MRI results!

I finally got an MRI two weeks ago. It was done at the medical school attached to the hospital, because the MRI dept were having some technical difficulties with their machine. It meant that instead of having nice nurses talking me through it all and chattering away merrily, I had two PhD students who mostly talked to my partner about his Physics degree, and who spoke in such mumbled tones through the microphone that I couldn’t understand a word they were saying! (I honestly don’t know which one it was talking really, and considering one was male and one was female, and they were from different continents, that’s saying something!!)

It was pretty OK, other than the fact they didn’t offer me a blanket to keep warm, didn’t explain what was going on, and had to re-scan three times (I think) because I moved. I moved because when you put a person with an injury in a painful position, they tend to move! Especially if they have cramp-inducing conditions such as HMS! Bad patient relations. They didn’t even tell me their names. Have they not heard of #hellomynameis? Silly people! This is what happens when non-patient-relation people are put with patients without supervision. I get that they’re students, but if I didn’t know what it was going to be like, if I was claustrophobic, if I had no idea why the machine keeps making quite scary alarm noises – then I’d have been terrified! They didn’t ask me at all if I was scared, and they knew it was my first time in an MRI machine. I wasn’t that impressed all told. The problem is, I can’t very well write to the PALS service because these guys aren’t hospital employees, and aren’t covered by it.

I got the results back on Tuesday. My GP said “We have a positive result.” Which I took to mean there was something there on the scan. She meant positive, like “good”. All my tendons are fine, no fractures, no cartilage damage, no membrane damage. Apparently there’s a small effusion (liquid pool) in my knee, but that’s totally normal and shows up on anyone. I did point out that the day they scanned, I hadn’t moved a lot in order to minimise discomfort in the scanner, so it didn’t hurt a lot that day anyway. So the verdict is… there’s nothing really wrong with my knee. (Or if there is something wrong, it’s soft tissue).

That’s not as comforting as it should be. It means I’m being sent back to physio *again* only this time, it’s with a new physio. One I will probably have to teach about HMS because they won’t have heard of it… even though I alerted the triage person to it when I called up for the referral. I’d rather there was something actually wrong almost, because then I would feel vindicated in the fact I have been totally unable to do pretty much anything for the past two months. I’ve been relying on the crutches so much I have bruises on my palms, damage to my back and shoulders and a fairly manky looking scab on my knuckle. Sometimes having a rare condition is an absolute pain in the ass. I get so tired of constantly having to explain it’s not like arthritis, it’s not “just being bendy” and it’s definitely not me faking it. I hope and pray that this physio magically turns out to be one of those awesome NHS employees that hide away in corners, diligently doing their job very well and hiding from all the ridiculous bureaucracy. If she’s like my first physio who did friction massages on  the tendons inside my shoulder. Yep, he popped my shoulder partially out of it’s socket, and rubbed the internal tendons with his thumb. It’s one of the most painful things I’d ever experienced, up until this knee injury.

I suppose I should be glad that my knee is fixable. I’m not going to be stuck this way forever. But then I was told there was a 6 week wait for physiotherapy, which made me want to just sit on the floor and cry. I was going to be left for 6 more weeks sat in this state, in pain and not really knowing why?! I was angry, frustrated and tired. And worse than all that, I knew that the injury was all my fault in the first place. I knew the weather was bad, I heard the lightning when I was leaving, and I didn’t turn back.

Thankfully, someone in the heavens seems to like me, and the physio called me up to “fill up her calendar”. My first appointment is tomorrow afternoon. She’d better not break me, else I’ll make her carry me home.

I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff to do in the morning, including picking up £25 of shopping centre vouchers I won off the City Council for completing a survey about my opinions on additional licensing for Houses of Multiple Occupancy. (Should landlords who buy up cheap houses and convert them into student lettings pay a premium rate of council tax, basically.) If I get a job, that money might get spent on fun things. If not, then it’ll get spent on food. If I do a lot, then my leg will hurt and she’ll see what the damage is! That’s my plan anyway. I’m not going to do anything excessive, just a small half hour walk to the train station. I’ll bus it back like a good disabled girl! I’ll even use my crutches to minimise the damage!

The house move was a success too. We’re almost completely unpacked. My partner, bless him, moved nearly everything by hand, with the aid of an awesome friend of ours.

Oh, and I modelled for a trainee hairdresser and now have a (and I quote) “Sexy swinging A-line bob”. I shall try to put up some photos later.

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I have an MRI appointment!!!!!

The title kinda gives it away, huh? I’ve got an appointment for an MRI on my knee , 2pm on 19th September. That makes it nearly 2 months since the initial “incident” or “accident” or “trauma” or whatever they want to call it. It crosses my mind that if I didn’t have good friends and an outstanding partner to help me, I’d have run out of food in the first week. I’d really struggle to have done the shopping since it took 6 weeks before I got any real painkillers. 

I hope that nobody gets stuck like that, and that everyone has friends and neighbours that would help them out if they were stuck in that situation.

I’m always up for helping neighbours, even if I barely know them, because I’d like to think they’d do the same for me. My friends say it’s because I come from a village (even if it’s a village inside a big city) and everyone knew each other, so everyone helped. I think it’s because I’m fundamentally nice.

Anyway, now I have an appointment on the horizon (even if it’s only days before the interview!!) and I can more or less walk without crutches if I’m careful for the PhD interview (I hope!). If all else fails, by then I should hopefully know what I’ve done. I’m planning on submitting my PhD application tomorrow. 

The side effects of the tramadol have calmed down a bit, still feel a bit dizzy, and poor temperature control, but it’s ok so long as I don’t have to leave the house!

Pain medication that works!

So, I went back to my GP, and she actually apologised for how messed around I must feel, being bumped from one service to another and struggling to get my pain recognised.

I’ve been given Tramadol to deal with the injury pain, but I’m taking very little of it. The type of injury I have mostly hurts in the evening and at night (gets worse with activity basically), so I’m only taking it with dinner and before bed. Paracetamol will cover me for the rest of the day. 

I’ve also been suffering with fibromyalgia flares because I can’t do the physio I normally do to keep it all under control. Generally, my fibro is quite mild, but it grabs onto any little “over-tense” or sore muscle and will make it into agony. As it is, I can’t do my physio which is causing my shoulders to sublux in my sleep again, and causing a lot of general physical tension from over-work. As such my fibro’s going crazy and everything is exhausted and hurt. To treat this, I’ve been put on low dose amitriptyline which is a low dose tricyclic antidepressant. In low doses it’s been proven to be advantageous for people with neuralgic pain such as fibro’ as well as insomnia.

The two medications together aren’t ideal, but I’m taking them under supervision of my GP, and she says I should be fine. I slept properly for the first time in 6 weeks last night, which is amazing. I woke after 2 hours feeling totally refreshed and wonderful, but with a shoulder that totally wasn’t in it’s socket – so I put it back in and fell asleep again.

My plan is to get up whenever my body wants me to tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll feel a bit less worn out generally. I plan to list a lot of eBay stuff, do some speculative job phonecalls (because the job centre told me to – even though it won’t get me the kind of job I’m after!) and polish off my PhD application.

One of the blogs I read mentioned the use of music for pain management. I’ve put together a playlist on Grooveshark of all the songs I liked when I was a teenager, before my legs fell apart on me, and I’m going to try listening to that and see what happens. I’m mostly a wuss-rock kinda girl.

Hopefully once I get used to the meds, my body will learn how to regulate temperature a bit better and I’ll be less of a sweaty betty and more inclined to blog.

The verdict…

The problem with this service seems to be actually getting an appointment. Once that was done, the NEMS team were very kind.
I was driven in the ambulance (minibus) to the out of hours doctors. The driver was very friendly, the ride was quick. When I arrived, the driver booked me in. It was a very cold building, and be t time (because it probably will happen again) I shall take a jumper.
I will admit to having a slight anxiety flare at the piles of grey disposable bowls everywhere for patients as it set off my emetophobia a bit, but I sat far from anyone else and buried my nose in news articles.
Anyway, I was seen my the emergency GP within 10 mins. He did active and passive motion tests, tested the swelling in my knee, and he gave me a provisional probable diagnosis of frayed cartilage.
As such, I must not under any circumstances compress the joint. No tubigrip, no lying on it.
The GP has told me to take a full dose of zapain, and go in tomorrow to my normal GP asking for better pain relief, and to think about taking amitriptyline to aid with my fibro symptoms. It could be worthwhile as these injuries keep triggering more fibro pain and exhaustion. I will think about it in the morning.
The emergency GP is going to fax all his notes to my GP and ask them to chase up the MRI for me, because this needs treatment quite soon. Not just because of the pain levels, but also to prevent further damage.
The pain is still there, but the anxiety is reduced a bit. The emergency GP explained things a lot better and discussed medications with me. We discussed gabapentin and decided it wasn’t the way to go.

Here’s hoping I get some proper painkillers tomorrow. Or at least they cut my leg off. Preferrably the first one… You don’t get one legged hobbits.

I am going to have some tea, rest and call the GP in the morning.
Night all!