So, I went to a neurologist today. My physical therapist wanted me to go because I’m still having balance problems despite doing some decent core strengthening.
It’s probably the balance problem that caused the knee problems which precipitated the visit to the orthopaedic doc, who in turn sent me to the spinal neurosurgeon after the MRI on my back revealed a herniated disc. The back is better, and some PT work on the knee is forthcoming but I’m still having balance problems.
The neurologist did a bunch of tests; reflexes, balance tests, pin sticking, feeling a “tuning-fork” vibration buzz, follow the finger, certain movements, etc. He wanted to know if it was the knee that was causing me to lose my balance. Well… yes, occasionally. But, really it was the imbalance problem that causes my falls to begin with.
Those of you who have been reading this blog from the start have read about my falling and hurting my knee or an ankle at least a half-dozen times. Mel says I can’t walk around the block without falling down. It’s a vicious cycle: I have poor balance so I fall easily and injure myself. Never fully recovering from one injury to the next (because I’ve never really done any strengthening to promote healing and prevent injury), the weakened knee or ankles make subsequent falls more likely… but they don’t usually cause the fall.
I’m not dizzy or lightheaded, either. Another bunch of questions, including whether there’s MS in my family. There isn’t.
So this neuro Doc decides he wants an MRI on my head and neck. Today, if possible. Or if not, then as soon as possible this week because he won’t be in next week. And he’ll see me immediately after. He mentions MS again, saying that diagnosing it is difficult but the MRI should give some clearer direction. He then feels compelled to tell me that 20% of normal people – that is, people with no problem at all – have abnormal MRIs. Uhhh, great… thanks for the confidence booster.
Of course, he tells me not to be worried and wants to know if I have any questions. The whole thing was very quick; rapid fire testing and questions. I’ve not had time to absorb it all.
“Ummm, no.” I mumble. I tell him that I’m gonna go with the flow and just let him do his investigation.
So he passes me off to a clerk to setup the MRI. The clinic I’m at does the MRIs there but they’re booked. I’m given an appointment for Wednesday instead. “It’s just as well,” said the clerk. “We have to get insurance approval.” I asked how long that normally takes and was told a week or more but that they’ll usually turn it around more quickly in “emergency” cases. I nodded while thinking what the fuck?!? They’ll call me if my insurance company doesn’t approve it.