Going in to the nerve study this morning that my neurologist ordered last week, I didn't know what to expect. Today was the fourth visit to Kaiser in seven days pursuing some kind of resolution of my malady, and as I sat on the crinkly white paper on the exam table, I wasn't banking on a miracle healer to walk through the door.
The first neurologist to come into the exam room, named Cordia, was amiable enough, and she asked the questions that I have become accustomed to answering as I work my way through the Kaiser system. I had many responses pre-written in my note pad, and scribbled responses to the questions that she posed that I had not anticipated.
Cordia's line of questioning was energetic –I was impressed. Then the door swung open again, and a second neurologist stepped inside to join us. She sat at the computer console and skimmed the notes and test results that have accumulated over the past month and a half, while tossing out questions of her own.
Then a third neurologist, Dr. Bruce Enos, entered and joined the others. By that time, his colleagues had asked me to step out of my business clothes and into the gown that was laying on the exam table.
Dr. Bruce was most interested in examining my tongue closely, and while I wasn't thrilled to see him whip a safety pin out of his pocket and poke my tongue with it, that simple exercise revealed something that I wish I had realized long before today: that the ride side of my tongue is numb to the sensation of a pinprick.
The appointment was extremely productive, I thought. The three neurologist asked a lot of questions that I had not heard before, and they each seemed determined to identify the cause of my problem –oh, why mince words? This "problem" has ballooned into a bona fide crisis.
The next steps are a second MRI, which unlike the MRI I had earlier this month, will zero in on my neck and mouth. There will also be a venogram, which is a test that has not been proposed to date.
At home tonight, I will begin taking two of my HIV meds in liquid form through the G-tube, and the remaining three crushed up and dropped through the tube. There are three Baggies of crushed meds on my coffee table, and two brand-new syringes to use for measuring the liquid doses. But during the day at the office today, I Googled "pill crusher" and discovered that all of the major drug stores sell devices to use for grinding down pills. I'll stop at Longs on Laurel Canyon on my way home and pick one up.
I should have realized that clubbing my pills like Bamm-Bamm to pound them into dust was a little screwy. After all, I'm not the first guy with AIDS to need to take meds through a G-tube.