Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Eye cracked this time.

I've had two doctor appointments in the last two days. There's good and bad from both. However, because of my chosen title, I will start with my eye appointment from today.

My hope was that we'd done enough work on my right eye that I could escape another round with the laser. Unfortunately, I was either misinformed or remembered incorrectly about the number of hits I've taken with the laser. The renewed approximations were 200 on the first round, and 400 on the second. With a total of 600, I still needed another 400 shots with the laser.

The initial examination, however, revealed that the previous surgeries were doing their thing. The neovascularization that had occurred was fading away, leaving the original equipment functioning properly. The optic nerve, the doctor told me, no longer appeared to be at risk for becoming detached. This left me with a few new blood vessels that could still cause my retina to become detached, and while the doctor was somewhat willing to let me forgo another session of laser hits, she urged that I get it done so we could get it over with.

Because my last two sessions hadn't gone so well, we were of a mind to split it in two. Do 200 today, and 200 next week. But more multiple treatments would mean multiple episodes of anxiety. My real desire was to get it finished. So I devised a plan while waiting for the doc to come in and fire up the laser. Instead of concentrating all her fire on that super star destroyer...Ummm...Instead of concentrating all her fire on one trouble-spot, move around and work on multiple areas, so as not to aggravate an area too rapidly. It helped a bit, but I still required a break mid-session.

Toward the end, Valium or no, I was still starting to have issues with the pain and the fact that I was trapped in that apparatus with someone holding my neck from behind to keep me from moving away. I was not only sweating and shaking, but almost mewling with discomfort. When the doctor called it quits, I flat out broke down in tears. I had been pushed to my limits by this last session.

The good news is that we got it all done. Another round would be unnecessary. The doc and her assistant were keen on complimenting me during and after the procedure, telling me that I was doing, and had done, so well.

Exhausted and loaded with pain in my right eye, I got home, called Neko to let her know I was okay, but needed rest, and napped for a couple of hours. Now, while I can only see properly out of my left eye, the pain is less, and I'm feeling a tad better.

Now for yesterday's doctor appointment.

I went to the pain specialist for a lovely test called an EMG on my upper extremities. This entails putting a couple of sensors on my hands and jolting me with an electrical current. The goal was to check the responses of my reflexes. This is not the same as when a doctor simply checks to see if you HAVE a reflex, such as when they tap your knee with that rubber mallet. This was a measurement of how good the reflexes are.

For years, I've been pointing to my hands and stating that the atrophy so easily seen is a result of diabetic neuropathy. This is only partially correct. Diabetes may well be the cause, but not diabetic neuropathy. According to the EMG, I have an entrapped ulnar nerve. This is something that can be caused by diabetes, hence my being partially correct. And it appears to be at its worst in my left arm.

So what do I do? Well, the doc has recommended I see get it corrected surgically. He said if I don't do this, the muscles will get worse, and in short order my left hand will be useless. I have an appointment with a specialist at the start of May, and I'll get a second opinion on the whole thing.

Which reminds me...The problems with my knees have yet to be resolved. When I last saw my PCP, I asked them to refer me to a new orthopedic specialist, and they've moved at the speed of dark to get that done. The semi-good news on that front is that with winter fading away, the pain has decreased. With my hands apparently in greater need at the moment, I suppose I'll have to put my knees off for the time being.

And that's the medical update for the moment. I'm contemplating heading for bed again, seeing as how this entry has managed to exhaust me.

Be well, all.

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