Sunday, May 03, 2009

A tale of medical woe...

I sent this email to my family yesterday and my mother is convinced I should share it with a wider audience. So here it is. Feel free to give it a miss if you're not interested in the detail of what went down at my nerve conduction test...

So the day of my 'emergency' nerve conduction test finally rolled around. John decided to drive me to the hospital and you will see why this proved to be a Good Thing.

A sweet, portly little man called Dr Aziz herded me into his little room and sat me down on the bed, facing him and his machine. He put a pillow in my lap, and I had to rest my arm on this. Palm up. The machine was kinda like a computer with wires coming out of it. It didn't really look scary. My PC has lots of wires coming out of it, too. So far, so ho hum. The kindly doctor chats conversationally. Okay, this is going to be easy.

Error! Error! Error!

He attached a thingy of some sort to my wrist with velcro. Then he attached an earth (I kid you not) to my palm. Next, he held an electrode against various parts of my arm and asked me to indicate when I felt an electric current each time. This ranged from vaguely prickly to 'whoops! what was that?' So far, so tolerable.

Error! Err... Okay, you get the general idea.

At this point, the odd little man selects a needle, which he attaches to one of the wires. Then he shoves the flipping needle right in to my deltoid muscle. Okay that wasn't pleasant. Then, he tells me to flex the muscle... while it has a ruddy great needle stuck in the middle of it. The machine starts chattering madly. I understand that it is reading the strength of the electrical impulses being transmitted along my muscle. Okay that was even more NOT pleasant. Are we done, yet?

Apparently not.

Now the sadist sticks the ruddy great needle into a little muscle next to my thumb. Since we have been getting on like a house on fire, and he has decided that I am an intelligent woman who wants to know this stuff, he tells me what the muscle is called. I think he called it the thisisfrickingouchitoid muscle. Yup. I'm pretty sure that was it. Now the raving lunatic (where did the sweet little man go? Is this what retired torturers re-train to do?) asks me to press my thumb up against the length of my forefinger. The machine chatters again. At this point, I can hear roaring in my ears. He pulls the needle out, and it is followed by torrents of blood. "I'm bleeding," I point out, stupidly. Well duh. The nurse lady, whose face has acquired an alarming habit of shape-shifting, calmly hands me a gauze pad. She seems not to appreciate that I might die of exsanguination at any moment!

The little viper stabs me in the tricep muscle and asks me to flex it. Sure. Why the heck not? muttermuttermumblemumble i'dliketoflexabluntinstrumentoveryourhead. I grit my teeth and comply, while the machine mocks me with its chattering laughter. I point out that I'm not feeling awfully well. The doctor sends the nurse lady to get me some water. I look forward to a sip of icy cold water to restore my equilibrium. She brings me something she swiped from someone's bed bath.

"Last one" announces the poisonous little toad with a smile and stabs me deep in the bicep. "Flex again." I comply and the world goes dark as the machine laughs long and loud. I can feel myself sliding sideways onto the bed. With a practised hand, the torturer whips the needle out before I land on it. Next thing I know, the doctor and the nurse are each holding one of my feet above the height of my head.

"I'm fine!" I announced decisively and sit up hastily to prove it. Bad idea. Head between knees time.

After a few moments, the sadist morphs back into the doctor. The shapeshifter becomes a nurse. The gushing torrents of blood turn out to be about four drops from each wound.

I totter back to my husband. Why, oh why did I wear 4" heels today?

It was at least an hour before the pain in my thumb went away, and the muscles still twinge if I catch them at an odd angle.


The doc thinks there is no need for surgery. What a sweet little man!

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