I spend a good portion of my time planning for and attending doctor appointments. I always have my date book on me and do my best to maintain a healthy balance between medical me and the rest of me. And when I think I have medical me all figured out, a new ailment will pop up and throw me off course. “What could it be? How will I find the time to take care of this? What if it’s really bad?” While it’s easy to be anxious and desire quick answers, I’m working on a more fundamental approach: sticking to the facts and letting the scene play out.
In mid-October, my left hand started feeling tingly and numb in the morning. At first I blamed my sleeping positions then gardening. When I felt a sudden and shooting pain in the back of my hand as I was chopping an onion, I knew I had to do something. But what rabbit hole to go down first? When I found myself ruling out an amputation, I knew it was time to stick to the facts (my hand hurt and I didn’t know why) and call my Primary Care Physician (PCP.)
My PCP suggested carpal tunnel was the name of my pain and referred me to a neurologist. I called the neurologist; my heart sank when the receptionist told me the doctor’s schedule was eight to twelve weeks out. As we were setting up an appointment for January, she saw he had a cancelation in November. Good and not good; I already had a dentist appointment scheduled on that day. I decided to take the appointment and reschedule the dentist.
I called the dentist; the soonest appointment they had was in April. Well that’s just awesome! I took the appointment; they assured me I’d be put on a cancelation list. I was a bit cheesed off by this and started thinking I need a new dentist but it would have to wait.
In the meantime, I had an appointment with the new endocrinologist. You’ll like this; before she’ll start me on osteoporosis medication in January, I need gallons of lab work AND she requested I have a dental exam to ensure oral surgery is not in my near future (one of the side effects of the medication is osteonecrosis of the jaw bone.) Sweet merciful crap! The dentist dilemma will need taken care of sooner than later.
The day arrives for my neurologist appointment, I show up with six pages of paper work, photo ID, and insurance card ready to do business. Turns out the doc is super cool, he let me watch the screen with him as he ran his tests and explained everything to me. Diagnosis: mild carpal tunnel.
Whew; that’s nothing! “Normal” people get carpal tunnel all the time! I’m thrilled because the issue wasn’t a neurofibroma lurking around or a stress fracture as a result of thinning bones! He suggested wearing a wrist brace at night. Done!
Next up, the dentist; I call and explain my urgency. Surprise surprise, they have an opening! Do I have a scheduling conflict, of course I do! I was to see my therapist at the day and time offered. I take the dentist appointment and cancel with my therapist. Spoiler Alert: Choppers are perfect and my therapist didn’t charge me the “cancel in less than 24 hours fee”!
Time Will Tell
Over-all, the past three months of my medical life played out fairly well. I stayed on task, invested some time, and received the answers I needed. Fretting about a bunch of ‘what ifs’ would have gotten me all riled up for nothing. If chronic illness has taught me anything, it is this: there is merit in being patient, allowing life to unfold, and radically accepting the results.
|The waiting is the hard part|