Yesterday was my semi-annual (?) bi-annual (?) let’s go with “twice yearly” neurology appointment for multiple sclerosis. The visit in a nutshell?
- The doctor asked how I was doing. I said fine.
- The doctor read the sheet I filled out when I arrived for the appointment, on which I stated that I was having no problems.
- The doctor asked if I was having any MS issues. I said no.
- The doctor said I was in good shape.
And how many years did he have to go to med school?
OK. So maybe I’ve oversimplified. Left out a few things. Such as:
Sobriety testing. I walk in a straight line, touching my heel against my toe for each step. Also, I close my eyes and touch my nose.
Pain tolerance study. Also known as “We have ways of making your talk.” He drags a sharp object against the bottom of my bare feet to see if I cry out in agony.
Clown school curriculum. He hits various parts of my body with a rubber hammer. One of these days I’m thinking that because of my uber-strong reflexes, I might kick the guy (shades of the Three Stooges), but he’s pretty careful about standing back before he whacks.
Strength training. Like arm wrestling but for assorted muscles. He pushes and I push back. I’m thinking about enrolling in some intense boot camp training so I can amaze him by pushing back with super power force.
I guess I passed all the tests, because, as he said/I said, I’m in good shape.
(I’m actually very fond of my doctor. Because he’s so nice whether things are going well or not. And because he’s so knowledgeable when he needs to be.)
That is really just part one of my HEALTH ASSESSMENT which involves evaluating what a person can judge just by looking. But that’s like seeing a nice, red, blemish-free apple. Can you really say how the apple looks on the inside?
Hence, part two, the MRI of the brain and spine, which can reveal nasty white lesions, the hallmark of multiple sclerosis. I haven’t had one in two years, since I changed my medicine. Does that make it bi-annual? Semi-annual? Let’s just go with “once every two years.” He suggested doing it in the fall.
Ideally, part one, the general assessment and part two, the MRI, both show that a person is doing well. On the other hand, if they both say there’s trouble, well, that’s bad news but at least the two methods agree.
The ultimate frustration comes when a person knows he’s having symptoms but the MRI comes back clear. People start looking at him like he don’t know what he’s talking about. Like he’s full of hot air. Like it’s all in his head.
It’s not a good thing.