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Friday, January 25, 2013

Diagnostic Test From Hell

(If you must have politics, please scroll down)

Later this morning, I will be undergoing this test on both my left and right leg:

When a doctor says uncomfortable, the word uncomfortable actually means PAINFUL. I've had two previous EMG's — both of them subsequent to my car accident in 2005, when I was rear-ended at a four-way stop sign.  I know from personal experience how painful this diagnostic test is and how long the aftereffects persist!

The test is not only physically painful but also financially painful: from $2000-$4000. My health insurance policy has a $2500 deductible and 70/30 until an out-of-pocket $5000.

Depending upon the results of today's EMG, my neurologist will decide if an MRI or a change in my medication is warranted.

I recently took a blog break, albeit for a pleasant reason. Depending on how miserable I am after today's EMG, I may be forced to take yet another blog break. Tomorrow's Nincompoopery round-up post and the Sunday Humor post are queued up, however, and should auto-publish.


  1. I pray the experience passes quickly for you, and that the financial impact is minimal.

    Off Topic: Have you read The Wisdom of Psychopaths?

    Here's an excerpt from Scientific American:

    Wisdom from Psychopaths?


    What Psychopaths teach Us about How to Succeed

    I know you're really into this stuff. I'm normally not, but I found the subject fascinating, and the author, a psychologist, is also an awesome writer.

  2. My thoughts are with you aow. I have been through it.

  3. Hi AOW. Yes you're right they're painfull had a couple of EMG's for my right leg, the first examination went quite well , but the second one was just excruciating it felt like the nerve was on fire.I don't know what he hit with those needles but it sure hurt a lot.
    Hope you have the 'painless' experience.

  4. Doesn't sound pleasant. I pray it goes well, AOW, and is as painless as possible. And that ultimately, the results do not show anything too serious (or wallet breaking).


  5. Double bummer! Good luck, AOW.

  6. You know the procedure isn't going to be pleasant when, at one point, the doctor says, "Brace yourself. This is gonna hurt."

    And hurt it did!

    Still, I passed the test. The nerve damage affecting my left leg is obvious, but hasn't so far interfered too much with function. What is keeping me on my feet: that I grew up physically active. I've never been an athlete nor worked out per se, but I swam, rode my bike, gardened, did chores, etc. For a woman nearly 61 years old, I am very muscular, and the more muscle, the better one can sustain nerve damage such as I sustained in that car accident back in 2005.

    One new thing did emerge today....The neurologist is insisting that I neither shovel nor sweep snow. We expect 1-3 inches tonight. There is nobody on this street who will help me remove snow from the ramp or from the front porch because the kids in our neighborhood do no physical labor whatsoever. These kids don't even walk to the school bus stop! Instead, their parents bring them up this short side street in SUV's or in BMW's. What a flabby lot! Even if the are not fat.

  7. Silverfiddle,
    Thanks for the links!

    Coincidentally, I've been reading The Wisdom of Psychopaths. I got the book yesterday at the public library.

    I just finished reading for the second time Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test.

  8. Will,
    My neurologist now is SO MUCH BETTER than the first neurologist I had. That first one was a sadist! Really. He laughed when he inflicted EMG pain.

    Today's test wasn't pleasant, and the nerve hurts right now all the way up into the hip socket. I'll need to take some ibuprofen in a few minutes so as to be able to run today's radio show; both WC's father and mother-in-law died within a few days of each other, and the MIL's funeral is today.

    But that first EMG I had back in 2006 was hell on earth.

  9. I have no idea as to what today's procedure cost. I'll get the bill within a month. **sigh**

    But at least I don't have to shell our for an MRI right now. Maybe during the summer, but not right now.

  10. Hi AOW.

    It's good to hear it went more or less OK, i agree one doctor isn't the other.
    You know Doctors are the worst patients , if it were possible they should first experience what a patient feels.
    I hear you about the shoveling snow but i think we're a generation who doesn't care much what the doc says if we have no other choise wi'll do it anyway.
    If you how many times i get upset with this youth these days.Sometimes i feel like an the old generation invalids still surpasses these 'able bodied' ones, they're afraid of everything and everything is to heavy or to hard.
    God at 16 i was working 12 hours a day on my Summer job and they didn't pay you to sit around.

  11. Will,
    These no-muscle-tone kids today are in for a shock when they start aging. Good muscle tone, even if one has a layer of flab, makes a big positive difference in later years.

    I'd pay at least $25 for a kid to shovel the wheelchair ramp.

  12. Will,
    Even though my present neurologist is excellent, I must admit that my left leg is aching to beat the band.

    I think that I'll take a hot bath tonight and retire early.

    The snow is falling, and I will need to sweep the ramp early tomorrow morning so that Mr. AOW can board the paratransit van. **sigh**

  13. Yes i know the feeling AOW, for almost 3 years my leg was 'Aching and Numb' with muscle atrophy, then last year after that last hernia the pain and numbness disappeared, it was a blessing in disguise.
    Now i feel a constant pressure on that vertebrae and i know i have to take care what and how i lift, sooner or later it will give again i just pray God that it comes back well afterwards.
    I trust in God he's the ultimate physician.
    And yes you're right "Good muscle tone, even if one has a layer of flab, makes a big positive difference in later years."

  14. A hot bath last night helped, but I'm still achy. My left leg keeps threatening to cramp.

    Ibuprofen will be my best friend for a few days.

  15. I pray everything will turn out well for you.

    Sometimes the search is worse than the "cure."

    I hope you can keep blogging, but understand if you have to take a break.

    All the best!

  16. I'm glad this one wasn't as painful as the first one. I didn't realize you were still having problems from the wreck.

    The cost of tests etc. these days is terrible. Our insurance has a $5,000 deductible, trying to keep the premiums as low as possible. That isn't easy, considering my hubby's health problems and the fact that the premiums go up every year no matter what we do.

    I hope you feel better and I hope Ibuprophen will do the trick.

    Right Truth

  17. Joe,
    I do plan to keep blogging -- although I may blog less this weekend. I need to take hot baths and to rest my leg all stretched out in a bed.

    The after-effects of the EMG should subside by Monday. Tuesday -- back to work. **sigh**

  18. Debbie,
    The damage from the car accident is permanent. Soft tissue injuries are notoriously hard to deal with. The best medical advice at this point is to continue taking gabapentin and "keep moving."

    I dread to think what the cost of the EMG is! My neurologist is in network, so perhaps that status will keep the cost down.

    Warren has advised me to get Excedrin Migraine. If I'm still achy tomorrow, I'll get some when I make the weekly foray to the grocery store.

  19. Can't help you in the pain and misery department except to tell you what my own has taught me, which is that it gives me perspective.

    It's great when everything goes smooth and my health is tops and I'm having lots of fun, but after awhile I take that state of being for granted. Then I get hit with something nasty in one way or another and when it's finally over and life is good again, I'm grateful, and I appreciate being happy again a lot more than I did before.

    The bad times pass. If they didn't, we'd all commit suicide and go extinct. Don't dwell on the present, that'll drive you nuts. Look to the future.

  20. I'm just very glad that nothing too terrible showed up as a result of the test, AOW.

    I am sorry you had to go through such an ordeal, and very glad it's over.

    I don't think a talent for "resting" is really part of your nature, AOW, but please do it anyway -- for all our sakes as well as your own.

    Be of good cheer -- no matter what. ;-)


  21. I just read Dutton's article on the beneficent uses of psychopathy.

    FIRST, I wish it had been written in English. The guy might be a psychologist connected to Magdalen College, Oxford, but the "hip," mod" colloquial style he uses is irritating -- and puzzling -- to me. I may not be British, but I know ENGLISH through and through, and this ain't quite it.

    SESCOND, I 'got the message' and found it both amusing and disconcerting. Academicians and theoreticians always seem to have about them a smug aura of self-assurance -- an unflappable belief that their findings, perceptions and their terminology are so far above anything the rest of us could possibly have discerned for ourselves that it rarely fails to irk and alienate -- at least to a certain extent.

    I have always known that it takes a high degree of fanatacism to achieve success on almost any level above the mundane. Laser-like focus and ruthless determination to get the job done -- whatever the job may be -- are certainly prerequisites to mastering an art or achieving expertise.

    Everyone has heard that "genius is akin to madness." Of course it is, but so what?

    Pathology isn't really pathology unless and until it results in active harm to others.

    I found it oddly reassuring to learn that according to terms set down by this article I probably am a psychopath, myself. };-)>

    So many of us are it's probably quite normal.

  22. By Dutton's definition ALL true artists, writers, inventors and performers, politicians and other prominent public figures are in fact psychopaths.

    Does that see right to you?

  23. FT,
    I don't agree with all that Dutton has stated. But both he and Jon Ronson are highlighting that psychiatry isn't an exact science.

    How often have we heard that so and so is no longer dangerous and is now ready to live in society only to learn quite shortly that so and so is a danger to others.

    Are geniuses a little mad? Probably by the cookie-cutter definition that many in society adhere to.

    Soon, DSM-V will be released. Every edition of the DSM is fatter and fatter. We'll all be diagnosed -- if not by the state, then by the psychiatric profession. Get ready for over-diagnosis and misdiagnosis!

    As far as I've been able to discern, Nancy Lanza, the mother of the Newtown murderer, was following psychiatrists' advice. THAT turned out to have a terrible outcome, IMO.

    I found it oddly reassuring to learn that according to terms set down by this article I probably am a psychopath, myself.

    I haven't taken the test yet. But I think that Dutton makes the point that few of us would pass the test and be declared normal if a psychiatrist examined us.

    One of my concerns: school psychologists, who just LOVE to "diagnose."

  24. BUMMER!

    Now I've come down with a stomach virus. Fortunately, I'm not puking. Yet.

    Probably picked up this virus in the neurologist's office, which was packed on Friday (probably to make up for snow day appointments earlier in the week).

  25. Good luck with your legs. Hope you will improve.


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