Friday, July 27, 2007

under currents

I saw the godlike neurolgist yesterday. Actually, she was almost human. Maybe it just takes her a long time to warm up. I've been seeing her for a year. My old neurologist in Philly was a great guy. I always looked forward to seeing him, because we would discuss politics and books. However, he apparently misdiagnosed me for like 8 years, which puts our relationship in a whole new light. I sometimes consider writing or calling him, but I know he is very busy and I don't want him to think I'm thinking of suing, or something...Still, I wonder about how and why. Medicine isn't really an exact science, and even really smart people make mistakes.

So, the San Diego neuro is about as much fun as sorting socks. But she's considered the best MS md on the west coast, and I am lucky she is here and took me. Being grateful is not my best role, and she is more than a little weird. Yesterday, we compared notes on how incredibly stupid administrators can be. In particular, how "negative" comments and questions can get you in heaps of trouble. So, we actually commiserated a little. It was nice, because I felt like she was accepting my intelligence as being equal to hers. I often feel like I have to prove my intelligence to doctors. I think they often end up thinking patients are kind of dumb.

I also always have to go through this thing about my pain tolerance. I have a very high tolerance for pain. This may seem like a good thing, offhand. However, it means I can not notice something is wrong until it's really pretty bad. Little things, like a new pair of shoes being markedly uncomfortable and I take them off after four hours to discover I left the cardboard shape holder things inside one of them. When I am in pain, I keep going. I walked to the ER when I was in labor before birthing my daughter. It took like 2 hours to convince them to wake up a resident to examine me. At that point, I was 9 cm dilated. A nurse told me most women are screaming by then. I just wanted to keep walking, because my back hurt laying down. You know they made me lay down.

Anyhoo, this scenario gets repeated endlessly: I see a doc that I don't know well. I complain about discomfort. They disregard it. A week later, something major is clearly wrong. (My old neuro used to always tell his students how I complained of discomfort after I had a stroke in my spinal column. "Beware stoics," he said.) I feel like I have to "break in" new doctors. Somewhere here, I'm trying to say that maybe I have broken in the new neuro a little.

Her big news is that Copaxone is now approved to go unrefrigerated for up to 30 days. Woohoo! Traveling just became ten times easier. Here it is, official. You see how trusting I am not--I double checked. She told me she found out Wed. (7/25/07) It was announced 6/6/07. I really thought Copaxone should have sent something out--they love sending me mail. This information was so useful, I can't believe they didn't share it. Well, it will make the trip next week a lot easier. Would have made the trip in June easier, but I can forgive them. Just think of the space this gives us in the fridge!

Anyway, she thought I was doing pretty good. Keep up the Copaxone and physical therapy. I asked her if she could recommend an internist with some experience with MS. I told her about my most recent experiences, waiting ten weeks for an appointment with my new primary care. She said the business with seeing inexperenced mds is part and parcel of managed care. She wanted me to go back to the baby docs and get a GI referral. I am going to try to wait it out and just go to the new primary care when I get back from my nephew's wedding. At least, that's my plan right now.

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