The needle test

I went back to the neurologist today to find out the results of the nerve conduction test I had on Monday.  My appointment was for 2:15 and I got to the doctor’s office at 2 pm.  The doctor didn’t see my until 3:10.  When she did finally see me, she didn’t even apologize for the delay.  She told me that the first part of the nerve conduction test came back normal.  The next step was to do the second part of the test, the “needle” test.  I thought the running of electricity through my arms was almost as fun as getting a root canal.  Little did I know just how much fun a needle test can be.

I got on the table and the first thing she did was connect a lead to my neck.  The wire from the lead went into the same machine that monitored me on Monday.  She then stuck a needle into the back of my neck and hit me raise me chin.  That wasn’t exactly pleasant, but it wasn’t a big deal either.  Next, she moved the leads to my right hand and then inserted the needle into the soft tissue at the base of my forefinger and thumb, on the top side of my hand.  That was unpleasant.  She had me flex my finger and thumb, and then pushed the needle in even deeper.  At last she removed the needle.

She turned my hand palm up and said, “Okay, this one is going to be very painful.”  With the leads attached, she inserted the needle into the soft tissue at the base of my hand, just under my thumb, palm-side.  That one hurt.  I flexed my hand, as instructed, and then she pushed the needle in even farther.  I was certain it would come out the other side.  Now I have a pretty high threshold for pain, but that push made me grunt.

When it was all over, she had a diagnosis: “developing carpal tunnel”.  This means that I don’t have it yet, but I’m on my way to getting it.  Treatment is the wearing of a special carpal tunnel brace (one in the day and one at night), and taking a fairly strong anti-inflammatory for the next 2 weeks.  I have to see her again in a month.

My hand and arm–which hadn’t bothered me in the last two days, thanks to the pain medicine I’d been given on Monday, killed me for the rest of the day.  The pain medicine did nothing.

On the way home from work, I stopped at the pharmacy to drop off my prescription.  Later in the evening, I headed back over there to pick it up.  When I got there, I was told that it was an usually dosage and they wouldn’t have it in until tomorrow.  I wish they’d told me that before I headed over.  On my way out, I decided to grab some candy, and I went into one of the self-service lanes to pay for it.  There was some kind of problem and I was told by the machine to wait for a clerk to help me out.  I waited.  I waited for five minutes.  I fumed.  Finally, as I saw someone approaching, I tossed the candy onto the conveyor belt and brushed passed them, saying, “Forget it!” and stormed out of the store.  I got into the car supremely angry and I sat there for about five minutes, knowing that it would not be safe for me to drive even the mile to my house.  When I finally cooled off, I headed home.  But it just goes to show I’ve been pretty moody all week.

Originally published at From the Desk of Jamie Todd Rubin. You can comment here or there.