I see the MDS specialist the first week of April, so it seemed like a good idea to ask for a Neuropathy test before I see him. When I first saw my Neurologist, it was at the suggestion of my Orthopedist, who had concluded that my super labored walking was not caused by lumbar disk pressure.
He sent me to Lakeshore to have the Nerve Conduction Velocity Test, which uses patches like those they stick on the chest to check for heart problems. They pass an electric current and check to see how long it takes the message to register between the patches. It’s uncomfortable at the time, but not really too bad. The other test is called Electromyography. That’s the one where they poke electrodes the size of needles in your muscles, and it is supposed to show how well the muscles respond when the nerve is stimulated. That test is not at all comfortable. I actually had little pin prick size blood spots all over my legs when that one was over.
Anyway, the results showed definite Axonal Peripheral Neuropathy, mostly in my right leg. Because I was having trouble walking, and the test order came as a result of my Ortho dealing with my back and legs, he did not order the test to be done on my arms as well.
My Neuro was not at all happy that he did not have results for my arms as well as my legs, but he proceeded with the info he had, as my insurance would not likely have paid for a repeat test so soon.
So, I talked to his nurse a couple of days ago, and I’m scheduled to have the complete PN test battery Monday, at my “suggestion” – translate that as strong urging. This test is very uncomfortable, but it seems to me I need to get any tests done now, not wait and “waste” the visit with this very hard to see Head of Neurology at UAB.
I’m still experimenting with any variables I can think of. so, for the last four days I have not used the TAP dental device, which is to control my mild Sleep Apnea. The mouth tics started about the same time I started using the TAP, and I’m trying to be sure that this off and on again mouth twitching I’ve been doing is not being aggravated by the mouthpiece. Surprisingly, I’m still sleeping 7 or 8 hours a night, even without it. I think it did break me of the mouth breathing habit, which may be the cause of the relaxed jaw that was allowing my throat to close up during sleep.
I have noticed a definite correlation between the mouth twitches or tics and how stressed or tired I am. So they get worse as the day goes on. If I stop to think about them, I can stop them momentarily, but it’s as if my mouth is determined to move, no matter what I do, and it soon starts back up again.
I figure I’ll make sure Monday that there aren’t any other tests I should have done, or repeat, before seeing Dr. Watts at UAB. I have to call his office to change my insurance information to show that Medicare is my Primary insurance now, as this is the month I turn 65. So I will talk to his nurse and see if they suggest any other tests. I have learned to be proactive in such situations. It amazes me that doctor’s offices don’t initiate this kind of pre-visit planning, but they don’t.
By way of contrast, when we made an appointment with a financial counselor to help us with investing my inheritance, we received a huge packet of papers to fill out and a long list of documents to bring with us for our first meeting. That’s the way it should be with doctors, in my opinion.
So, I will do what I can to document everything and have everything ready for this crucial visit. I can’t even talk to someone about Long Term Care insurance, or anything insurance related, until I have a diagnosis. No insurance company in their right mind would take me on as a customer right now.
Tax Time is looming, and that’s one thing I am dreading doing, but I can’t put it off much longer. Oh, did you know that people who file an extension will NOT receive this stimulus package $300 thingy they all keep talking about? I have always filed on time, but I know some people habitually delay it, and might need to know that.
I continue to work to get our inventory of plush lovies online, and we have managed to help several families get replacements for lost toys lately, which is extremely satisfying. I’m also helping to beta test a new Mood community on Patients Like Me, and finding the charting of my own moods to be interesting.
I may be twitching, but I am in a good mood today, and that’s a great way to end this post.