Rheumatologist Visit

doctor visitI went to see my rheumatologist earlier this evening. Some of the good things about where I live is that not only am I guaranteed a same-day appointment whenever I call, but my doctors also give me both their cell phone number and their home phone number. (Amazing, isn’t it?)

As soon as I reached the door of my rheumatologist’s office, my left leg completely froze up, forcing me to stand still for a couple of minutes. (It’s been doing that about once every ten minutes for the past two days.) A pharmaceutical rep, who was stuck in the corridor behind me, asked if my leg had fallen asleep…as if! By the time I finally took a seat in front of my doctor’s desk, my rheumatologist already knew that things were seriously wrong.

His examination confirmed what my physical therapist has suggested a few days ago, which was they my entire left leg was being completely stretched apart from the hip all the way down to the toes. On top of that, this was not a typical instance of sciatica. The sciatic nerve itself was a victim of circumstances, as the surrounding muscles and tendons pressed down against this principal nerve, causing it (and me!) to scream out in pain. The tap of the rubber hammer against my right knee resulted in the healthy, reactionary bounce. The tap of the rubber hammer against my left kneed resulted in absolutely no movement. Fade to complete stillness. Cue chirping crickets.

On top of this were my “usual” symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, such as pain, swelling, and numbness in my extremities (both hands and both feet), my elbows, and my shoulders. It’s funny how seemingly minor they became, when compared to the above situation.

I received my first cortisone injection. I supposed to get another one tomorrow. I am starting a 28-day Prednisone taper, my longest one to date. He also offered to insert a needle into my knee in order to extract excess fluid, but left the final decision up to me. Even though I do try to be a superhero most of the time, I must admit that I did chicken out, and passed on this offer. (At this moment, I just don’t feel like I have the strength or the energy to undergo such a procedure.)

As I left his office, I was told that I should start feeling some relief as soon as tomorrow. I sure hope that this prediction comes true!

On my way home, I stopped by the grocery store and bought an assorted mix of  junk food. Sure, I’m going to watch my calorie food intake as I once again get back on Prednisone…but all of that starts tomorrow. Today, I’ll allow myself a moment to celebrate returning to the path to recovery.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

14 Comments
14 comments
  1. RA Guy says:

    Has anyone had an arthrocentesis (procedure to drain excess fluid from a joint) before? If so, could you please tell me what your experience was like.

  2. Lauren says:

    yah, who is YOUR Rheumatologist! They tell us to go to the hospital, have us lay there for 8 hours, starve us almost to death and then they say they can’t help us anyway. See your doctor! HA, I could get my priest to give me last rights faster

  3. Yvonne says:

    RA guy…I had arthrocentisis the very first time I saw my rheumy. The night before my first scheduled appointment my knee swelled up so bad I had to crawl up the stairs (on one knee). In a way I was lucky that it happened right befor I saw her…she drained it and it aided in the diagnosis. My sed rate was off the charts! It wasn’t fun..but she numbed the area first…it does offer relief, as the swelling itself is so painful at that point! Hope you feel better soon!

  4. Wren says:

    I’m so sorry you’re forced to cope with sciatica AND RA right now, Guy. And I hope that the injection, along with the prednisone taper, will ease all of the pain. Hang in there, friend. You’re in my thoughts.

  5. WarmSocks says:

    Wow. A same-day rheum appointment is amazing. Then again, it’s not so good to need one :(

    I hope the steroid injection has you feeling better soon, and that the pred does everything it’s supposed to. Good luck!

  6. Samantha says:

    I wish I could get an appointment the same day. I have to wait months (yes, really – got to love the NHS) and so rarely get seen when I really need it.

    RA is horrible enough on its own without having to cope with sciatica as well. Hope this pain goes quickly for you RA Guy.

  7. Laurie says:

    I hope the junk food goes some teeny, tiny way to making you feel better, and the drugs quickly do the rest.

    All the best to you now and always! :) L

  8. Leanne says:

    I’ve had my knee drained several times. Its not that bad. When the doctor knows what they’re doing, it really doesn’t hurt very much (although a med student did it once and that one really hurt), and it is instant relief from the pressure of swelling. For me what was not too pleasant was the mental imagery I had. Just don’t look at the needle! Injection of a local anesthetic hurts MUCH more (I would skip that part if offered). Note that in my case, the swelling always returned a few days later so eventually my doc didn’t recommend it anymore since it was fairly futile.

  9. Tod says:

    agree with leanne shot hurts more than drainage both help. last week had cort shots into rt wrist and then all knuckles in my fingers hurt so bad, but after pain went from 8 all day to 4 all day worth the 5 min of screaming it took

  10. Carla says:

    Guy: Hope you find relief soon. Hopefully the drugs will help. It may take a couple of days for the shot to kick in. I’ve had my knee drained a couple of times and, while not pleasant, can help. Like you, when I’m feeling bad to need it drained, that’s the least likely time I am to feeling up to the procedure. Be kind to yourself and keep us posted. Sending healing thoughts your way.

  11. Brad says:

    Man I sure can relate to your pain and some of the symptoms with walking. I’ve had my knees drained several times. It used to keep the swelling down for a couple weeks. More recently inflammation comes back only a few days later, but it sure does feel good not to have all that excess fluid. I’ve never found that it hurts much, but that’s probably from the cortisone shot afterward. Right now I’m about a month away from a 6 month prednisone taper. I found it to help but not worth the long term damage. Just found your blog and love the posts! Looking forward to reading more.

    -brad-

  12. Megan says:

    I have had my knee drained several times – I found it quite a relief to have some of the fluid gone. I didn’t find it all that painful – just and extended joint injection of sorts. For me, the end result was worth the pain.

    I’m sending warm fuzzy thoughts as you continue to turn some corners and move your way to being on the mend.

    Megan

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