Saturday, March 2, 2013

Doctors, Imaging, Injections, Nightmare!!!

My first appointment was with an orthopedic surgeon.  He took an xray of my neck and told me I have bone spurs.  Gave me a prescription for oral steroids and muscle relaxers and sent me on my way.  I took the steroids as directed.  Felt great!!!  But it didn't last and the neck pain persisted.

By this time I had been wearing invisalign for about 4 weeks.

My husband told me to call a wonderful doctor he knew, Dr. Kathleen Fink.  I called her office and sure enough, because she is so good, I couldn't get an appointment until March.

In the meantime, I saw another doctor in Virginia who is a physiatrist.  A physiatrist is a type of doctor that specializes in pain management without surgical intervention.  Dr. Balint said that my problem was in my facet joints.  Dr. Balint's recommendation was to do a medial branch block.  I took his recommendation and had the procedure.  If you google this procedure, it is not pleasant.  It involves injections of steroids directly into the side of your neck.  There were no drugs to relax me and after the injection they told me to sit for 20 minutes before I left because I would be dizzy.  I asked where I shold go, and they told me to just sit in the waiting room. This seemed very strange to me, because I just sat there and nobody monitored me.  No blood pressure check, nothing.  They also gave me no post procedure instructions (like what to expect, etc.), AND I had to ask the doctor to give me some instructions for my physical therapist...completely an afterthought..

The branch block did not work.  So I was instructed by Dr. Balint to get an MRI.  During my next appointment with Dr. Balint, we reviewed the MRI.  The MRI showed minor bulging disks, but nothing out of the ordinary for a woman my age.  However Dr. Balint suggested the next step should be an epidural.  He gave me this epidural on the spot during my appointment.  I foolishly did this without thinking about it.  Once again, after the painful procedure, I was rushed to the waiting room and told to wait for 20 minutes before driving.  Nobody ever checked on me.  The epidural was not a success and afterward I researched this and this procedure is usually reserved for people who have radiating pain...something I never had.  One thing is certain, I will not be returning to see Dr. Balint.

My husband (who is a retired physician) started to feel bad for me (finally).  The following week he got on the phone with Dr. Fink and asked her if she could see me.  She saw me the next day.  And that is when we started peeling the onion peel.

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