Thursday, July 17, 2008

No news, news

One definition of news is that which is unusual or unexpected. By that reckoning yesterday's six-hour doctor trip was pretty newsy.

For the first time in months there were no hassles with the MRI or the blood draw, both of which are regularly screwed up to an almost comical degree. This time, in and out: Some nicely trippy Pink Floyd music nearly masked the loud "Tron"-like droning of the MRI machine; nobody freaked when sticking both my arms with needles (one for the MRI contrast dye, another later for the blood draw); no lost paperwork or spilled blood or bureaucratic snafus. I almost called the newspaper.

Jennifer, who is Dr. Spence's nurse practitioner, looked at my scans and pronounced everything "fine," which prompted our monthly 10-minute, no-resolution discussion about what fine means. Everything's relative when you treat brain tumors for a living. She asked how things have been going and I told her about the day wasted at the best hospital in Maine, and I also mentioned a couple of mild dizzy spells I've had recently.

Those actually have concerned me a little, not because they're debillitating but because I used to get dizzy spells all the time before the giant seizure that started this whole medical adventure. I never thought much of them until I was recovering from brain surgery and then later when I noticed I didn't get them anymore. Maybe, duh, all that stuff was related.

So I mentioned them expecting Jennifer to dismiss them as a typical side effect of this drug or that, or of having a hole in your head. It's fine, I expected her to say. Instead she asked a couple of questions and then, quite confidently, said that those few dizzy seconds are probably little seizures.

She decided to boost my prescription of Keppra, the seizure medication I take twice daily. Her idea was to double my dose, but Michelle, an encyclopedia of drug side effects, mentioned that I've been susceptible to Keppra's associated irritability and moodiness. Yes, Jennifer allowed, that can happen, along with depression, psychosis ... she named some other stuff. Well, she decided, maybe we should ramp up the dosage instead of doubling it, from 500 mg twice a day to 500 and 750, and then 750 twice and then 750 and 1,000, etc.

I don't know if that counts as news but it seemed smarter to one half of M&M, and I'm sure it was a relief to the other.


freda said...

glad to hear that your visit was better than usual and that you are "fine".

Janice said...

Medical people can be so clueless sometimes (not you Laurie). Oh, little seizure, no problem, we'll just ramp up the chemicals. One of judy's kids had a seizure once, then he fell asleep for hours. We confessed to a doctor that we were freaking out because he wouldn't wake up. The doctor sat up the sleeping child, held up his chin, shook it and said, "he's fine, see." the kid never woke up up. We freaked out even more. The doctor had no idea why.

kateco said...

thanks for the news, news

Ronelle said...

Thanks for keeping us up to date - and Mark, I think you are in great hands with Michelle. I know this is hard - but it is also so inspiring to see how you two work together.

Rita said...

Took the words right out of my mouth, Ronelle!

I, too, appreciate the update, Mark. You're probably the only guy out there that can find something humorous to write about MIRs, blood draws and doctor rituals. I'm still one that likes to hear the word "fine".

Glad you were there, Michelle.