On the way to see my beloved neurologist last week I was thinking about my decision in December 2007 to use a walking stick- not an easy one to say the least.
For quite some time I had been tripping over nothing- though I never thought too much about it. I was branded a klutz at a very young age and always chocked it up the tendency to a flawed gene I had inherited. So when concerned family members asked me if I had considered using a cane- I defensively claimed that if I needed a stick, my doctor would certainly have recommended it. And thus the phantom obstacles continued to block my path, with many a bloody knee and an embarrassed moment on NYC subway system. I glossed over the absurdity of this all-to-frequent occurrence with a bit of performance art. Brief moments of flight followed by random explanations announced to everyone and no one. Look that sidewalk is uneven! It’s these shoes! These practical rubber soled shoes tripped me.
And so it went unchecked until December of 2007 when the dizziness arrived, an unwelcome guest who would never get the hint. What I hoped would be temporary became a new way of life. It was my husband’s inquiry that made me realize I would need to reconsider what I’ve assigned as my neurologist’s responsibility. Keith’s question has more power than my original family and it forced me to realize that my life requires another “foot” on the ground- a tripod if you will to help me navigate the concrete jungle as well as the bumpy green suburbs.
This need was reinforced when I visited with the vestibular neurologist who when testing my stability marveled that I would consider walking without a stick. Placing his own stick near his desk reminding me of Joe Gideon’s exam as the doctor and patient both had cigarettes hanging off their lips hacking away during his physical— only less ironic. (see All That Jazz)
So, where was I? Oh yes- my doctor’s visit. After the routine performance of move this, touch this, walk like this, tell me this- my Dr. said,
“What are you using a cane for?”
“To compensate for my foot drop” I say.
“Well foot-drop doesn’t show in your reflex test or in your walking test.” he said
“But it does show when I’m kissing the sidewalk!” I hadn’t thought quickly enough to say.
So I’m leaving his office wondering why my Dr. would question my decision – one that was very difficult to make- and serves an important purpose in my life. Could he have said “Tell me, why have you decided to use a walking stick?”
I know, I know. Dr.s treat diseases and symptoms while nurses treat people. How is it that they can’t be housed in one person? Is there is no time to teach it in those advanced degrees? And to think that I thought that my Dr. would have recommended it, if he felt I needed it. In addition to having this disease, and living with the constant symptoms and their physical/emotional effect- I have to be my own advocate. Any large company would view that role as a conflict of interests.
Hmmmh. I miss Linda Morgante more than ever.
I love your humor through it all!
“Look that sidewalk is uneven! Its these shoes! These practical rubber soled shoes tripped me.”
WOW… those were actually excuses??!! I was SO convinced those WERE my reasons!!
meanwhile… everybody couldn’t understand why they weren’t also tripping & slipping on that newly waxed floors with their rubber soles at my job!!
Glad you’re feeling “empowerment”!!!
“How is it that they can’t be housed in one person? Is there is no time to teach it in those advanced degrees?”
They do, but you have to find a good DDO instead of an MD. It requires many hours of education beyond the MD, and is the degree our wonderful family physician in Colorado had. He was science based as all get out, but also used more touchy-feely diagnosis techniques – he would touch your hand or look at the way you were holding yourself. I don’t know how to really describe it. If one of us had shown up unexpectedly with a walking stick, his question would have been, “what’s that about?” Of course, Dr. Hughes was a general practitioner, not a fancy specialist.
BTW – Heather really fought using her cane when she had the hip replacement a couple of years ago, even after we found a really cool designer job for her to use. I keep it in the car just in case she ever needs it again. She even had a collapsible model when we went to Hawaii three years ago.
And, yes, I know, I’m doing the guy thing and trying to fix things that you don’t want fixed. Just whack me about the head and shoulders a couple of times with the old walking stick, and I’ll stop.
You know what’s best for you. In yoga we always talk about the teacher inside of you. Listen to her.
Thank Nadja! I always appreciate your pearls of wisdom…
Oops. Meant to type “D.O.”, not “DDO”.
LMAO…! “But it does show when I’m kissing the sidewalk!”
Excellent point on serving the patient not the disease as well.
This blog can answer the questions surrounding that new doctorate degree announced “Doctor of Nursing”…people were saying, umm, isn’t it the point to no longer be considered a nurse? Umm, isn’t it obvious that a doctor isn’t as considerate as a nurse?!
check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Nursing_Science
Peace my leader – you empower us all
Thanks for reading Rachel… and for the link. A point well made. Oh… and that leader comment hits me in the ego. Thanks woman! 🙂
The neurologists I have met were dreadful.
Not good at talking to people sad really after all that training.