No Pain.. No Gain

Back in March of 2012 I started having this pain my left shoulder.  After a couple of months I mentioned it to my surgeon who said he would send me to the Pain Management Clinic at Ft. Belvoir.  So several months later I finally get in to see them.  This doctor tells me that it is either a torn rotatory cuff or something called Frozen Shoulder.  He gives me pain meds and tells me to go have a MRI and come back.  Now if you have any understanding of the Military Medical workings then you know NOTHING happens quickly.  So fast forward a few more months (meanwhile pain in the shoulder getting progressively worse) I go back to see that doctor who tells me the rotatory cuff is fine and that he’s sure it’s frozen shoulder.  He wants me to do some exercises and come back in 3 months and he’ll make a decision on whether or not they will do surgery to fix it.  Now the surgery he talked about isn’t a surgery surgery, it’s just they put you under and then manually  move the arm to break up the scar tissue and adhesion.  I know, sounds fun right?  So I go back 3 months later and he goes “Okay, my decision is to send you over to Ortho”.  Great!  I go see Ortho and he tells me surgery is not an option.  So there I am, with this arm that I can’t hardly use anymore and the pain is getting worse and now my hand is numb to the point of severe pain and there’s nothing anyone wants to do.

Now fast forward to about 7 months ago.  I started having more trouble with my tummy and I go see my surgeon because we have to watch and make sure I haven’t developed any ulcers.  He is talking to me telling me he wants to do an Upper GI scope and notices that I’m constantly shaking my left hand and rubbing it.  He asks me what’s going on with it.  I tell him the whole story and he literally goes.. “Frozen Shoulder, WTF is that?  Oh no.. your going to get into Pain Mgmt here at Walter Reed.  They’ve just given you some BS answer and pushed you off.  You have nerve damage, I can see it and I don’t even need an MRI to tell me you do”.. So we fast forward several more appointments and another MRI and we discover that I do have Frozen Shoulder BUT I also have a bulging disc in my neck.  My surgeon is like “YES!!! See I told you you had nerve damage!”.  They schedule me for a Nerve Conduction Study.  All of what I’ve told you has led up to this test!  It amazes me that in 2013 they don’t’ have some diagnostic machine that you can just stand in or lay in and it tell you exactly what is wrong, and even fix it.  No.. they take someone who is in pain and do a test on them that causes them more pain!

Yesterday I had my NCS and was told ahead of time that it is painful so I was kinda of prepared.  I have used a tens unit before so I figured it would be something similar to that, and it was just a hundred times more so.  First they take a pen and mark spots all over your arm/hand (or where ever your study is) and then they put these metal clips on your finger and a grounding disc and they put this machine on the marks and start zapping you!  Zap.. nice and easy.. hey, that’s not bad I can do this.. ZAp… okay.. I felt that one a little more, but I’m tough.. I can do this.. ZAP… hey now.. that kinda hurt a little.. be strong Shanny.. you can do this.. you’ve had babies.. you can do anything.  ZAP ZAP ZAP.. SHIT… breath.. breath.. your on a beach your on a beach your on a beach.. ZAP ZAPZAPZAPZAPZAPZAP..  HOLY MOTHER OF GOD I’M GOING TO PUNCH YOU IF YOU ZAP ME AGAIN..ZAPZAPZAP….. ooowwwwww.. I want my mommy..   Now I get to endure this for an hour and a half… in a hundred different spots.  They are constantly measuring and moving and zapping new nerves..  Each time getting abnormal results.  Then I hear the doctor say “Lets check the right side and compare the results”… WHAT??? NO.. LETS NOT AND SAY WE DID… So they start in on the right side.. ZAP ZAP ZAP.. now the right side didn’t hurt as badly.. that would be because there’s NO DAMAGE on that side.. that’s where that whole thing I mentioned about comes in.. ya know.. when your already in pain why do the test they do just give you more pain?

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Okay so they finish with this part of the test and get ready to start with the needle portion of the test… wonderful!  She mentioned that it’s an acupuncture needle and since I’ve had acupuncture before and it didn’t hurt I had hoped this part of the test wouldn’t hurt either.. wrong.. so wrong.. how can one person be so wrong?  Yeah.. the needle doesn’t hurt when they put it in.. but that needle is connected to a wire that is connected to the electrocution machine..ZAP ZAP ZAP!!! OH MY GOD.. FOR ALL THAT IS HOLY IN THE WORLD.. DO NOT PUSH THAT BUTTON AGAIN.. ZAP ZAP ZAP.. STOP IT YOU FOUL WOMAN.. ZAP ZAP ZAP… Now I am trying very hard to not cry.. to not look like a big baby.. to prove I’m a tough woman.. The dr doing the test is telling.. “It’s okay.. cuss if you have too, we’ve heard it all”.. oh no honey.. you haven’t heard what’s going through my brain at the moment!

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And now we’re finished.. whew.. only a couple of tears escaped.. I’m strong.. I’m going to get up and go treat myself to a coffee when I hear one of the techs go “Oh no.. I hope I didn’t just lose everything” as she’s messing with the machine that measured all the results.. I looked at the dr and said “I truly hope she didn’t because I’m not doing this again!”.. she says.. “don’t worry.. I wouldn’t’ make you do it again”…

A few moment later I am in line at Dunkin Donuts to get me a large decaf coffee w/ hazelnut creamer… I get home.. I take a pain pill and I die on the couch!  Now I get to wait and see what the next painful step is going to be in trying to get use of my arm again…

 

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