Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Visit to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Nuerological Review of MRI

Google map of DHMC. Very lush, surrounded by woods.
Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center was amazing, what pros. Greater at the door, like Wallmart. This may seem funny, but I thought about it and it reduces stress in folks  who don't know their way around.  Reducing stress is key for sick people, and for positive user experiences. So of course, have someone at the front door who can point you to your reception desk before your body releases all those stress chemicals one gets when lost, and sick.

Very little wait. Easy check in. We paid a baby sitter to ride with us and take Ivy for a walk around the huge hospital in an body carrier, so Laura could come in with me. Very little wait. The in take nurse said her name, and asked ours, did the vitals, and asked then, casually, "how do you best learn?" and listed things like reading, video, interaction, discussion, etc. That also put me at ease, maybe because they were humanizing me?

The neurologist was not rushed and listened and educated us. He said the variables are staggering, so there's no single magic cure. My back isn't too bad, and was probably having these bulges for a while, but didn't kick in until a mixture of events I reported (lot of stress, in bad shape, slept wrong). Some folks he said have bad backs in general, prone to injury, some don't, hard to tell who is who.

Most likely culprit, 6/7 bulge.


Some have worse issues than mine, but less pain, and some have less issues, but way more pain. He said, he thought Brattleboro's radiologist missed a C6/7 little bulge he thinks, along with the one's in the report at C4/5-5/6. My old family friend who's a really good neurosurgeon also agreed. The doc at Dartmouth prescribed PT and traction, which he said I probably could have had sooner, but most regular docs are scared to prescribe it for backs without an MRI review by a surgeon. He said I need to call them anytime if I want to try help at the pain clinic, such as a shot cortezone in the back. And if "life is miserable" for too long, there is surgery, but he doesn't think I'll need it. PT starts Thursday.

The Dartmouth doc said keep taking substances like fish oil, Zyflammend and/or the Golden Milk, Vitamin C and B, water, etc are all good ideas too and might help, probably won't hurt. He said he's open to chiropractic, massage, long walks, lifting light weight, working, etc. as long as it doesn't aggravate it and make it worse, or hurt. And if I'm getting slowly better, keep doing what I'm doing (resting in bed on the wedge, slowly doing more, taking care of myself).

He said do some range of motion movements that don't hurt each day. And when it doesn't hurt, start high repetitions with my arms and upper body of very light weights, starting at like 2 to 5 lbs. Good to get a standing and sitting desk. Ok to be on computer in bed if neck if fully supported.

And an new bit of data. I know I shouldn't pull up straight to get out of bed when lying on my back, but I didn't know why. It tightens the muscles on the front of my neck, which is the worst place to tightenen down on the spine because it pushes the other side of discs out. I can't begin to tell you how hard this is not to do when in bed on my back, especially with kids and computers! He closed by saying yes, when better, stay in shape, stay flexible, especially when stressed. Duh, but...

I felt better right away, actually I felt very relieved, in that way that makes one want to cry, but not because you're sad, but because you've been heard and taken care of in way that is assuring.

We had lunch in the cafeteria, which I also always love to do at hospitals, colleges, etc. Wasn't too bad and a good price.

PT starts 24th. I'm slowly improving, very slowly. Family got colds, so I had to do more, and yet my energy is also coming back slowly too, and the pain seems to be moving slowly away from my arm to my shoulder blade area where it started.