blues before and after (part 1)

I see a new doctor today. But any hopes I might have had about the tendon damage as a possible avenue for recovery were consummately dashed by my physical therapist this morning. She read the MRI report and said it was unlikely that particular injury was responsible for the cascade that led to my pain.

I kept up my customary chatter, but inside, I was crushed. Because it meant that, storytelling aside, I still don’t have an explanation for the amount of pain I’m in. I managed to keep up a string of a conversation as she manipulated my shoulder, as she always does, trying to pull it back into place against my stubborn ligaments, as she always does, not having any effect, as she always does. I left there an hour later in more pain than I had been when I got there, as I always do, frustrated and demoralized, as I always am.

I wanted to get up and walk out before she even started the manipulation.  I was suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer futility of it. I kept thinking Momma Ape is right. I shouldn’t still be in this much pain. She’s not the only one; a number of friends, including some with chronic pain problems of their own, have been telling me the same thing, for weeks now. And they’re right.  They’re all right.

After all of this time and all of this treatment, I should be getting noticeably better. And physically, my posture and range of motion has improved, and my upper back muscles are starting to come back on line, although they still tire incredibly easily. But my pain hasn’t improved at all. Take away the nerve ablation, and all I’ve done in the last eight months is add to the list of things that hurt, rather than subtract from it.

I leave to see this new doctor in about an hour. I’ve compiled a packet any of my professors would have been proud of; complete treatment history, MRI scans and reports from the radiologists; physical therapy history and evaluation report; blood work; prescription and therapy list noting dosage, efficacy, and whether or not I’m taking it currently; and a contact list for my doctors, physical therapist, and psychologist. It’s A-level work. Not that it matters.

How much hope is too much? How little is not enough? People say not to have expectations, but they might as well tell me not to breathe. What am I supposed to think about, if not the future? It’s not like the past fills me with warm fuzzies.

I’m terrified that the doctor will tell me there’s nothing he can do that hasn’t already been done and I’ll have to keep going, to another doctor, and then another one, and another one after that. And in another six weeks, school will start and I will be no closer to a diagnosis, a treatment, or a solution. So I want to have at least a little hope, some small expectation that something good will come of this new appointment, because the worst-case scenario is so bad I don’t have the emotional fortitude to try to prepare myself for it.

So I will try to busy myself for another hour or so and try to distract myself and maybe squeeze a few tears out before I go, to try to wring as much emotion as possible out of my voice so I can be as dry and clinical as the doctors always are when I get there.

And then I will have gotten through the before. Next comes the after.

About C. M. Condo

I am a late-diagnosed, high-functioning autistic living with chronic pain. I started this blog in March of 2014 as a way to try to process what was happening to me. It is my hope that by sharing it with you, we can both gain something, or at least learn something, from my experience.
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5 Responses to blues before and after (part 1)

  1. I worked in medicine for many years. A PT is not a radiologist. She had no business reading your MRI. She has absolutely no training to interpret subtle things that are showing in the MRI. Yes, she can generally read an MRI. But that is all. Be certain to read the report from the radiologist. If you want more detailed information check with an MD who will refer to the MRI report and tell you what is going on. If you still have doubts or want more information, don’t be afraid to make an appointment with the radiologist and go over the report with him/her in detail. Have that radiologist or a different radiologist read the MRI again. Leave no stone unturned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • seemorrigan says:

      Sorry – I should have been more clear – she read the radiologist’s report, not the MRI itself…many doctor’s will see it before it’s all said and done, I hope…


      • Oh, so sorry. I just get upset when people dash hope when they’re not qualified to do so.


      • seemorrigan says:

        Understood! Don’t ever hesitate to call out practitioners who step outside their bounds. We are a pro-active species of ape. It’s a given now that good medical care won’t come to us. We have to go after it, and we have to take out anyone who gets in our way. Always feel free to speak your mind – and lend your medical knowledge! It’s much appreciated. 🙂


      • Thanks. I pretty much speak my mind. I just really didn’t want to see someone take the word of the wrong person. I enjoy your blog.


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