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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Testing, testing, 1-2-3…


Long time ago I had a massive stroke. 2010. It was my introduction to a host of new medical devices. There was the transesophageal echocardiogram. All you get is a numbed throat while the camera goes down and looks at the heart for clots. On the other hand, you can squirm a bit and see the screen, too.

I had an internal bleed along the way, so there was a gastrointestinal endoscopy, which found nothing, down through my stomach.  I swallowed a camera to go the rest of the way. The last procedure before I was sprung from the hospital was an electroencephalogram, to check for a past seizure.

In 2010 the EEG was conducted with a gritty paste to enhance the electrode’s conduction. It took three shampoos to get the nastiness out of my hair. All these tests simply enhanced the skills of the operators; the source of the clot was never located, the source of the internal bleed not located, and no evidence ever of a seizure. My life returned to normal.

Then one day last March, the Red Bus sent me down the aisle and fractured my skull. Several times during the week I was kept unconscious in George Washington University Hospital I “dreamed” glass beads were falling and clicking against each other.  When my neurologist here at home scheduled a follow up EEG I realized the source of the clicking; it was the technician recording brain patterns with the mouse. And still, no seizure evidence.

Now I have a new neurologist. My old neurologist became so frustrated with the state of medicine he followed his dream and is doing research at OSU. I almost said he found medicine ‘seized up’, but I didn’t.

The new neurologist wants all tests done over. Old patient resists; all have been done in the last six months or so. “I won’t release you to drive,” says new neurologist. Old patient laughs. “You cannot quit Keppra,” says new neurologist. Old patient submits to new brain MRI. At the next office visit, new neurologist says brain MRI is pretty close to perfect, but he needs an EEG.

I’m obviously unhappy with this; my last EEG is still pretty hot off the press, and fine. No, he needs to see the recording. Knowing George Washington sent complete medical records to all and sundry, I told him to check with them. I know I kvetched here recently on learning he spent a month not getting the record.

On Monday, in the middle of a hot pinochle game with the Methodists, his assistant called me. There were no EEG’s at GWUH. Long pause. Several retorts came to mind. I considered the hopelessness of explaining glass beads, so I said “Now what?”

“Doctor would like you to come in for an EEG.”

It’s scheduled. I wonder how many more EEG’s I can have before Medicare cuts me off. I wonder who’s making the money, here while I have nightmares from Keppra.


26 comments:

  1. On the other hand, medicare payments aside, I like a doc who want's to see the raw data, and the most current. It's a good sign you have a doc that's interested in you, and is at that plateau we reach when we're at the top of our game. I remember that time, I'd do the same.

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    1. I was interested he said he wanted to see where all the dots were, himself. But all the left hands can't reach the right hands to get the job done, and in the meantime, I'm the one dreaming of dead soldiers. This will end. Thanks for checking in.

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  2. Hari OM
    ...**&&^&^^^(()))(*#^##$%%$#*)(#*^^#$*^&#$,,,,
    There, I said it for you.
    YAM xx

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  3. If I were you, I'd give one last shot at contacting GW Hospital yourself to ascertain what happened to the last EEG result. You have rights!

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  4. Hospital records can be inaccurate. It’s worth another shot?

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  5. I'd agree with Silver Willow, first off. Then if still not available, I'd just suck it up and have the new EEG done. It's the doctor's responsibility to make sure you have no condition that would affect your driving without the Keppra, and we can't fault him for doing his job. But yes, I wonder why communication is not better. It's frustrating when those things go awry. I'm sorry you are having nightmares. That's not any fun at all.

    I always wanted a pinochle game when I was a kid. I played at someone else's house - once - and never had another chance. Maybe I need to find a senior's group that has one, seeing as we have no Methodists here :)

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  6. Leo is undergoing something similar...
    Responsibility for his less life threatening problems has been handed over to the local hospital where his doctor wants him to undertake all the stuff he has recently undertaken at the main hospital...as he wants to see for himself. No problem with accessing records...he just wants to see for himself...

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  7. I'm going in for an EEG at the end of the month. As you know I have epilepsy so I do have seizures if I don't take my medicine. They have never found any seizure activity for me. That sticky paste you spoke of is far superior to the way they used to do it. They used to insert little electrode needles directly into all those places on the head and one in each earlobe. They didn't hurt but I'll take the paste any day.

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  8. No records at GW?? That's weird. There has to be some somewhere. Perhaps they've lost them and don't want to admit that. Or they sent them and now they're sitting somewhere in a post office where they fell down behind a cabinet or something. You'd think something so important would get sent by courier.

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  9. Thank goodness I was sedated for when they transesophageal echocardiogram, I had no idea they did them to anyone who was not sedated. Maybe I was sedated because they were going to shock my heart back into rhythm.

    Is there any way you can check on your previous records and try to have them sent to you personally, instead of the doctor/hospital? They are your records, you paid for them.

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  10. Hope this sorts itself out soon....Nightmares are no good at all. Be well!

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  11. Pinochle? If you're winning pretty regularly, skip the EEG. If you are losing, get the tests! Just kidding.

    Neurologists tend to be pretty detail oriented. I'd go with the tests. Maybe he trusts his people, labs, etc more than others. If Medicare doesn't complain, go with it!

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  12. Argh ... how frustrating! I saw a neurologist last week, and she also wants a brain MRI done. But as it's just precautionary, I will be at the bottom of the list, and it will take some time. But she did tell me that an MRI will always show something, and that is just the way it is. So your comment about a perfect MRI stood out to me.

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  13. hope you get results,one way or another xx

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  14. Due to my fall in 2011, head injury, subsequent 3 brain surgeries......I had numerous MRIs of my head.....let me just say that I hated each and every one of them.

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  15. I am so sorry that you have to go through more of this.

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  16. Sheesh. Really sorry you'll have to endure this all over again.

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  17. I believe I'd be on the phone to GWUH myself raising hell until I got the medical record. Didn't they send you a statement of tests done? I got them when I was having all the tests for the swallowing and choking thing, disguised as a bill that zeroed out at the bottom. I don't blame you for not wanting to go through all that again.

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    1. GW actually has passed out these records to all and sundry who presented a signed authorization, and our three different hospital systems here won't share. First problem. Second, I have raised hell with GW for this doctor, to little result. GW takes requests in person or in the mail. My grocery runs a tighter ship. My car shop runs a tighter ship. I'm the one always on the wrong conveyor line. I hate it.

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  18. I am so sorry. I go in for a CT scan Monday, and I hope they don't over do me like they are doing with you.

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  19. I am so passive aggressive, I would call Medicare to see if GWUH charged them for an EEG. If they charged for it, they ought to have it around there there somewhere, and if they can't find it, Medicare ought to not pay that bill. But, that's just me.

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    1. I can look in my Medicare account...for all the EEG's they've paid for. I could go round to everyone and get a copy, not only of the report, but a disc of the beads dropping. I've done that already for an x-ray of the shoulder I hope to get fixed. They can mail the results. They won't send the actual data by email or by fax, claiming "their/our" lines are not secure. This is 2018, for godssake, Russia has secure lines, why don't we.

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  20. You've been through the mill and back again...unfair.

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  21. No wonder medical costs are so high! This drives steam out my ears just reading about your experiences!

    this cheered me up: "in the middle of a hot pinochle game with the Methodists,". Pretty rough group.

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