We made the trek down to Arizona once more. Have I ever told you that it’s a pretty lengthy drive from here to there? Take my word for it.
We are ushered into the exam room where I will have my regular ‘check-up’ for PD. I am feeling guilty about driving so far for a doctor. Yet, he isn’t just ANY doctor. I trust him. I trust that he has my best interest in mind and is not looking at me when he enters with dollar signs in his eyes, wondering how he can make the most profit from this visit.
Maybe I should really try to find someone closer to home. My husband is exhausted from driving. The trip seems to get more expensive each time as gas increases.
My doctor tells us that this is one of his new ‘fellows’ (a woman) and she will be doing the routine’check up’ and recording the results while he steps away and outside for some other business.
MDS fellow begins exam…
“Touch your nose with your right hand.” I do.
“Now the left.” I do this too.
“That’s right, now open and close your hand as fast as you can.” Done.
“No – as fast as you can.” I did.
“You can’t do it any faster than that?” Do you think I would be doing it slow if I could do it faster?
“Now tap your toes as fast as you can.” I do.
“No, like this.” She taps hers. I imitate.
“You can’t do it any faster?” I force a smile while contemplating a new doctor. I am almost in tears. I am frustrated. I don’t want a new doctor. I don’t want a ‘fellow’ doing my exam.
She asks the routine list of questions.
“Any increase in drooling?” No.
“Nightmares?” Oh – my husband’s going to answer this one so the record states that yes, I have nightmares because he has to endure them. The yelling. The screaming. He jumps up to close the bedroom window when it begins each night so the neighbors don’t think he’s killing me. Yes, he says before I have the chance to answer, she has nightmares. I let him jump in there. I can never remember them anyhow, so for the part he plays in me having nightmares, I will gladly let him jump in there and answer.
“Balance issues?” Yes.
“And what’s that?”
“I’ve fallen since the last visit.” I throw that in there about it being since the last visit as that the way my doctor always phrases the question.
She scans my chart. ”So I see you’ve fallen a few times this year.”
I nod my head yes.
“How many times would you say you’ve fallen this year?” I answer four.
“And how many times a week do you fall?” Excuse me? I look at my husband who looks back at me with the same look on his face that I’m sure is on mine. I answer that it’s not weekly.
“Well, what day of the week would you say you fall more frequently?” Okay, now she’s joking. She’s GOT to be joking. But no, she is not joking and when I tell her Tuesdays, she actually records that – or something, as she’s making notes as she goes along.
Some more questions and then my doctor joins us and it’s business as usual.
We leave when the exam concludes and begin driving home
“Was it me or were her questions a bit weird?” I ask my husband. He agreed they were very strange. But, she is a fellow. She has not been fully trained. She’s not even sure, she shared, if neurology is her thing yet.
I tell my husband that I just wanted to cry, as I’m already feeling guilty about driving so far and then to have a crazy check up like that.
He assures me that he drives this route every three months so that I can be in the best of hands and that’s important to him.
And then he adds, “And you’ve wanted to be a part of a trial or help in some way to make a difference in Parkinson’s research or care or something. Well, you do. Every time you allow one of the interns to examine you. They are there to learn from your doctor and he has to teach them using people like you. So – you are contributing.”
I think about that. I feel less burdened about the drive. I put my seat back to rest. It’s Monday. I need to get some rest so I won’t be so unbalanced for Tuesday. After all, those are the days I fall most often.
Journeying with you – Sherri