The High School Reunion Nightmare
So my pain specialist was concerned about nerve damage from all of my back problems. Accordingly he ordered an EMG, which stands for Electromyography. It is a test that evaluates and records the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles. They achieve this by sticking needles in specific locations and sending an electrical pulse through it to see how the nerves are working. It is not a pleasant test, not only being poked constantly by needles but the electrical pulse is quite strong. It makes your muscles jump and can be quite painful. It is not my idea of a Friday night out, but knowing whether I was crushing my nerves seemed important.
So we found a doctor to perform this test on my legs to see if my screwy back was ruining more than my career as a professional rock climber. I steeled myself for the experience as I sat on that ever uncomfortable doctors table facing a man that took one look at me and said, “I thought your name looked familiar, we went to high school together.” Awkward! Talk about the high school reunion from hell, “Hey, I remember you from that awkward phase during puberty. Now strip and hop into this skimpy robe so I can poke you from your spine to your toes with needles. It will be great!”
Of all my medical horrors, something like this never crossed my worried mind. Like most people, I have experienced the showing up to school in my underwear dream and my mind just couldn’t resist drawing a correlation. Part of me was laughing hysterically, while the other part was pouting and petulantly telling me to stop laughing ‘cause it wasn’t funny! My split personalities aside, I was pretty much stuck.
So, strip I did, and together we delved into hours of poking and prying. At first we spoke of school, because although his face looked familiar I really didn’t remember him. I never pictured myself wandering through the past with someone from my high school while in my skivvies as he needled his way down my body. Eventually the pain got to me and I grew quiet. So he turned the conversation to questions about my many strange symptoms and in my weakened state the deluge of information just jumped out of my mouth. Over an hour later he left the room to check the results. My nerves were normal, great, the story of my life, all the symptoms for a diagnosis, but a negative test result.
However, he didn’t stop there, which surprised me. He said that instead of this negative result being a relief it actually concerned him. I had a concerned doctor? I should run out and buy a lottery ticket! In fact, my listed symptoms in addition to all the information he pulled out of me during his needle expedition led him to believe that they all made a very strong indication for MS.
He wants to send me to a neurologist, who is actually the father of another boy from high school. This just keeps getting stranger. Now I’m off to another neurologist, ugh. I’ve had terrible luck with neurologists they are often an unpleasant lot who want a nice tumor or disease to treat, leave all medical mysteries at the door. This specialty skipped the class on bed side manner. My old classmate assured me he was not your average neurologist; he would be kind and interested in finding an answer. I’m not going to hold my breath. I might hope a little, but that is a dangerous past time.