[When we last left our intrepid narrator, he was just beginning to experience that nervous, asshole-puckery feeling that comes with knowing that something is seriously wrong, but the wrongness does not as yet have a name: an inchoate sensation of dread.]
My internist had suggested that I visit my neurologist and get a nerve conduction test. OK, fine.
I had heard numerous stories about these tests, most of which had described them as some sort of mash-up between Weird Science and medieval torture. As it happens, my test felt totally inconsequential. A little electrode, a little zap, feel the muscle twitch. Afterward, I asked my neurologist whether the Big Bad Scary Diagnosis was a possibility.
“Well, it’s a possibility, but it’s extremely unlikely,” she said. “What I’d like to do is to order up an MRI of your cervical and lumbar spine, to see if something’s getting pinched. I’m going to put down a tentative diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy.”
Cervical radiculopathy. I couldn’t help but like the idea of a condition that seemed to borrow its name from the word “ridiculous.”
So I went for my MRI: an hour of lying in a giant metal doughnut while a symphony of metallic noises worthy of Edgard Varèse played around my head. It was, perversely, like a colonoscopy in reverse.
Then the results came back. A little arthritis here, a bulging disc there, a sprinkling of stenosis... but nothing that would explain the changes that were creeping over me day by day. My neurologist recommended that I seek a second opinion from the Emory Neuromuscular Clinic, and she gave me a name and a number to call.
“How about that Big Bad Scary Diagnosis?” I asked. “Is that still on the table?”
There was hesitation in her voice when she answered. “You need to see the people at Emory.”
Stay tuned, friends! More to come...
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