Let’s start with…well, how the hell does one describe THIS?
Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment.
Yes, I realize it seems that I start every other entry with that phrase, but I have a lot of doctors, and therefore there are a lot of appointments to be had half of the time. And I have to work to keep them all straight sometimes. It’s a good thing that three of them are in the same building, or there would be some trouble. Anyway, the usual happened—poke, prod, measurements, weight’s high, blood pressure’s…actually, THAT was alarmingly low that day. We’re keeping an eye on that.
I’ve mentioned once or twice that there’s a problem with my system—peripheral neuropathy, that thing where your body’s nerves are just sort of fried, misfire, and in general HURT A LOT even without provocation. The problem is, we couldn’t figure out why it was happening, because I’m not diabetic. I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis. I don’t have MS. I don’t even have your basic pernicious anemia, the B12 deficiency that would ALSO cause the problems I’ve been putting up with.
The last few months have been a game of Dr. House—work with a list of ideas, throw ideas at the list, throw as many medications as my constitution will allow at it, and see if it will work. Everything that we did that approach with had some problems with it—the annoying one, the time we thought it was shingles (excuse me, the time we HOPED it was shingles), the medication gave me the worst nosebleeds, and I had to drop it like a hot potato. It was unpleasant. What was MORE unpleasant was the fact that it took three instances of elimination process—dropping everything else I was taking at the time—to uncover it.
I don’t recommend that, especially if you’re on a crapton of head-meds. It will Fuck You Up if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Anyway, back at the doctor’s office, I explain the NEW annoying crap that my system’s been doing, plus the return of the stomach ulcer and the havoc it’s wrought on my system in the interim. As I’m explaining the new neuropathy stuff, the doctor explains that Ulcer 2: Electric Bugaloo is because—LUCKY ME—I have severe IBS, and anything that could irritate my gut will therefore come with a free dose of the It Gets Worse trope. In my case, that means the ibuprofen that I had to take after the time I got shot wrecked my stomach a bit more hardcore than it would have otherwise. All I really can do right now is avoid any stomach irritants until it heals.
Oh, and THAT’S the good news.
Next thing that happens, doc orders me to stretch out on that cold table thing and starts prodding at places
To my shock, EVERYTHING IS RAW. (Especially the ulcer zone.) The bad leg goes twitchy when he gets to it, just like it did at the neurologist’s office, which I explain when he jumps—it’s a fairly violent twitchy, like if everything in the leg was a joint and he hit all of it at once with one of those reflex-hammer-things (I have no idea what those things are called).
It’s at this point that the doctor informs me that now we KNOW what we’re dealing with, and that there is no way my insurance is going to cover these medications.
“What are they?”
“Gabapentin, Neurontin, that sort of thing.”
Fuck, I think. “That sounds like fibro meds.”
“If I were you, I’d think about filing for partial disability, or medical, both if you can manage it.”
Fuck, I think again. “What if I did and it didn’t work?”
“Keep at it, make’em tired of seeing you, and as SOON as you even get a MAYBE,” he says, “get back in here, because if we can’t get this managed, it WILL get worse.”
“Ain’t gotta tell me twice.”
So, what Friday boils down to is this: the neuropathy diagnosis was an UNDER-diagnosis with a dose of optimism, hoping that it WASN’T worse than that. What we’re actually dealing with is fibromyalgia, which is a step ABOVE your garden-variety neuropathy—for one, it doesn’t take the diabeetus to show up. Medicine knows jack shit about it, or what causes it, or why it hits who it hits. It doesn’t kill, but boy will it make your life hell.
But there is an upside: