Friday, July 10, 2015

When the health care system works... works really well.

I just read in the paper today about cuts to RNs (registered nurses) BUT I do have some good news about our health care system as well.

It helps to live in a city (London, ON) where several top-notch hospitals with world-wide reputations are located but I digress.

My doctor told me I'd be lucky to get an MRI done before my trip in September. But earlier this week (Tuesday) I received a call about a cancellation the next day - did I want it? Of course!

The MRI itself was quite an experience - I wondered if I would be able to go in feet first instead of head first and was elated to discover that yes I could. The technician was wonderful and very reassuring. She gave me a squeeze ball that sounds an alarm when squeezed so if I was feeling claustrophobic I could be let out of there PDQ!  She also place a cloth over my eyes which was very calming and ear plugs for the noise.

Holding still for 20 minutes seemed like a very long time but I just focussed on my breathing. Whenever I felt like twitching or I would get a "bad thought" like - "what if everyone goes home and forgets I'm in here??" I would concentrate on breathing slowly and deeply. (The technician said afterwards that they almost never forget that someone's in the machine!!) What a card!!

She said it would take 4-5 days for the results to reach my doctor but lo and behold I had a call not 24 hours later from my doctor's office that they had the results and could I come in the next day (today) to go over the results! So I've been and come home again.

There's a lot going on with my spine and lumbar region. I have mild to moderate disc compression, disc bulging and disc uncovering (?) and mild stenosis (abnormal narrowing) in the lumbar region and lower spine.

At today's appointment I was told that I can request a referral to a spine doctor to confer about surgery and it's a one year wait! Because the problems I have are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things (for a 59 year old woman with a previous history of back pain since I fell off a trampoline when I was 14) a spine surgeon wouldn't likely operate and having my back operated on really doesn't appeal to me right now.  The other option is to continue what I'm doing - meds and lots of exercise.

The meds are helping with the pain as well as anxiety/depression and I'm becoming more active again - 90 minutes of yoga last night, riding my bike again, hiking and walking again so I feel pretty darn grateful for the relief I am getting.  And grateful for our health care system that doesn't charge me for the MRI and got it done in record time.

There are two sides to every coin.


Gill said...

pleased you had a good experience, sorry about the results though. It will all work out in the end; whichever route you end up going.

Sharon said...

So sorry you have to deal with back issues, but glad the meds are controlling pain. Yeah, surgery would not be fun, and sometimes it doesn't even help. Glad you were able to get in and out and that your doctor called you right back. Sometimes the wait is the hardest thing of all!

Jane said...

Once you know what is going on, you can make a plan...sounds as though the plan will work!
Jane x

Lisa Pfab said...

Oh how I wish I could get my back done. I just wrote a blog on how bad American insurance is now, unless you are poor.
What medicine do you take? I am so tired of pain....

it's me, Sam said...

Thank Goodness for good news! You're doing great!

CarlaPeicheff said...

You know i've honestly always wondered how I would do in one of those machines... I think you did awesome, Jane!! Well done! <3 I'm glad that your exercise is helping you get some relief!

Sonya Ann said...

I'm so glad that they got you in!!!!!! I think I would have had a freakout. As in, HELL NO, I'm not even going in there!!!
I wouldn't want the surgery either and would put that off until things were desperate. Pain is a terrible thing to live with, it is all consuming and rightfully so. It's just if you are semi-functioning people have the tendency to think that you are exaggerating. The best we can do is try and heal ourselves and I'm so proud of you for working towards getting better.

Annie said...

Well, good and bad there! At least you know, although that's quite a list of issues. Hope you can manage it all with your exercise and meds. I agree surgery is a last resort - it would take so long to recover. I'm looking forward to seeing you in September for our walk, though. It will be fantastic for so many reasons! xx