Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Good Docs


Yesterday was a very bad day, the kind of day that involves emergency services and insurance companies. (I'm fine. I'll post about this in more detail when doing so seems prudent.) Today, thank God, was better.

The big event was going to the rheumatologist. He and his resident, between them, spent ninety minutes with me. Can you imagine? I mean, yeah, I'm a new patient, but still! Not only did they take a detailed history and do more of an actual physical than I've had for ages now, manipulating various joints, but we talked about medical education and narrative medicine and the doc's underwater photos hanging on the office wall. He dives, so I told him about Steve's family, and talked about how even though I can't do SCUBA because of sinus issues, I love to snorkel and have swum with sea turtles off Maui.

Medically, I left them puzzled. I always do this to doctors. I'm the Queen of Inconclusive Symptoms. According to the doc, the arthritis in my knee isn't connected to the positive ANA, but I don't have symptoms that would suggest what's causing the positive ANA; furthermore, everything else in my bloodwork (specifically sed rate and rheumatoid factor) is normal. He says there's no such thing as a "false positive" ANA; a positive is a positive, although some people are positive and normal otherwise. He's rechecking the ANA -- especially since the previous lab didn't give numbers, which are important -- and is also testing for antibodies specific to Sjogren's Syndrome, since I have a number of symptoms that fit with that diagnosis (but also fit with other things, like living in the driest state in the country).

It would be pretty funny if I had Sjogren's, since Gary's mom has it. Yet more proof that men marry their mothers! I don't think I have Sjogren's, though.

Anyway, we'll see what the bloodwork shows. If the antibodies aren't there and the ANA titer's low, we figure I'm fine; if antibodies are there and/or the titer's high, I've got something. I'm pretty sure I'm fine, though, except for the blasted knee.

I started having trouble with the knee about fifteen years ago, when he says I was too young for osteoarthritis, although I definitely have that now. (I've got some fluid on the knee, although only a bit.) He's put me on a new anti-inflammatory, Relafen, for the knee pain. Relafen's easier on the stomach than ibuprofen, but it's a generic and only costs $5/month, versus the $100/month the pharmacies want for Celebrex.

I'll be very happy if this stuff works. In the meantime, I'm very happy to have met two nice doctors.

I also wrote today, and knit a little, although I neither swam nor walked. Still, a much better day than yesterday!

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