because walking is uncoordinated and appears to be ‘not ordered’. 

Then just on the cusp of seeing people who might be able to explain my several tests and strange walk, I was interrupted by the hospital horror.

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