The Path Untraveled, the Destination Unknown (part 2/4)

I love the snow. Some of most peaceful, reflective times I’ve ever spent have been late at night, surrounded by the deafening silence of the fresh fallen snow, basking in the brightness of a moonlit snowscape.

Which makes it all the tougher that my first memories of something being really wrong with me were based on a 2AM walk with my beautiful wife in the peace and serenity of our snow covered neighborhood.

Look, I’ve never won any awards for my agility or balance. I’m 6’ 2” 250 (sadly, that’s after skipping several meals) so I’m not known for being lite on my feet. But my inability to walk properly, my rumbling, bumbling, stumbling (for you Berman fans) through the snow that night gave me great pause. My left foot was dragging, actually more like flopping, it was affecting my walk, and it was quite irritating. Melanie finally convinced me to go back to the Doctor.

It was February, 2021, and we were then 11 months into “two weeks to flatten the curve” (don’t even get me started…). Getting in to see my zinc and magnesium dealer (remember, my rando Dr. from last year) is several weeks out. So urgent care it is. (aside: there may be no other more inaccurate branding than having any sense of urgency associated with urgent care, but I digress).
The PA lady in urgent care was awesome. We talked everything from an Achilles issue to a Vertebrae problem (and could have discussed issues starting with W, X, Y, and Z given more time – but remember where we are). She referred me for an MRI and sent me on my way.

Back home, I grabbed a cold adult beverage and sat down to relax… and it hit me. Like a ton of feathers, or a tons of bricks, whichever weighs more. An MRI is in one of those little tube things.

NARRATOR: “Mitch won’t speak it out loud, but he is deathly claustrophobic.”

(Of note: you probably read that last sentence in your “Narrator” voice, didn’t you? It’s ok, me too) 🙂

Anyway, my immediate next call is to Dr. Zinc’s office, because he needs to hook me up with something much stronger than magnesium if I’m to do this MRI.

Having scored the prerequisite Rx, and now sufficiently medicated and feeling really (really!) good for the moment, I have the MRI. Unfortunately, it comes back and confirms what I already knew… I have a really bad back. (A lot of destruction there as a result of 40 years of reckless abandon in all things). But what the MRI does not give me is what I really want, a reason for these lingering issues.

So now begins six wasted weeks of playing What’s Next. I need PT. I need a spine exam. I need another hole in my head… you get the point. Finally, after the consult with the spine guru, it’s determined I should get an EMG. Oooooh. I love acronyms. It sounds fun.

If you’ve never had an EMG, I’ll try to explain it. Close your eyes. Visualize several doctors attaching wires all over your body, then sticking the other end of the wires into the electrical outlet. Then flipping the power on and off. I swear to you, I looked over and caught them collectively chuckling as the current raced through various parts my body. Good times… if you’re one of the Doctors. Honestly, when I got the bill, I disputed the charge for the procedure, feeling the entertainment value I provided them should have been sufficient compensation.

Although not a fan of the process, we seemed to be getting somewhere. The test came back with some definitively inconclusive results. And, yes, at this point, even definitely inconclusive is a step in the right direction. The doctors told me I had a dirty EMG. Huh. I’ve been told I had a dirty mouth, even a dirty mind, but never a dirty EMG.

But it was progress. This was good, right? At this point I’m thinking we’re finally beginning those last few steps to resolving these bothersome issues, and getting back to normal.

What I was soon to find out was that they were not in fact the last few steps to a welcome resolution, but in reality the first few steps in a journey to an unwelcome new normal.

If you haven’t read any of the other Backstory posts, the remaining posts from this series can be found here:
The Path Untraveled, the Destination Unknown Part 1
The Path Untraveled, the Destination Unknown Part 3
The Path Untraveled, the Destination Unknown Part 4

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