The surgery went well and my arm soon hurt much less. Things were going great, though I never regained feeling in the numb middle finger. Then on the morning of September 27, I woke up with my right hand horribly asleep. It took a good 10 minutes for the feeling to come back and when it did, my arm was hurting worse than it had in months. On a drive to the mountains with Darling Husband that day, I went nuts trying in vain to find a comfortable position for my right arm on the shotgun seat armrest, and had to put the shoulder strap under my arm because I couldn't bear to have it touch my shoulder.
A few days later, I went to see Dr H, who did the 2nd & 3rd surgeries.
Me: "My arm's killing me. What's going on?"Nothing makes me crazier than a doctor (and it's always a man) telling me I should see a shrink. I pointed out to Dr H that the pain is in my arm, not my head. Then he basically told me to suck it up and get lost.
Dr H: "Well, you'll have good days and bad days."
Me: "Why am I suddenly having bad days after three months of good days?
Dr H: "Hmmm... Maybe you should get psychological counseling."
So I called Dr A, the orthopedic specialist who removed the lipoma from my right shoulder a year ago. Her assistant told me to see Dr B, a neurosurgeon.
Dr B examined me in early November, but he wasn't sure surgery would be helpful. So he sent me to Dr C, a neurologist/physiatrist at the poetically titled Amputee Services of America. (There's nothing like seeing people missing half a leg--or two--to give one perspective.)
Dr C had me get MRIs of my right arm and shoulder. The one of my arm had him concerned, so last week he sent me to see Dr D, an arm/shoulder specialist at the busiest orthopedic practice ever. My appointment was for 1:00 and I didn't see Dr D till after 2:30. Good thing I brought a thick book.
Dr D: "Hmm... looks like edema on the humerus. Maybe the bone is infected."
Me: "Great. Now what?"
Dr D: "Go for some blood tests, then I want you to see....
[ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?]
...Dr A. She's a specialist in bone infections."So this afternoon I went back to Dr A. (She always wears the snazziest shoes. Today she had on cowboy boots of some exotic leather. Orthopedic surgery sure must pay.)
Dr A: "There's nothing I can do for you. I told you that last year."On the way to the elevator, I passed by Dr C's office. Amazing fact: HE HAS TIME TO SPEAK TO PATIENTS, EVEN WHEN THEY DON'T HAVE AN APPOINTMENT. So I stopped in and gave him the happy news that now he has to confer with Dr B.
Me: "What about my blood work?"
Dr A: "Looks fine. No infection."
Me: "I figured as much. But now what? My arm's still hurting."
Dr A: "You're never going to get back to the way you were before."
Me: "How about just the way I was on Sept. 26?"
Dr A: "Never happen. Maybe you should see a pain management specialist. Or go see Dr E, the neurosurgeon. He does amazing things with spinal implants that interfere with pain transmission to the brain."
Me: (No f*cking way!) "I have an autoimmune disorder. Implants mess me up."
Dr A: (shrugs) "Then Dr B and Dr C should settle this between them."
In the meantime, I'll suck it up and get lost.