Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Continuation of the Medical Updates....

In my last post I ranted about the apparent idiocy of doctors...I have a small bit to add to that to start with...

Shortly after writing that post I saw my doctor. I asked her for a refill of the nasal spray (sample) that I had been given by the allergist because it worked AWESOMELY for my 'normal' day to day allergy type flare ups...stuffy head, runny nose, the works...The allergist determined Vasomotor Rhinitis, which is medical talk for 'super sensitive nose, everything just irritates me'. I thought nothing of what was in the nasal spray simply because it worked AWESOMELY! I'd never felt so 'free' from tissues and sinus meds in all my life while I was using the nasal spray! So my doctor obliged and called in the script for me. Turns out my insurance does not cover that particular nasal spray, name brand, new, it had to be modified just slightly to a comparable nasal spray that is covered by my insurance. Again, I thought nothing of it, for one my sinuses had gone back to making me utterly miserable and I was just ready to get relief again.

After about two weeks of goings back and forth between the doctor and the pharmacy I finally had my nasal spray. Shot it up before I was even out of the parking lot. I expected there to be a bit of a 'recovery' time between the sinus infection I'd come down with and the time it'd take for the new nasal spray to take full effect. For the next TEN (10) days I suffered with the absolute WORST type of sinus infection paired with an INTENSE migraine. I'd take extra 'hits' of the nasal spray, praying that I'd get through it sooner that way....I really felt ready to die. It was HORRIBLE!

Late on a Thursday evening my husband and I were discussing my homework assignment - a PowerPoint presentation over the anatomy of the skin & associated skin disorders. Out of the blue, likely during another whine about my intense migraine and sinus infection my husband suggested that maybe the nasal spray was steroid based, since most usually are. I instantly popped up my search engine and checked into it....

Brian was dead on. NasaCort is *drumroll* a CORTOSTEROID...the main 'irritating' steroid listed in my 'I'm allergic to this medication' list. So I looked up the active ingredients of the 'comparable' nasal spray I had been taking, that did NOT irritate ingredient being a SYNTHETIC steroid. Now, where I was in INTENSE pain, from an obvious allergic reaction, I was also quite 'happy' about these findings. These findings meant that I'm not allergic to ALL steroids, just 'non-synthetic' ones. I promptly drove the 10 miles into town to WM to pick up some Benedryl, since none of the gas stations along the way seemed to have any in stock, and my husband had to be at work early in the morning, and didn't feel like making the drive.

I head straight for the pharmacy area of WM, and by the time I am at the check-out lane I've already opened the bottle and taken two...while standing in line behind an officer who works for the department of corrections. I really don't want to imagine what his thought process was as he stared at me out of the corner of his eye as I'm standing there, with the shakes, my face red, swollen, and puffy, wearing the first sweatshirt I picked up and a pair of my husband's flannel sleep pants, and flip hair likely sticking out in 50 directions to boot. I gave the short explanation that I was having an allergic reaction. Since he was in line in front of me he was out the door first.

As I left out of the building a few seconds later I noticed that he was standing off to the side, checking out the selection at the RedBox machine sitting there.... I went on out to the van...

Moments later I saw him rush out of the doors, headed to his own state vehicle. I sat in the van for a few minutes while it warmed up a little and while I waited for the dizziness to pass...I was already feeling the 'relief' from the Benedryl.

The poor gentleman who was parked next to me pulled out to leave and be on his way...I watched as the corrections officer raced after him... I'm so glad I took those extra few minutes, I really wasn't in the right frame of mind to deal with an officer who had already convinced himself that I was some sort of fiend...and that the Benedryl was part of my recreational activities...

Within an hour of getting home I no longer had a severe migraine and my face no longer felt swollen from the inside out. I dealt with the residual bruising from the swelling for the next week, you couldn't see the bruising on the exterior, but I felt like someone had squarely smacked me across the face with a baseball bat at a great rate of speed...

I followed up with my doctor a few days later and she promised to file the appropriate paperwork to make sure my insurance would cover the one with a synthetic steroid, due to my allergies.

At that same appointment we again discussed my shoulder, told her that the muscle relaxers she'd given me were almost as effective as Smarties candies, I even took up to 3 at a time, while suffering from the allergic reaction, and never noticed any effect whatsoever, I didn't even get drowsy from it. So I just quit taking it. I'm not one to take something that is having no effect on me, when it should be having an obvious immediate effect.

She put in a referral for me to see the physical therapist, since my insurance won't cover an MRI until after they've explored every other treatment option.

I saw the physical therapist last week. She did her initial evaluation. Her evaluation came back *drumroll, again* that I have some pinched nerves in my neck. EVERYTHING fits this diagnosis PERFECTLY. The numbness, tingling, sudden sporadic loss of use, the muscle spasms, the headaches, the dizziness, the poor sleep, ALL OF IT fits perfectly into this 'pinched nerve' category. Oh, and while the physical therapist was moving my head around she also pulled it 'up' away from my body...the relief I felt was like HEAVEN. I don't think I've EVER instantly felt so much better than I did for those 30 seconds...her pressing my head back towards my body was equally the most horrible type of pain I've encountered...the result of that action of nearly complete loss of use in my left arm for about 3 days. I could feel to move it, it responded to general movement, but trying to do anything with my fingers/hand was just EXCRUCIATING for a few days...Not only did I have the barbed pencil feeling across my shoulder blade, but it also felt like someone was ramming pencils between my fingers just because I'd move them.

The physical therapist also mentioned that the pain & spasms in my shoulder blade area is most likely due to some of the muscles working overtime while others have basically atrophied over the last decade, due to the lack of even nerve impulses. She sent in an order suggestion to my doctor for me to go through physical therapy, three times a week, for the next 6-8 weeks, minimum. During the physical therapy sessions they'll put me on a machine that will 'stretch' my head up away from my body, while doing some minor exercises to help strengthen the muscles in my neck and loosen others. She also is going to have me get regular neck and shoulder massages - OMG, I think I fell in love with her at just the mention of those two things...two things I have BEGGED my husband to do, but with his own shoulder issues and hand issues and every other issue he's come up with over the years I count myself lucky to get one a year. She will also be hooking me up to a machine that will send electronic nerve impulses throughout my neck and shoulder to help further loosen and strengthen the muscles that have been injured, by 'faking' the nerve impulses. Of course she'll also move onto me doing exercises both there and at home to help speed my recovery.

Yesterday, during Mikeal's appointment, with my doctor, she mentioned that she just had the paperwork for my physical therapy come across her desk, and that she'd approved the therapy. She scored a small brownie point for that mention...generally when the kids and I have shared the same doctor they won't give me the time of day if I even ask about such things since I'm not in there personally being seen...I've had doctors that make me make a separate appointment for them to discuss my medical results with me.

So, in short, I'm completely looking forward to physical therapy and I'm hoping that it does actually work. I do still wish that my insurance would approve the MRI, but maybe in another 6 weeks...

I also saw the psychiatrist yesterday, as well as my therapist. The doc doesn't think I have severe depression or other mood disorder, but did give me the option of going on Zoloft and seeing how I do on it. I agreed to try it out, so I'll be starting on 25mg of Zoloft, as soon as I get the prescription filled and picked up. I didn't get to spend much time with my therapist mainly just because it was already time for me to pick up Brian...I sold the van last weekend, so we're still working out the one vehicle arrangements...


  1. Second attempt at leaving a comment. My browser/connection is acting up today. I sure how you'll get the help you need and feel much better soon, Stephi! Have a good weekend.

    -Michael (aka:

  2. Thank you, Michael.

    And I seem to be having my own commenting issues today...helps when I log in, at least that's what it keeps telling me.

    I do feel better about it. The doctors are not just calling it carpel tunnel or JUST arthritis, so progress is actually being made. I have to focus on the progress and not the irritation I have that progress is not being made at the speed I would like for it to be made at. Slow progress is better than no progress. Slow progress is generally thorough progress and a good foundation for lasting results.