I have a question. Am I the only person on the planet who develops weird physical symptoms, or am I the only person on the planet who actually calls the doctor when the symptoms surface? I think I know the answer. (Remember when I requested a colonoscopy a few months ago?) My medical team is starting to look like a basketball team. Currently, it includes a primary care physician, gynecologist, dermatologist, hematologist, gastroenterologist, and now, a neurologist.
About a month ago, I began feeling numbness and tingling on my left shin and foot. What I did next probably won’t surprise you. I googled “tingling in leg and foot.” Within ten minutes, I diagnosed myself with multiple sclerosis. What I did after that will be even less surprising. I called my doctor. Since then, I’ve had blood work, a vitamin B12 injection, a vein ultrasound, and this morning, I underwent an electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction study, which measures the electrical activity of muscles and nerves.
Over the years, I’ve endured some uncomfortable medical procedures, like wisdom teeth extraction, spinal anesthesia and c-section, chemotherapy, the disgusting crap you have to drink before a CAT Scan and colonoscopy, hernia surgery, and, last fall, a root canal. Now I can add EMG and nerve conduction study to this unpleasant list.
This is what my neurologist (a very nice man, by the way) told me before he started: “You’re not going to feel pain, but it’s going to be uncomfortable.” What happened next should be illegal. He shocked my right leg in half a dozen spots from my knee to my ankle. There was just enough time in between each jolt to anticipate (and break into a cold sweat) about the next one. And when he was finished with the right leg, he started all over again on the left one! If I knew national secrets, I would have spilled the beans after the first one. Now I can add being tased to the list of things I fear, including power outages (I live in South Florida), deep ocean water and bees.
When he finished electrocuting me, he started poking my legs with a long needle. Over and over again. Each time he stuck me, he made me contract and relax the muscle. And when he was done with the front of my legs, he made me roll over on my belly to do the same thing on the back. When it was all over, I had small bleeding holes all over my legs. I felt like a victim in an episode of “Fringe.” I’ll never be the same again.
The test torture lasted less than twenty minutes, and I was safely home within an hour (shaking like a leaf in a corner with new symptoms…probably a result of PTSD). I’ll get the results on Monday. Until then, I’m on pins and needles.