Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Back from the Brink, Part 4...that can't be good?

Just to get you up to speed in this series of post:

Part 1 - I have had headaches, tiredness, and shortness of breath for a couple of months. I go to the doctor.

Part 2 - My doctor
says I have sleep apnea. I disagree. He refers me to a cardiologist, a neurologist, and for a sleep study.

Part 3 - I go to the cardiologist. I am terrorized by a scary woman named Helga. We determine that there is nothing wrong with my heart.

If you want any more detail than that, read the postings.

Today, we go see my neurologist. Of all the doctor visits that I went to during this whole unseemly ordeal, this is the one that I dreaded the most. Based on my years of watching M*A*S*H and House, I was pretty sure my doctor was wrong about the Sleep Apnea. Given that just before I got sick, I had completed a 2 day, 150 mile bike ride, I was pretty sure that there wasn't anything wrong with my heart. But, as to what might be going on inside my head, I have no idea.

Those of you who know me, didn't need a neurologist to tell you that I had no idea what was going on inside of my head.

So, Trish and I are sitting in the exam room, when someone I assume to be the doctor's son walked in. This guy looked to be all of 19 years old. I wanted to ask him, "Did you come to work with your Daddy today? You're such a big boy. Yes, you are!" But I didn't.

He introduced himself as the neurologist. I think I actually laughed out loud. I've got ties older than this guy, and he's going to tell me if there's anything wrong inside my head. I don't think so, but Trish made me stay.

I describe my symptoms, and the first thing he says is that it sounds like I have sleep apnea. I attempt to leave again, but again, Tris makes me stay. I informed him that my regular doctor, (as opposed to my irregular doctor), has already scheduled me for a sleep study. In the mean time, the neurologist wants me to have an MRI.

This immediately causes me a great deal of anxiety. If I've learned nothing from watching years of House reruns, aside from the fact that both my doctor and my neurologist are wrong about me having sleep apnea, it is that the last place you want to go, is into that big, tube shaped MRI machine. It seems like every time House puts someone in there, they have some sort of attack, or seizure, or just flat out die. Trish and I have dubbed it the "Death Machine". I think it's were House sends the patients that he can't diagnose, and he just wants to get them out of his hair. But, once again, Trish forces me to go get the MRI a couple of days later.

About two weeks later, we return to the neurologist office to discuss the results of the MRI, along with the results of the sleep study, that has been done as well. I'll talk about that experience in my next post. The neurologist says that, as he expected, the MRI showed nothing abnormal. Then he said the strangest thing.

"The MRI did show a white spot on your brain, but it's not anything to worry about."

Remember a couple of post ago, when I talked about certain phrases, that when uttered by a doctor, tend to get your attention very quickly. In that post, I used the phrase "BRAIN TUMOR" as a example. Well, you can add the phrase "WHITE SPOT ON YOUR BRAIN" to that list as well.

"What the hell do you mean, there's a white spot on my brain?"

"
Just what I said. There's a small white spot on your brain, but it's nothing that I'd be concerned about."

"Well sure, your not worried about it. It's not your brain. To tell you the truth, I'm deeply concerned about it."

This little conversation did bring one thing to light that I had never considered before. There is almost no sentence, in which you can use the phrase "on my brain", and it be a good thing. No matter how nice a subject is, when you add the phrase "on my brain", there's almost no way that it's going to work out well for you.

"The flowers were in full bloom, on my brain." Nope, that's no good.

"We found lots of sea shells today, on my brain." No, you don't want that.

"The smell of jasmine filled the air, on my brain." Can't see how that is going to help you.

The spot is actually described as, and I quote from the Imaging Specialist's, (I think, a made up title), report:

"Single posterior right frontal deep white matter 5mm region of T2 prolongation."

Wow! I have absolutely no idea what any of that means, but that can't be good, can it?

Below, is one of the actual MRI scans. In it, you can actually see the white spot.



This scan is important for two reasons.

One.....despite popular opinion, especially that of my 9 year old, it does confirm that I do, in fact, have a brain. How many of you out there can actually prove that you have a brain? So I got that going for me.

And two.....I don't care what anyone says, I am a handsome man, inside and out.

The neurologist went on to say that almost anyone over the age of twenty, is going to have one or two of these white spots, on their brain. Sorry to break that little peace of news to you.

After reviewing the results of the sleep study, the doctor still felt that my problem was a lack of sleep. I think you know where this is leading.

I get to take legal, safe, doctor prescribed drugs!

I'm not too concerned about it, unless they start doing urinalysis test before next year's Hotter-n-Hell.

Next post, the ordeal of a sleep study.

Peace out.....Nearly Famous Fred

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