One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

January 8, 2011

Seeing a neurologist makes your fatigue sound way more important

I saw a neurologist yesterday. After my visit to the emergency room in June, my GP (or rather, another doctor filling in for my GP) referred me and then this week I got a very short-notice appointment to fill in a cancellation or something like that.

Seeing a specialist is so much different from seeing general practitioners, eh? For one thing, I really liked how focused he was. He had a thorough interview and examination process. Everything moved briskly along and it didn’t rely on me to keep on demanding attention (“okay, yes. You’ve established that it’s probably not lymphoma. And good job on that, by the way, but it’s still bothering me, so can we do more to find out what it IS?”).

It’s possibly because most of my GP visits in the last year have been during walk-in clinic hours, when they pretty much usually see minor emergencies, so they just want to deal with what’s high priority and then send you home.

Also, when I go to my GP’s office to say, “I can’t feel my toes” or whatever, I always feel like I’m being vetted. Like they’re not convinced yet that my symptoms aren’t in my head. Whereas the neurologist didn’t have any trouble treating it as a matter of course that I have sensation loss. I just found that instantly my whole attitude in the exam was different. If the GP asked me whether I had headaches, I would feel like if I answer in the negative, then they won’t take me seriously. And with the question involving such a vague symptom, I’m pretty sure I would say something like, “well, yeah… I mean, sometimes. …Like, maybe they’re tension headaches, I guess, but uh…yes, I definitely do get headaches.” With the specialist, I could instantly reply, “no. Not anything that I would consider out of the ordinary,” because he was carrying a “we’re going to get to the bottom of this” air, instead of a “well, we’ll see if this is even anything,” air.

On the other hand, what is it with these clearly quite brilliant specialists with their walls covered in degrees and plaques and recognition but having all the personality of dryer lint? I would crack a joke or make some wry comment, and he would just pause for a moment, giving me a long dead stare then, with a sharp breath in and a “yes, okay,” go right back to interviewing me.

Also weird: at the end of the interview, he said, “okay I’ll get you to remove your socks and… -Excuse me a minute.” And then he left abruptly and went into his office and closed the door and then I could hear him dictating my deets in dry medical terminology for the next five to ten minutes. Totes weird of him.

At the end of the exam, he gave me a requisition for blood work saying, “I’m going to have this and this test done and that will check for X condition which can cause some of these symptoms.” I didn’t recognize X condition, but he was talking quickly so I just listened. Later, he mentioned the condition again and I said, “I don’t know what that is.” He gave me a significant stone-faced pause and then said, slightly impatiently, “well we’re just testing you for it.”

Oh man. I don’t know if he was trying to not trouble me with things that are not yet relevant, but if that was the case, I was near to blurting out, “Really? Dude, I’m just going to go home and Google it.”

But then I thought maybe he just didn’t want me wasting his time by making him explain something that, if he says it’s irrelevant, I should just trust that it’s irrelevant.

He also wrapped up by telling me that he doesn’t think I have lymphoma. Good job on that. And he doesn’t think I have MS. Also good. Though he didn’t have much to say on the topic of what it could be. We’ll just see what comes of the tests, I guess. He also said he was going to send me for an MRI – but I see from my provincial government’s website that wait times for non-urgent MRIs are about 4 months. So I guess we’ll see about that.

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  1. Deb C

     /  2011-01-08

    Huh. I saw a surgeon this week about my thyroid nodules. Roman was all like, “oh, Dr. M. I think I play soccer against him. Ask him if he plays soccer when you see him.” But I didn’t remember to during the appointment, so when I got home I said to Roman, “So your friend Dr. M. Is he about our age, trim, greying curly hair?” “Yes, that’s him.” “And has he always been that arrogant?” “He’s cocky, yes.” “No, he’s not cocky. This guy was full on arrogant.” “Well, that’s why I occasionally kick him in the knees when I’m playing soccer against him.”

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  2. gish

     /  2011-01-09

    Some doctors have no sense of humor, I guess. When my OBGYN in Tallahassee was giving me my blood test results, she was running down a list of stuff I don’t have, have antibodies for, etc. And when she got to AIDS – negative, I was all “woo hoo!” and she didn’t seem to know what to make of that, so she just paused for a second, then moved on. 😀 (I’m sure the OBGYN I went to when I got back home would’ve given me a pity chuckle, at least.)

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  3. That’s awesome.

    I think also, even if their sense of humour is different (or missing) they just don’t know how to deal with someone who acts relaxed around them. I assume they’ve trained very hard to adopt this somber bedside manner and it must be a little bewildering when some people don’t act cowed by it.

    At least for my part, I kind of felt like his frequent deadpan stares were an attempt to remind me of my place.

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