Doctors, doctors and more doctors. I have a lot of appointments coming up. Yesterday I was saw my neurologist. He’s been the doctor I’ve been with the longest, the one who diagnosed me 19+ years ago. At this stage of the game with my MS he treats me systematically. The specialist in the city treats me for my major MS drug. This is a section from a my own blog about doctor day check ups.
It’s doctor day. What does that mean? It goes something like this….first doctor is going to look into my eyes. Then the finger gets lifted follow with my eyes to the left, to the right, up then down. Stick out your tongue. Next comes the finger tip touching by your thumb to index, middle, ring, pinky. Then door knobs twisting wrist back and forth. Touch your index finger from your nose to doctors finger at a distance. Now it’s the reflex check, knees elbows, and ankles. While we are here lets scratch the bottom of the feet. Maybe the tuning fork on the ankle bone and on your fingers. Now I make a muscle and resist hard as my arm gets pulled then lift my leg trying to keep it up while it’s being pushed down. Maybe we’ll see the pin next poking various places, do you feel this? Finally let me see you walk. Ugh, you can see all this gets to be pretty routine after 18 years. Worse even more so when you know how your body is going to react. What does any of the tests mean? The eye test is all about optic nerve damage possibly resulting from optic neuritis. They are looking for blurred vision or any other eyesight issues regarding neurology. The finger tip touching, door knobs and nose touching that is looking at muscle coordination or ataxia. Ataxia is a general term used to describe abnormal movements and incoordination. The reflex check. The hammer on your reflexes points knee, elbow or ankles, they are looking for symmetry on both sides of the body. Is their no response or an exaggerated response. The signs of this show neurological damage. The scratching of your foot my favorite one. When you get scratched the normal response is your big toe curls down. If the toe fans upwards or shoots upward this is known as the Babinski response which indicates neurological damage. The wonderful tuning fork and the wonderful human pin cushion test are both checks on sensitivity to check one part of the body against other parts. The muscle push pull is checking weakness in the muscles right side against left side. The walking test is checking gait issues. I should also include here would also be balance tests on most patients. Some doctors ask you to remember words they say at the beginning of the appointment to repeat at the end, checking cognitive abilities. These little tests as repetitive as they are really do give a lot of information.
Yesterday was no different exam wise, however, I was having a bad MS day yesterday. Was it the day, the MS or just timing? I don’t know but my exam showed me to look significantly worse than 3 months earlier. I know I’ve been struggling. I know some days are harder than others. I know it is unpredictable. I just don’t know what is my new normal anymore. I see the orthopedist on Monday for the tendonitis in my shoulder, another thing that has been very difficult for me to deal with these last few weeks. I have the MS specialist on Tuesday and we will be putting in the paperwork for changing from Rituxan to Ocrelizumab as well as the paperwork for me to get an aid. The only thing I can say I truly know right now is I am NOT stable or getting better. That’s my only certainty.