Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Carpel tunnel update

05/20/2015

Well, it's amazing what you can find out when you meet with a doctor versus his PA(physician's assistant).  When I went to my first appointment, which was supposed to be with the doctor, I met with the PA ( apparently the doctor was double booked).  The PA diagnosed me with trigger finger in my thumb and gave me an expensive and painful steroid shot. He also said I had carpel tunnel and ordered a nerve test, also expensive and painful.  I, like millions of other people, am on a high deductible health plan.

So...the nerve test. Have you ever had one?  Oi vey, it is not pleasant.  There are two stages. During the first stage, electrodes are attached to your hand and forearm and electric shocks are sent between the two electrodes to test the speed with which the current passes through your nerves.  Shockingly (no pun intended) my results came back completely normal.  During the second stage, they insert needles into the muscles of your arm and hand and pass a slight current through the needle to test the response time of the muscles.  And yes, that stage is as painful as it sounds cause they move the needle around while it's shoved in your arm or hand.  OUCH!!!!!!!!!!  And again, the results were completely normal.  So, the very nice doctor that conducted this test told me I had no nerve damage, which is good, and that while it is possible to have carpel tunnel without nerve damage, it isn't very likely.  So,  what is wrong with my hands?  We discussed my symptoms and he asked if I had a family history of rheumatoid arthritis...not the direction I wanted to go.

From my nerve test, I went to the building next door to have my physical.  I discussed the results of the nerve test with my primary care doctor.  We joked a little he reiterated that while it is possible to have carpel tunnel without nerve damage, it isn't very likely.  I said I would schedule a follow up with the hand specialist.  We looked at each other and I said" or maybe a rheumatologist" and he gave me a very sympathetic smile and nodded his head.  Again, not the direction I wanted to go.  On a positive note, all of my "numbers" are good. Everything is low that should be, except my weight, and it is lower than it used to be.  I'm working on that.

Of course, by the time I get home from my physical, it's too late to call for an appointment with the hand specialist, so I got to stew about this all weekend. Bright and early Monday I called the hand specialist and was able to get a follow-up appointment May 6.  Whew, only two more days of waiting. I hate to wait.  I REALLY hate to wait.  May 6 rolls around and yay, I meet with the doctor, not the PA.  The doctor comes in, reviewed my nerve test results and asks about my symptoms. In about 3 minutes, he says I do not have trigger finger, nor do I have carpel tunnel and asks if I have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis. So there, stupid PA.  I really wish I had met with the doctor to begin with.

A referral to a rheumatologist later, I'm out the door and feeling even more anxious about all the questions on family history of rheumatoid arthritis.  I head back to work and do what any normal person does, I get on the internet and start researching, you guessed it, rheumatoid arthritis.  And call to set up my appointment with the rheumatologist.  and I can't get through, and I can't get through, and, I finally get through but the first available appointment is June 2.  Again with the wait.  Did I mention I REALLY hate to wait?

So, where do things stand. I only have to wait about another 2 weeks, grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  And my internet research, well, I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv.  But...my symptoms appear to be closer to osteoarthritis rather than rheumatoid.  So I'm hopeful.  In the meantime, I continue to stitch, because everything I can find on any type of arthritis says to keep moving. I also switched to lighter foam weights in my water aerobics class,but don't seem to notice any difference in the way my hands feel.

And I wait.  Did I mention I really hate to wait?

Happy Wednesday.  Graduation is tomorrow and I hope to post some photo's.

Michele

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