Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Never Trust The House

I seem to have shifted in my medical habits. Well, less of a shift, more of a move in a straight line: from doctors to physiotherapists.

Now, I hadn't been to a physio before I got whiplash and needed a few visits. Since then I've been back 8 or so times for things such as headaches, back spasms, sore heel/achilles tendon, and more headaches. I usually go to the University Sports clinic, but I've been to one in Newtown as well.

Recently, I've been getting soreness in both my elbows after doing things like playing drums, shaking martinis, and when I curl my arm under my pillow. It happened off and on for about for months until last Wednesday, when I woke up in the middle of the night and had had enough.

I went to the doctor at Broadway Clinic. Called ahead. Booked an appointment for 9:45 (I started work at 10:30). Sat in the waiting room until 10:55. I get into the room and the doc (who is not one of the usual people I see) immediately (and I mean before I even say what's wrong) starts lecturing me that I need immunization for Whooping Cough (after a serious of relationship questions that I answered with no idea as to what they were for). He then moves on to what I was prescribed last time I was there 9-10 months ago: Cafergot, which is a migraine medication. This was prescribed after 39-straight-day headache (the doctor then had said it probably wouldn't work, or stop the pain in any way, but I should take two, and then two more each half hour it didn't work). I told him I took one dose, and the 60 Mg of caffeine (that's a 6-pack of coca-cola) in each pill had me bouncing off the walls, so I stopped. He then typed "Allergic to cafergot" into my file *facepalm*. He then prints out 3 pages of migraine advice sheets and a migraine diary for me. He then turns to me and asks why I'm there.

"It's my arms, actually." I almost felt bad to see his face drop. Oh, and the migraine? Cured by one physio appointment.

Anyway, I explained I first started noticing after mixing drinks on Fridays (which got a glary look) and after playing drums (which got a confused look). He feels my arms, notes a "tightness" in my biceps, then asks if I "lift weights". I explain that yes, I go to the gym, but it doesn't bother me at or after the gym. He then says "Well, it's probably a contrasting muscle cramp. Your triceps are too weak compared to your bicep." I look at my two-pipe-cleaner arms. "Really? I do roughly the same amount of weight with biceps and triceps."

"Oh yes, you should be doing two to three times the weight with your triceps than with your biceps."

Ummm, okay. Never heard THAT before.

He also cheerfully informs me that it's not arthritis, so he won't send me for bloodwork. He also says a bunch of others things it's not, confusing the issue. He writes a recommendation for a physio (which is A) sealed in an envelop, so I can't see who or where the physio is located and B) the outside of the envelope is a RANDWICK address. No thank you) but then adds that I shouldn't get a physio unless I get an x-ray.

Anywho, he sends me out to pay with an armload of paper and no real explanation for the arm-thing. Bothered, I then go right across the street to the University Sports Physio clinic.

I book in for 12:30, show up at 12:30 on the dot, and am not sitting for more than 30 seconds before they're ready. Meet Chris, the physio, and describe what happened. He starts check out my arms while I'm talking, getting his own idea of how far I can turn, where it hurts, etc. I explain the doc's idea, which he describes as "Fair enough, I mean, you shouldn't be doing too much more with your bicep, but yeah. Clearly it's your nerves."He explains that it's the nerves in my shoulder- and elbow-sides of my tricep that are being stretched in a wrong way and are causing me pain in complaint. He gives me a list of gliding stretches to do (and demonstrates them) and suggests I improve my posture at work to relieve some of the pressure. Then comes the shoulder and tricep massage that was agony, and left me bruised but pain-free afterward.

And here's my point (he said, two pages in): I prefer physios to doctors because they actually DO something. They'll hear you out, have a look, give their opinion, then in a hands-on-way, sort you out. It'll hurt, sure, but you'll be better for it. That's more than I can say for just about any doctor I've been to with the exception of one, who was an acupressurist/acupuncturist, who was a great doctor because he ALSO actually did actual things.

This is being exacerbated by Tanja and my watching the first 8 episodes of the first season of House. I like it, but it points out how doctors (even highly trained good-looking specialist doctors) are just best-guessing. House is constantly kvetching about how an ER Doctor or a GP would prescribe or diagnose the wrong (and usually the worst thing) they could. I believe it. I actually had a normally good doctor attempt to diagnose me with asthma because my breathing was raspy while I had a cold. Admittedly, I had taken a Codril earlier and was feeling better, so made my breathing sound worse than it was, but still. The guy spent 10 minutes trying to convince me to get checked for asthma.


Zoidberg: “What is it this time?”
Fry: “Well, my pipe hurts a little.”
Zoidberg: “That’s normal. NEXT!”

So yeah. It’s physio for me. Unless I have a cold/asthma.