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BP Machines, TDAPs, and X-Rays, Oh My!

Posted Jan 12 2011 12:00am

Yesterday I went to the doctor, and I walked out with more than I’d bargained for.

The initial reason for my visit was because I’d been having fairly severe lower back pain as well as numbness in my right arm, from my shoulder to my fingertips.  After examining me, the doctor said that she wasn’t at all concerned with my back (the pain had significantly subsided in the last couple of days) and she thought that the problem was a muscular strain.  She said that I could ice it and take Advil if the pain returned. That unless I got numbness in my lower extremities,  it was really nothing to worry about. I agreed.  The arm numbness, however, was a concern to her (and to me).  She said that it could be caused by several things – carpal tunnel or an issue with my neck or chest.  She had me move my shoulder and arm several times and saw that I didn’t have any sort of strain or pain in that area.  She ordered x-rays of my neck and chest, and said that she’d also like me to start wearing a wrist/hand brace day and night to see if that offered any relief.   If it does, then my problem is most likely carpal tunnel. If not, or if the x-rays show something, the problem is more likely a disc or pinched nerve or something.

I tend to think that this is  being caused by some sort of disc or pinched nerve because the numbness has been occurring much more frequently and often comes on when I’m sitting.  It happens in the car when I’m driving to and from work.  It happens when I’m sitting at my desk or at the kitchen table for too long.  And it happened yesterday while I was sitting on the examining table.

The x-rays themselves were very awkward.  I had to wear the “old-fashioned” type of gown (two of them – one facing front, one facing back) to make sure I was covered.  I cannot wait until I’m “normal sized” and don’t have to worry  or be embarrassed by my hugeness. I didn’t like being without a bra in an x-ray room with just the x-ray tech.  He was a very nice person, and he was completely professional, but it was so strange having him move me into these various contortions so that he could do the imaging.  I felt uncomfortable and self-conscious, which is never a great feeling.  But, if the x-rays show something, it will be worth it.  I should know more in the next couple of days, and I’ll definitely keep you updated.

Since I was there, I asked my doctor if she’d order a TDAP for me, because my surgeon requested that I get it before the weight loss surgery.  A TDAP is a vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping couch) and mine had expired long ago.  Since we’ve been experiencing an outbreak of whooping cough in my area (especially with those who deal with little children), I figured that was a good vaccine to get anyway.  I’m trying to get all my ducks in a row so that once these 30+ lbs are gone, I will have nothing standing in my way to get on the list for surgery.

The last bit of health news wasn’t good.  My blood pressure is high again, although part of it might have been caused because the first blood pressure machine I went to wasn’t working, so the assistant ushered me down the hall to the next one.  We didn’t walk really quickly, but maybe quickly enough to get my blood pressure up?  Honestly, though, I’ve been going through quite a bit of stress at work lately and things at home have been so out of the norm that I’m sure that’s throwing me off, too.  My doctor seemed extremely concerned about the blood pressure and told me that I really had to calm down and not get so stressed out.  So I am taking that to heart.  I really need to remind myself that the parts of my job that frustrate me are small things that don’t matter in the scheme of life.  Sure, this has been a challenging year with two of my classes, but so what?  I can’t take it all so seriously.  Plus, I have taken steps to alleviate some of the burden, so that should improve.  And in terms of things at home, I’m sure once we all get used to this new routine of watching my nieces and helping my sister I will feel calmer and more relaxed.

On my drive home last night I did get a bit depressed about the situation.  I wasn’t thrilled with the number I saw on the scale, especially when I compared it with the last number I saw several months ago when I was there.  But I did remind myself that in those 5 months I’d given up a terrible habit – smoking – and it was the holidays, so some weight gain should be expected, if not accepted.  And that’s just it.  I don’t accept it.  I want it gone, and I need to make sure that I’m taking the steps so that it is.

It’s so obvious that working out will help me in all areas – not only will I be able to burn calories, but I’ll also be able to relieve some stress.  Now that the doctor cleared me to workout, nothing is stopping me.  Last night instead of wallowing in self-deprecation, I did steps on the Wii for the first 45 minutes of BL.  (Thank you to HealthyLoserGal for tweeting that you were going to do this, because you inspired me).  And even if I wasn’t burning that many calories, I definitely burned more than I would’ve just sitting on the couch.

Doing the Wii steps was something that was so, so easy to do, and I felt really proud of myself for doing it.  I didn’t even track the exercise, because I did it more for the act of moving than for worrying about the calorie burn (last night, at least).  So from now on I’m going to do the Wii step for at least 30 minutes each night while I watch t.v. (this is in addition to whatever else I do for activity during the day).  I always watch t.v. for a little while at night, so doing the Wii step while viewing will be a really good way to make sure I’m doing something active each and every day.

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