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A Visit to the Joint Doctor

October 12, 2018

Thursday morning I saw a joint doctor. I love that word “joint.” You can smoke it, be in one for years, have a beer in one, bend it or have pain in it. It’s quite versatile.
That aside, I’ve been having trouble with my right leg, including a limp and an occasional sharp pain across my knee cap. I have to use my left leg to lead when going up steps because my right leg is weaker. I won’t tell you how many times I forget since I’ve led with my right leg my entire life!
The leg pain and limp were goofy because they switched sides. My left leg would hurt and limp but usually only for a couple days than switch back the right one. I sometimes wondered if I was simply going daft.
Several months ago my neurologist checked my right leg because I was having difficulty feeling the pressure when I used the brake and gas pedals. I don’t enjoy driving anymore because of that. The EMG was normal but that did not change or help the problem.
I saw my regular PCP for a weird abdominal pain. She checked my back when I asked if the abdominal pain could be related to that tender spot she had found on a previous visit. We both doubted it since the pain was above it. The pain needed to be below it. She decided to do another x-ray, and referred me to a bone and joint doctor.
The weird thing about the back pain was that I had no pain unless the area was pressed on! I figured it should hurt all the time because of how bad it hurt when touched!
At the bone and joint doctor’s office, Tammy took me to an examination room and told me she was the one I had talked to on the phone. She had a warm and caring personality on the phone and in person. She explained what I needed to do and did not expect me to know just because I was a nurse. I liked her and she made me feel comfortable.
Dr. Boellert entered the room with a huge smile and hand extended to shake mine. His personality popped. I liked him immediately which further eased my nervousness. I’m always anxious when I have to see a new doctor and truly don’t know why.
His exam showed my strength to be normal which surprised me. He informed me that my right knee was loose and I had arthritis. Another surprise. I guess I just never thought about arthritis affecting the spine. I remembered the arthritis in my grandmother’s hands and how deformed they were.
The oddest question I was asked was: “What do you want to do?” I have no clue. I made a face when Dr. Boellert mentioned getting injections in my back. That’s a normal response, isn’t it? Who wants to get injections! I could have suggested spa treatments with a gorgeous man giving me a full-body massage. Would health insurance cover that?
He did another x-ray and ordered Physical Therapy. I have a little booklet of home exercises to do. Most of those exercises are done on the floor. I’ll get out my yoga mat and start those tomorrow. I need to do those when someone is around to help me get up. I can get up off the floor myself, but sometimes the myasthenia gravis makes my muscles too weak to be of much use. That’s when I need help.
I’ve been doing some stretching and ROM exercises already because I sit at the computer so much. I make myself get up every one to two hours to walk around, bend and stretch.
I never knew getting old was so much work. Please keep me in your prayers.

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