Some Doctors Should be Researchers

I finally went to the doctor yesterday for the numbness and pain in my hand and arm. I had an appointment with my own doctor last week, but somehow thought the appointment was at 3p when it really was at 2p. Unfortunately, it isn’t one of those places where you always have to wait 45 minutes so I had to reschedule.

But my doctor is on vacation this week. And she’s really busy next week because she’s on vacation this week. I had the same problem when I was sick awhile ago. She’s pretty popular. I think she’s really in the office, but they’re trying to give patients to some of the other doctors. The one I saw yesterday could use some help.

She walked into the room and asked if I had seen her before. She said she thought I had. I had no idea who she was, but said I wasn’t  sure. I felt like a bad first date. But it had only begun.

She asked why I was there. I don’t know if she didn’t read the intake the medical assistant had done 3 minutes earlier or wanted to see if I gave the same story twice.

So I told her about the numbness in my hand and the pain in my thumb. Her first question was which one I wanted her to treat. I’ve never had a doctor imply that they would only treat one of a possible number of problems. I didn’t bother telling her about the recurrence of tendinitis in my shoulder.

So I explained that I had had the numbness for several months but when I tried various braces they had caused pain in my thumb. The first one I tried is something they call a cock-up splint (that name has always embarrassed me). It forces your wrist to bend up slightly and is used for carpal tunnel.

She asked why I tried it. I told her that when I previously had wrist pain it had helped. Oh, OK. I don’t know if she’s had patients who used it for illicit purposes or what. Maybe there’s a black market.

It caused my thumb to hurt so I tried a regular brace from the store. Same result. She feels around the base of my thumb. It’s tendonitis and arthritis.

How long have I had the numbness? About six months. Which fingers are affected? All of them. That doesn’t make any sense. Each of the fingers has a separate set of nerves. I’m not sure what to say. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention. She gets irritated. We can only work with the information you give us. In that case, believe me when I say that all of them get numb.

She says that it sounds carpal tunnelish, but that usually only affects some of the fingers. Do I want an EMG? Do I know what an EMG is? Apparently she didn’t really have an opinion.

We can’t treat the carpal tunnel until we fix the tendonitis. So she orders a thumb spica splint. (Who names these things?) I should take anti-inflammatories and apply ice.

I tell her cold make it hurts worse. She asks me if I mean that it makes it better. I say no, worse. Am I sure? Then apply cold. Cold makes it worse. It shouldn’t. Are you sure it doesn’t make it better? I work in a cooler. Trust me. Well go as cool as you can. ??

I ask about work. She says not to worry, it will keep my thumb stable. I mean I use my thumb at work. Well, you’ll have to make accommodations. Gee, thanks.

You’ll need to use the split for several weeks. Let us know if it doesn’t work. Really? You don’t believe that all of my fingers are numb or that ice doesn’t work. Do you think I’m really dumb enough to tell you the treatment doesn’t work?

She can’t decide whether she needs a hand x-ray. Decides to go with the EMG and splint. Tells me to talk to the receptionist about how to get them. Thank goodness we’re done.

Definitely should have double-checked the time on the original appointment.

 

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