Friday, December 30, 2011

The man who saved my life.

FINALLY! November 28th I had my appointment with the neurologist. We'll call him Dr. K. My appointment was for 8am and I had worked the night before so I figured I would go straight there from work, have maybe a 30-45 minute appointment, be home by 10 at the latest to sleep and be back at work that night. Boy was I wrong.

Prior to going to see this neurologist, I had done as any nurse would and completed extensive research on his background (about as extensive as you can get on google and yelp I guess). He specialized in migraines and epilepsy, had been a professor and won numerous awards for not only his work but for being in general a great doctor. Awards given to him by both peers and patient reviews. He also worked on an inpatient ethics committee which very few doctors do so that added points in my book.

He started my exam with the general interview, going through each neurological system and the associated symptoms I was having. When I started talking about my vision problems, and in particular, vision loss he became very alert and immediately stopped the questioning to exam me. He took my blood pressure MANUALLY which impressed me immensely...a doctor, who knows how to take a manual blood pressure? Almost unheard of! (MAYBE a cardiologist, but a neurologist? Definitely not!) Anyways my blood pressure was fine :-) and he proceeded to do an eye exam. At this point he became very "poker-faceish" while asking me if I could take my contacts out so he could see better. I did and he continued looking in my eyes for what seemed like a very long time. Eventually he finished and told me he needed to go make a quick phone call...umm, ok then.

When he returned he sat back at his desk and seemed pretty somber. He told me he had seen papilledema behind my eyes which is swelling of the optic nerves and/or optic discs. Thanks to my knowledge of "Retinopathy of Prematurity" (ROP) I knew that any swelling in that area was not usually a good thing and could lead to blindness. He told me the most common cause of this swelling is something called a pseudotumor which is when the pressure inside your head increases for no obvious reason...aka the patient has symptoms of a tumor but no actual tumor is present, however he also told me that this is more common in obese women and I was not considered obese (oh good).

He went on to tell me that the phone call he made was with a neuro-opthamologist at Washington Hospital Center and also to radiology to schedule me for an MRI that afternoon. Now I know how the system works, and to get me an appointment with a specialist, immediately, and an MRI for that afternoon...we can't get inpatients to see specialists and have tests that quickly so I knew he was pulling strings for me because he was worried, and I appreciated it, I really did, and do, but at the time I just wanted to go home to bed.

Wow, these get long fast, I'll get back to Dr. K after my day of appointments.

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