Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Doc Visit

Several of you know that I had an appointment with a very impressive doc in St. Louis yesterday. I tried to call several folks last night to give a report. But I ran out of gas, so I am posting this announcement.

Over the weekend, I finally got smart and realized I needed to take a friend along to be my eyes and ears and scribe. The woman who was in Lui during my mission trip had all the advantages: she is a friend, a nurse, and has some control of her schedule. So she went with me. As Deb told me, she has the "gift of interpreting doctors' tongues.' Her summary of the visit is below. Here are my impressions.

This doc took very good care of me. He poked and prodded as none of the local docs have done. And he gave a more careful and nuanced diagnosis than I had received before – not radically different than I had received 24 days ago, but somewhat more nuanced. He explained what nobody before had done: that this will probably require months – not hours or days – of recovery. [Yes, this upsets me big-time and discouraged me in many ways. Worse, he projected up to five months – which, of course, makes me cringe! But at least he leveled with me.] And he recognized that giving me some wrist support could give me more motor control in my fingers, so he sent me off to The Hand Center to be outfitted with a splint to give me some wrist control. That is letting me begin to use my right hand again, for the first time in these three weeks. So maybe my blog entries and e-mails will be a bit less error-ridden.

I must drive back to St. Louis Wednesday for an EMG test and another visit with his doc. Then I'll drive home that night. Then -- as fate would have it -- I'll drive back to St. Louis Thursday morning for a business trip and be there until Friday night. I'm getting very familiar with this highway this week.

And now here is my nurse/friend's more technical report on the day – followed by the couple of e-links she sent me this evening with more information..


+ + + + + + + + + + + +

Dear Lisa,

I have sent you three different web pages so you can read up on stuff related to the diagnosis you were given today. Okay, the diagnosis is Brachial Plexopathy which was also known in the past as Parsonage-Turner Syndrome. What that means is that the bundle of nerves located in the shoulder area become "inflamed" or damaged by injury leading to problems in the hand. You have "supinator weakness" of a grade 2-3 (out of 5) which means you have weakness turning your hand "palm up" and have difficulty stretching your hand our straight meaning you have weakness in the wrist extensor muscles. [The flexors pull your hand down.] There was neuropathy (meaning nerve "disease") in the posterior interosseous nerve (the name describes where that nerve is--posterior meaning back, inter meaning inside, osseous meaning bone) very simplistically. The doctor was pleased to see the degree of recovery you had achieved in this short period of time (not short to you!) and did not see any reason to suggest any treatment besides splinting the wrist to support it as you continue to recover. You should do what we call range of motion exercises in the wrist (they said 10 repetitions daily) to keep your wrist able to move easily as you continue to recover. There is no reason we could identify that you developed this problem so it is "idiopathic" (that means we don't know why you got it!). Everyone seems optimistic so anything that seems to be scary in the web pages should be disregarded! You will have the EMG on Wednesday and have another visit with the doctor and another EMG in five weeks so they can follow your progress. I do say PROGRESS!!! I expect it and am praying for it.

I hope this helps you to explain things to your other buddies. Please be encouraged and encourage all the folks that are concerned. I had fun today! I hope the splint makes life easier until you are back to normal.


A couple of good articles are at http://www.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/nord726.asp and http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001418.htm.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is incredibly good news, Lisa. It comes under two great categories:
1. not dying.
2. will get better.

As a man, and so an expert in this field, I would suggest that you milk it for every thing it's worth. A few months of relaxation and constant sympathy will do you the power of good. The main thing, again as a man I know about this, do not be a martyr. It is best to give in completely and let everybody else do the work. A few comments of "isn't she brave" do not equate to months of idleness.

Enjoy your pain and it will pass quicker.

10/17/2006 11:47 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

woohoo - yes - not dying and will get better.
Excellent! Time to call in all your chips for TLC from your friends.

10/17/2006 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Lee said...

Delurking to say prayers for your healing and for your caring for your Scotty. Those two are big things going on, beyond everything else.

10/17/2006 6:33 PM  
Blogger Suzer said...

Glad to hear this! Though the recovery will take time, it's a blessing to know that recovery will happen. You've been in my prayers. Hope Scotty is hanging in there, too.



10/18/2006 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Sharecropper said...

What an encouraging diagnosis! Sure you don't feel that way, but we are all very grateful that you have a good prognosis. Still keeping you in our prayers. And, wishing you the best as the Episcopal Majority meets and you are able to work and be loved and shown love.

10/18/2006 9:10 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks, folks! (And especially to MadPriest's wise and tempting counsel.) I'm hanging in ok. And Scotty does seem to be stabilizing.

10/21/2006 1:52 AM  

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