As some may or may not know, I’ve had some medical issues. To sum it up and make this post a little shorter, nearing 3 years ago, I had a series of falls that most people would recover from, specifically with proper medical attention. I thought I had recovered pretty well, from them, but about 6 months later, I noticed that my feet would start to hurt if I stood for too long. I didn’t think too much about it at first, until it kept happening and with more frequency. I went to my dear friends wedding and I couldn’t stand for longer than 30 minutes. I went to the doctor and he took x-rays and said everything was fine, prescribed Vicodin, told me to lose weight, and sent me away. I should state that while yes, I could lose a few pounds, I’m not considered obese. For my height and age, I should weigh between 135 and 165. At that time, I was 168. So, yeah, I could lose a few pounds, but that would not be the reason for my pains in my leg. Soon after that, that doctor, lost all his computer records and couldn’t be found anywhere. Closed up shop.
I took this opportunity, to change doctors and have my leg checked again. My new doctor, was quite concerned and sent me to an orthopedist and Physical Therapy. My orthopedist spent nearly a year trying to figure out what was going on, even stated in one appointment, “You’re a mystery.” After my latest MRI through him, he just stopped returning my calls.
That, in brief, brings me to today. My insurance company referred me to a Neuro-Surgeon. He was quite intrigued by my situation. He looked at the many MRIs that I had already had done and couldn’t understand why my orthopedist was concentrating so much on my back. He agreed that the arthritis and scoliosis in my back would be causing pain in my back and maybe the hip due to compensating for my back, but not my foot or lower leg. As well, the pain starts in the toes and moves up, not from the back and moving down.
Today, as my follow up from the ABI (Ankle-brachial index), I had an MRA. First, what is an ABI. From WebMD: “This test is done by measuring blood pressure at the ankle and in the arm while a person is at rest.” “This test is done to screen for peripheral arterial disease of the legs. ” (WebMD.com)
Results, from WebMD:
A resting ankle-brachial index of less than 0.9 is abnormal. If the ABI is:
- 0.41 to 0.9, you likely have mild to moderate peripheral arterial disease.
- 0.4 or below, you likely have severe peripheral arterial disease.
Mine for my one leg, the one that gives me trouble, was 0.82. So, a potential of mild to moderate PAD. So, he wanted to do some further tests to make sure that there was nothing more to worry about. The tests he ordered, that I did today are an MRA of the leg and pelvis, and MRIs of the Head and Cervical Spine. So, what’s an MRA?
MRA stands for magnetic resonance angiogram. Basically, an MRI of the blood vessels. This one, theoretically, should indicate if I have a blood clot, or something arterial that might be causing the issue. The MRI of the head and C-spine were to rule out MS. I blogged about that before.
So, back to today. My appointment was scheduled for 9am. They asked me to be there by 8:45. No problem. I arrived at 8:30. Signed in, filled out the paperwork, and sat down to start reading my book. They called me back pretty quick, about 8:45. I got undressed/dressed for the test and headed to the room. He did the MRA first. So, I climb up on to the hard table, and lie down. He straps this contraption to me that is actually how they get the pictures for the MRI. Started with my lower legs. Not sure how long, probably about 20 minutes. I had to be perfectly still. You don’t know how hard it is to be perfectly still until it’s over. Thankfully, between sets, while the machine was compiling the photos, he let me move a bit. The next section was my upper thighs and pelvis. Same thing. Survived that. Next, my stomach and chest. Same same. Survived again.
This time, once everything had compiled, I had to get up so that he could set for my MRI of head and C-Spine. This is when the trouble began. I couldn’t get up. Literally, I couldn’t sit up. It took everything I had to try to bend my knees to try to get up. The technician had to help me up. Then I could barely stand. He set up the table, for the next part, and I laid back down. I laid my head in a ‘case’ of sorts and they put the top part on, so my head is fully enclosed. No problem, I can deal with this. The technician was really nice and put a cushion under my knees and lower legs so that it would ease the pressure on my back. Into the machine I went. I handled the first 25 minutes ok. Then, suddenly, massive pains in the leg that doesn’t give me trouble. My hamstrings were cramping. I was trying my best to stay still. The noise stops, and he comes over the earphones to say “We need to do those last 3 minutes again. You need to stay still.” Ok, we try again. Suddenly, the cramping gets worse. I try my best to not move. He comes back on the speakers and asks what is going on. I say that my leg is cramping. So, he lets me move around and try to work out the cramping. Ok, I think I’ve got it. I tell him to go for it. We got it that time. But about halfway through, my leg started cramping again. Wow, it was rough. So, they get me out of the machine and he literally has to lift me up. I’m in so much pain at this point that I am not sure that I’ll be able to walk to the changing room.
As I am hobbling out of the room to go change, he lets me know to not leave the office without my images and to wait for them in the lobby. He said it would be about 15 minutes. I literally use the wall to get to the changing room. Change into my normal clothes, and head for the lobby to sit and wait. I wasn’t seated for more than 30 seconds when they came out with the images. Yes, it took me that long to change my clothes, that’s how much pain I was in. I walked out of the office at 11:44. Yes, almost 3 hours of being still. No wonder my legs were cramping.
My biggest thought about this was, can’t they make those tables more comfortable? Does it HAVE to be a hard table with no padding? And really, with today’s technology, can’t they come up with something faster that having someone be completely still for 30 minutes at a time? Ok, enough of my whining. I get my results from today, on 12/7.
Happy Thanksgiving Eve to everyone.