Archived entries for

Trust Doctors

Recent comments have reminded me that hey! I haven’t written in a while. That’s largely due to the fact that no, I did not get an earlier appointment with the neurologist and yes, my headaches continued. Have continued. So, this is an entry about doctors. I think that in the next few weeks I am going to have way more than my fill of them. In the past 5 weeks I’ve seen 4 different ones. And since I have been taking very few photos this is pretty much another wall of text. I think this type of post is becoming my trademark.

First up: neurologist. My appointment was on the 22nd. He actually took more time to listen to me than I thought he might; most doctors seem to be in and out in under 10 minutes. After telling him a lot about my headache history and the four weeks immediately leading up to this appointment he advised me to not take any more over the counter medication such as Tylenol or Motrin or Aspirin. Even though I had told him that I was using those very rarely he wants me to not develop rebound headaches from taking too much medication. He gave me some different forms of triptans to take; triptans are a large group of abortive, meaning stopping the pain, migraine medications that are largely the same.

Since those only help with stopping the pain and not the actual onset of headache he gave me a prescription for amitriptyline to take daily. I have been on that for a week now and I don’t think it’s helping much. It definitely has yet to live up to his promise that it would make me “sleep like a baby” because I told him of the problems I’ve had with sleeping for the previous four weeks. If you think about that statement, babies and sleep are usually found in conjunction with the word NOT. So in that sense it has “helped” me. All of that to say that I have continued to wake multiple times in the night, every night, which I think is at least partly due to a headache. Some nights I actually do remember coming from a dream state, realizing that I am in the process of waking up, and HOLY COW my head is pounding and hurting. I have an MRI and MRA scheduled for October 7th and also need to have some blood work done before I see him again on October 19th. Basically, for now he is treating me for migraines but I think the jury is still out on whether or not I actually have migraines. I think it’s more likely to be a different headache disorder but that’s only from my Google-fu knowledge. I’m not a trained professional, right? With that, the next appointment.

Tuesday I had an appointment with an ophthalmologist. For one thing, nearly everything they did seemed to have an extra added cost to it. Specialist copay? Why that will be $30 instead of the regular $20 copay. Refraction test? Insurance might charge me $20 for it. Contact fitting (even though I have worn contacts for year and could put them in with my eyes closed if the process didn’t require my eyes to be open)? Another $40.

So all of that was rather annoying.

But then. Then came the part where this specialist tells me that the contact and glasses prescription that I have had for over 4 years is twice as strong as it needs to be. Let me state this again: for years I have needed contacts that were -6 or stronger. I think my last prescription was, let me try to read it, -6.5 for my right eye and -8 for my left. (Wait… that doesn’t sound right at all. I had SO much trouble getting the last person I saw to give me a prescription for something I could actually SEE with. I didn’t realize I ended up with the left eye being that much worse. Weird.) For those blessed with excellent vision, the more negative number the more nearsighted you are. Me? I honestly cannot see the large “E” on the eye charts without some sort of aid. It seriously looks like it could be an F or maybe some weird rectangle. I’ve also had issues with astigmatism that required me to wear special lenses to correct it. But then this guy tells me that I need a -5 for my right and -5.5 my left. At most; he thinks that my vision might be better than even that. And I have no need for astigmatism correction.

I have absolutely no idea what to think. I told him that for years the other people who examined my vision (mere optometrists instead of ophthalmologists) had determined that I needed that strong of a prescription. I asked him how it was possible for them to give me something that was so wrong. His answer? I believe he said that I was over correcting. Now that I think about it that really isn’t an explanation at all. Clearly, one or more trained medical professionals is at fault. Either this specialist is completely off his rocker or the multiple people I saw before him had it all wrong. Really wrong. I am not an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. I’m just the person in the chair who has to tell them if 1 or 2 looks better. This or this. Or when they all look the bloody same.

But this “error” can’t be the sole source of my headaches. If it is indeed any problem at all. This guy could be wrong. While the ophthalmologist determined that there is no swelling on my optic nerves, he also didn’t mention any other problems and said that I needed to keep my appointment for my MRI. But then can I trust what he says? It seems like so much that we are told to trust doctors, trust specialists. They’ve been trained. They’ve had years of schooling. They’re the “experts.” And yes, I realize that they are all still human. But for several of them (or maybe this new one) to make what I consider to be such a grievous error? I mean, what if this has a permanent affect on my vision? What if some of this is the cause of the headaches I’ve been plagued with? It makes me feel very unconformable. How am I supposed to know that they are doing the right thing or at the least, something that isn’t so blatantly wrong?

All in all I am not feeling like I should be very trusting of doctors. I know that may be slightly irrational but if what the ophthalmologist said is true it definitely sounds like the other professionals I saw are guilty of some form of malpractice. I am definitely not comfortable or confident after this incident.

Since I didn’t start this entry until late Tuesday and am finishing up semi late on Wednesday I can say that I made it through the day wearing the new, much weaker contacts. I don’t feel like my vision is any worse or better. It is extremely difficult for me right now to judge how harsh my headache is right now or even remotely determine what the cause is. I didn’t get a SUPER MASSIVE headache immediately after putting the contacts in or at any other time of day. Right now it kinda feels like it did when I accidentally switched the lenses for my left and right eye. I have a bunch of tests before my followup appointment and I see the ophthalmologist again in 3 weeks. So we’ll see.

One bad week becomes more

I wish I had something positive to say. Unfortunately, that last bad week has simply stretched on for two more and counting. Maybe I’m being over dramatic. I don’t know. It’s hard to say. I ended up seeing another doctor the Thursday after I posted. (I really shouldn’t let such large spans of time pass; references to days lose their meaning.) She immediately referred me to a neurologist, partly because I’d seen her before for migraines. Here’s the thing: the earliest appointment they could get me was for September 22, which was then nearly two and a half weeks away.

At the time I wasn’t worried. Surely nothing would last much longer than it already had, right? I mean, a week is a crazy long time to have a headache.

Wrong. I’ve not really felt well since. There were a couple of days that seemed OK-ish but my head never feels right anymore. On Saturday (after a rather blinding episode) I began to realize something. The last bad headache before that was the previous Wednesday. Before that? Sunday. I felt like I was grasping but that seemed like a pattern… 9/11, 9/8, 9/5… what had happened 9/2? Since I started writing all of this stuff down I went to look. Result: bad headache. The days in between? Tolerable. What then, happened on 8/31? Bad headache, with two tolerable days between. The pattern kind of breaks a little since 8/27 wasn’t the start of a bad headache but it had started later in the day on 8/26 than these others. So maybe this pattern holds for the whole period.

Am I sounding crazy yet? I don’t even know. But thinking that tomorrow could be one of those days makes me want to go crawl under a rock and stay there until Wednesday. Also, I haven’t been able to get my appointment moved up. I have to keep calling the office to check to see if they’ve had any cancellations and try to get to it before someone else does. Encouraging, yes?

I think it’s going to be another long week and a half.

I am really tired of being such a fount of negativity. It’s hard, though, because I just feel so drained. I haven’t been sleeping well and most days I just can’t move around much. But um, good things. My computer is doing very well. I haven’t been able to use it very much but I am glad to have a working computer again. After a small problem with Amazon not properly packaging a 1,000 page book I got my copy of The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson on Saturday. I finished it today. This is the first book in a planned series of 10 (I am just now realizing why 10 books is important…) and I am eager to see more of them. The world he built for this seems so real and believable, unlike some fantasy I’ve read. This is more effortless in comparison.

That’s all I have. Oh, I think my twitter plugin is broken. I should fix it sometime…


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