Derivative Dog

I’m announcing a new member of our family:

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Geordie

His name is Geordie and we picked him up from the pound yesterday. My husband and I had been talking about getting a dog for a long time now. I sort of promised him we’d do it, but I kept putting off the idea because I really wanted to travel, and having a dog makes that a lot harder. However, with traveling out of the picture for the near future and with my recent inability/lack of concern for keeping the house clean, I suddenly had a change of heart. “Wouldn’t it be so much nicer to do nothing with a do-nothing dog?” So I expressed my thoughts on the matter and the next day my husband came home announcing he had found our Skippy’s twin at the pound. Our dear little Skippy passed away a few years ago from old age. Here’s what he looked like:

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Skippy, a.k.a. “Skipperdoodle”, a.k.a. “rat face double fink”

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Skippy…we will always love you!

Sunday we snuck into the pound so that I could observe Skippy’s clone. (The pound was officially closed to the public, but I used to walk dogs there, so I knew how to get in.) By dog, there was Skippy reincarnated. We read his papers and found out that Skippy II had just arrived on Friday. I knew this dog would go fast. I’d only walked a handful of dogs that were potty trained and knew how to walk on a leash. This dog knew all of this, and much more. And he was small-ish and ragamuffin-y. No way he’d be around for long. Unfortunately I had an MRI on Monday at the same time when the pound opened, so there was nothing we could do but cross our fingers and hope that someone else wouldn’t get him in those two hours.

Well, we got him! But boy, we didn’t have much time to prepare. We took him home and didn’t even have dog food for him. So while my husband went back out to buy all the dog things, I stayed home and cuddled with my new friend.

I talked his big Dumbo ear off, I’m not gonna lie. I asked him if he minded that we kept comparing him to Skippy, and I apologized for occasionally flubbing his name. I said I hoped he wasn’t feeling “derivative.” “Is little Geordie-poo feeling derivative?” was how I put it. He replied that while he may look just a little bit like Skippy, he wasn’t nearly as “catty.” (How he could tell all this about Skippy from a photo, I don’t know.) I told Geordie that he clearly had a very different personality from Skippy’s, as was evidenced by his above-average cuddling, but since we were just getting to know each other, would it be all right if he could fill me in on his eating habits? For instance, would he ever go on a hunger strike for human food like our gourmet Skippy did? (Skippy always won those…he was a tiny dog and I always feared he’d die.) To which he replied, “Feel this. Do I look like I’ve ever gone on a hunger strike?” And I petted his soft belly. “Now check out that part under the collar,” he continued…”Yeah, there. Now behind the ear…”

Geordie’s perfect for us. He was given up by his owner because she had dementia. He’s clearly used to living with an older person…as is evidenced by his astounding ability to lie about:

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Geordie

I think lately my habits are not too far from an old lady’s, but I plan on walking him every day at least once around the neighborhood. This is something I need to be doing too, according to the physical therapist. Little Geordie’s put on some pounds from his sedentary lifestyle and at this point we are at about the same fitness level. He makes it around the loop, but by the end we’re both dragging. So we’ll go through this together!

But now, we nap. (He does run in his dreams. I suppose that counts for something.)

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81 thoughts on “Derivative Dog

  1. Ah, wonderful Tina, and what a lucky Geordie he is to have you as his mum. Hoping to hear some more positive news from you on the health front before too long, and in the meantime, lots of love and my very best wishes for your continued recovery, Hariod. ❤

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  2. Probably a good counterbalance to your reading (you seem to have developed a fondness for the Heidegger-typical hyphen-words like “small-ish”, high time for something else, at least some-times 🙂 ).

    Personally I have no experience with dogs. How is it to have one?

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    • Haha…yes good observation. I was a little worried Heidegger would infiltrate my thoughts in this way. I hope he doesn’t infect my novel writing!

      You’ve never had a dog? It is WONDERFUL to have a dog! But the trick is picking out the right dog for you and making sure you set the ground rules. So far my little Geordie has not been spoiled, but I have to work with my husband to make sure he stays this way. (My husband has a tendency to feed dogs at the table. That’s how we ended up with a little gourmet Skippy who would hunger strike and bark and beg.) Don’t get me wrong, I have this thing about wasting food which plays right into my thing about wanting to feed dogs and make them happy in the moment, but I’ve got to be vigilant. It’s so hard! But I have to remind myself, it’s better for the dog too. It’s my responsibility to make sure he’s healthy, and his food is better suited to him than ours.

      Dogs are pretty smart too. You have to watch out for that! You never know what they’ll remember. 🙂

      Geordie is the most affectionate dog I’ve ever seen. He loves to cuddle and he’s really making me so very happy. He follows me around the house and makes me feel loved. It’s the best! He even smells good. His breath, not so much, but his fur has a nice scent. And pretty much everything he does is cute.

      Another thing about this dog…I haven’t heard him bark. Not even once. Not even when we walked past another dog earlier today. I was amazed by that. He’s so relaxed and perfect for me.

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  3. At first I thought you’d accidentally bought a new floor mop, but now I see there’s an actual dog under there! 😄

    Congrats! In honor of the occasion, here are some great dog quotes:

    “You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, ‘Wow, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!'” ~Dave Berry

    “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ~Will Rogers

    “Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul, chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth!” ~Anne Tyler

    “If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” ~Woodrow Wilson

    “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” ~Peter Steiner (New Yorker cartoon)

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    • “You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, ‘Wow, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!”

      This is what Geordie does with me! I love it. (And I wasn’t joking about talking his ear off. I just talk nonstop in that squeaky high-pitched voice that everyone but dogs and babies find annoying.)

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    • Your dog’s name was Geordie? Wow! I’d never heard that name before until I met my Geordie. Then I watched some British show just after getting him in which one of the characters was named Geordie. It’s kind of like after you learn a new word, you suddenly hear it everywhere.

      Do you have any dogs now? What happened to your Geordi? What kind of dog was she?

      BTW, I got the MRI results today: Normal. Back to the drawing board. I’m getting the feeling they won’t get a diagnosis. Maybe I’ll just have to learn to live with it and just push myself, even though I don’t feel right. Or I could just count on lying down after doing something, which isn’t so bad with Geordie here! I’m just concerned that I won’t be able to travel or do zumba again. Well, whatever the case is, I do have to go back to OKC soon. I might just have to grin and bear it.

      So your second opinion is coming up tomorrow, right? Let me know how it turns out and good luck! I hope it turns out to be clarifying.

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      • Unfortunately, my Geordi passed away a few years ago (from old age). I didn’t name her. I was the third or fourth owner and just stuck with the name she came with when I got her back in 1996. She was a 25-30 lb Pekapoo. I haven’t had a dog since. I miss her, but it took a lot out of me taking care of her that last year, and I haven’t really had the desire to have another dog since then. Maybe at some point.

        On the MRI, well, at least they didn’t find anything bad. I’d keep pushing them though. You’re too young to live a compromised life. On the other hand, your body might eventually get over whatever it is. We talked before about the possibility of your diet and exercise maybe leaving you in depleted state. Maybe it’s just taking a while to recover. Regardless, I hope it gets better or they can figure something out.

        I do have my appointment with the second doctor tomorrow (thanks for remembering). Not sure if I’ll actually get the second opinion then. I fear he might want to look over things and will tell me to schedule a follow up. But I’ll let you know what happens.

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        • Geordie’s the name that came with our dog as well. We thought about renaming him, but couldn’t come up with anything very good, and it seemed he knew his name, so it just seemed wrong to change it. (We would have named him either Cicero or Mycroft. I was leaning towards Mycroft since it’s two syllables and Cicero would inevitably get turned into “Sissy”.) 🙂

          I know what you mean about taking care of a dog in their last days. Skippy was very difficult. It was kind of like having a baby—we didn’t get much sleep. Then when we had to put him down, we bawled our eyes out and couldn’t even look at his picture without doing it all over again. I didn’t want to have to go through that again either.

          Yes, good point about not finding anything terrible on the MRI. I’m at such a funny stage right now where I just want to know what this thing is, I’m not even worried about what they’ll find. I guess that has a lot to do with ‘brain tumor’ and ‘MS’ having been ruled out.

          I’ll keep pushing, for sure. I’ll find out soon whether there’s anything else they could look for. I feel like it’s the end of the game, but maybe not. I’ll let them determine that rather than my Googling research!

          And you’re also right that it could be taking a while to recover. I’ve been doing the balance exercises and I’m getting better at them (as in, I don’t tip over too much), but the feeling in my head—which was my primary symptom—doesn’t seem to be going away…it’s morphing into new things. It could very well be that it is on its way out, but it’s going so slowly I can’t even tell. I know these things take time, so I’ll be diligent about the exercises.

          On your appointment: I hope he doesn’t just say, “Hey, hi. I’m your second opinion doc. Come back later for the second opinion.” That would be so annoying! If there’s any way you could get a copy of the MRI to him in advance, that might be helpful. If he already has all the information at his disposal, I’d definitely push for that second opinion today. There’s no reason to stretch it out into two appointments if he’s had that information.

          Good luck! I’m eager to hear what he says.

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          • Losing my Geordi was definitely a traumatic event. She died the night before the vet appointment where she likely would have been put down. I buried her in the back yard with her favorite toys. (Doing the burial myself provided some closure, but I wouldn’t recommend it for most people; doing it right is hard work.) I felt guilty afterward that I kept her alive as long as I did, but I think she was still getting some enjoyment out of life until the last few weeks.

            The second doctor thought the surgery recommendation was premature. He looked over the scans, said that there was some tearing on the rotator cuff that he could see, but that he would recommend first a shot, if necessary try a second one in a month or two, and only if there were still problems “get it scoped”. So his assistant gave me the shot and a sheet with recommended strength PT exercises.

            So, that’s where things stand. My shoulder is hurting right now from the shot, but hopefully it’ll feel better soon. I’m debating whether or not to keep my appointment in a few weeks with the first doctor. In the meantime though, it sounds like we both have our exercises to do, although I think I’ll give my shoulder another week or two of rest, since that’s been helping, before starting mine again.

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          • I’d say as long as Geordi was still getting some enjoyment, then you did the right thing. It’s always a hard call. We had to put our Skippy down because he had stopped eating altogether. We fed him the best of human food, and he still wasn’t interested, which meant it was over (his main goal in life was to get good food). We buried his ashes in our backyard too and had a little ceremony.

            So it looks like the second opinion fits your judgment of the matter! In any case, going at this conservatively at first seems appropriate. You can always decide to do the surgery later if what he recommends doesn’t work out. Well that’s great news!

            So what kind of shot is this? Is it that saline thing I saw online? Or was that for something else?

            Also great that he gave you the shot tout de suite and you didn’t have to wait around for a second appointment! I hope the pain from it goes away soon and the whole thing works out for you.

            If I were you I wouldn’t cancel that appointment with your first doctor until maybe a day or two before that date. That way you have it, just in case. I don’t really know what could happen, but it costs you nothing to keep it for now. Sometimes it takes a while to get in…you don’t want to get stuck waiting, especially not if you’re in pain. Might want to write a reminder to yourself to cancel…that is, if you’re forgetful like I am. 🙂

            Good luck with your recovery and PT and I hope these shots provide you relief!

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          • The eating thing was actually something I was watching for in Geordi’s last days since I had read that a lot of experienced pet owners used it as a key criteria. What made me finally schedule the vet appointment was that she largely lost the ability to move around or control her bladder. It seemed clear that she was miserable and wasn’t going to get better. As you said, always a painful call.

            It was a cortisone shot (I’m pretty sure). It’s an anti-inflammatory drug injected directly into the shoulder joint. The nice thing is it should allow me to stop taking ibuprofen. Hopefully by the time it wears off, there will have been some healing. I had one several years ago and found it painless except for the first split second of the shot. This time, the shot itself was similar, but my shoulder hurt later and for a few hours, although it seems to be settling down now.

            A saline shot? That sounds like a placebo. I hope that’s not what they gave me, although it would have had to have at least an anesthetizing agent to avoid being extremely painful.

            That’s good advice on the doctor appointment, which hadn’t occurred to me. Thanks! Just put a note on my calendar.

            And good luck to you as well. I’m still interested to know how you’re doing. Hopefully we’ll both be able to slowly climb out of our respective holes.

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          • I hope the shot you had several years ago wasn’t for this same problem. That would be a long time of suffering!

            I’m glad to hear the pain from the shot seems to be easing up. Did they tell you anything about using ice for the inflammation? I wonder if that would help a bit.

            Yeah I read something about a saline shot somewhere…something called “lavage” (the French word for cleaning). It might have been for a problem you don’t have.

            Glad to be of some help to you! And yes, I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m eager to get out of my hole. I did drive for the first time in two months just yesterday. I only went down the street to the Walgreens to pick up toys and treats for Geordie. It worked out all right. The strange thing was, I was fine while I was driving, but once I got out of the car the awful head thing came back. Same thing when I left the car and went back into the house. Pretty bizarre.

            I’m feeling definite stages of this thing, which makes me wonder if it’s running its course. At first there was the lightheadedness (that feeling you get when you stand up too fast), then a pressure feeling (g-force straight up or down, mostly down) mixed with all over pressure, and now the weirdest thing of all—vibration. I’ve never felt this last thing before, so it’s hard to describe. I wonder, if there are phases as there are in a cold, if the symptoms are changing, maybe someday it will just be gone?

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          • The shot years ago was for the same problem, and it helped back then, although it the pain back then didn’t go away until I stopped jogging. Strangely enough, this time stopping my daily walks has helped more than just about anything. In both cases, I think swinging my arm was irritating something. I asked the doctor about it and he said it was plausible, particularly if I had swelling in there. So, right now it’s total rest until I start the PT exercises. Hopefully I’ll be able to start the walks again in a few weeks, since I did them for two years without a problem.

            My shoulder does feel better today, so the shot is doing some good. The utter lack of exercise is making me antsy, so maybe I’ll (very cautiously) start the PT exercises next week.

            Ah, I think lavage is to break up crystallized calcium deposits. I do have some calcium but they didn’t seem to think it was enough to warrant anything like that. I might have had more calcium in December and early January during the most painful parts of this process, but if so, much of it must have been reabsorbed by now.

            Well, I’m glad to hear that your symptoms are at least changing (as long as they’re not getting worse). Maybe you do have some kind of long term infection, virus, or something along those lines, and you body is working its way through it. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. But be careful with the driving. You don’t want to add an accident to your burdens. Small steps.

            BTW, did you see this latest Existential Comics? It reminded me of our stoicism discussion the other day.
            http://existentialcomics.com/comic/69

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          • Wow, you’ve been dealing with this for a long time! I hope the shot works this time…well the shots plus the rest. It sounds like the rest seems to work more than anything, so though you may be antsy, it might be worth reining yourself in. Not that I have any right to talk. I had a glimpse of semi-normalcy for an hour today after taking a colossal nap with Geordie, so I attacked the housecleaning that I’ve been thinking about for so long, then the head weirdness came back with a vengeance. I always overdo things. I can even say that and know that about myself and still manage to continue overdoing things. For that hour I thought maybe it was all gone forever. The good news is the house is acceptable by my now lowered standards. I feel like I deserve a medal. 🙂

            I wonder about working out with an elliptical or cycling machine or some such thing? That way you hold onto the handlebars without moving your arms? Don’t do this without asking about it first, but maybe that would allow you to get the exercise you crave without hurting yourself.

            Or you could just sit around the way I do these days. You have a medical excuse after all. Maybe it’s time to catch up on some movies. 🙂

            Ah, what you’re saying about the calcium deposits rings a bell. If you’re right about the painful part being linked to that, then maybe once the inflammation goes down, you’ll be in the clear.

            I will be careful with the driving. I probably shouldn’t have done that…it was pretty stupid. Especially since I never know when this stuff is gonna attack. I guess I just haven’t experienced anything like true vertigo, so I haven’t been too worried about driving. But the truth of it is, “past results do not necessarily indicate future performance.” I had that shocking experience today when this stuff hit me so suddenly. That was the first time it didn’t creep up on me. Kind of unsettling.

            The thing is, I freaking love my car. I just got it last year and I can’t wait to get back to driving it again. But yes, I really don’t want to get into an accident.

            I love the comic! Especially that last picture of the stoic floating in space: “I’m OK with this turn of events.” Yeah right!

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          • LOLS. You can take heart that your house is almost certainly cleaner than mine, but then I’m a slob.

            I really can’t blame you for driving, particularly if you’ve never been in danger of passing out or anything. After all, driving is freedom and independence in this country. The main thing is to pull over if you start feeling dizzy or sick.

            This is a complete tangent, but it reminds me that years ago I had to drive home nauseous with some kind of stomach flu. I had to pull over and puke along the side of the road and then spent several minutes sitting there before I could rev myself to get back into the car. During this time, a homeless looking guy carrying a big pole or something walked up and stared at me for about two minutes. I was too miserable to do anything but stare back. Eventually he just silently moved on. I never knew if he stopped out of concern or because he was wondering if I was an easy mark.

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          • Wait a minute. I thought minds like yours were meticulously neat? Every engineer/computer guy I’ve ever known was a neat freak. I mean matching hangers, clothes arranged according to color kind of neat. It’s the academics who tend to be slobs.

            Your story’s hilarious! I imagine the homeless guy was wondering whether he could get a ride, then decided probably not, or maybe he didn’t want to chance it with a sick person. Then again, he did have a pole, so he could have just knocked you with it to take your car!

            Back in high school a buddy of mine walked into the parking lot and found a guy stealing his car. The thief was startled, but in the end held my friend up with a screwdriver and took his car. The ladies were cruel to my poor friend since he was a big strong guy who somewhat prided himself on his masculinity…oh we were horrible.

            Well the homeless guys aren’t so bad sometimes. When I lived in Albuquerque I used to play guitar on the street for money, believe it or not. (Rent was $50/month and I made $25/hour, so I saved something near 10K for college just from noodling on my guitar and not looking like a homeless person AND playing in front of Whole Foods). Well, this homeless guy liked to hang around and listen to me play. At first I was a little freaked out, but then we got to know each other and he told me all about his secret booze stashes hidden underneath the bridge, told me his life story about how after Vietnam he lost his family and friends because he’d become an alcoholic (and probably more than that). He was actually a very nice guy and he’d tip me cigarettes that he bummed off of other people! I’d try to give them back, but he insisted that he wanted to tip me for entertaining him.

            So maybe that homeless guy was concerned for your well being? Then again, you never know. He was walking down the street with a pole after all.

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          • I fall outside a lot of the typical engineering/computer guy templates, in that I’m not overly fond of high order math, I’m generally not detail oriented (although I can be when I have to), and I’m an utter slob. My office, home, and car are disasters as far as neatness go.

            My remark about the homeless guy definitely wasn’t meant to be a general disparagement of homeless people. Just that in that strange encounter, I never knew what was going through his mind. I’m not even entirely sure he was homeless since I don’t recall a backpack, clothes-bundle, or anything along those lines. If he had said anything, the encounter probably wouldn’t have been nearly as strange. (I would have said something if I wasn’t so sick. As it turned out, I was too miserable to even be alarmed.) For all I knew, he might have just been an unusually raggedy surveyor or something, with me possibly sitting on a property line in his way.

            You sound like you’ve had an interesting life. Playing the guitar for money for college? That’s pretty cool.

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          • Well we all have our little quirks that don’t fit the stereotype, right? My office is a cluttered disaster zone, but I’m really a neat freak when it comes to the rest of the house. Maybe I’m a secret slob?

            I definitely wouldn’t think you would disparage homeless people. I don’t really know where I was going with that story…perhaps off into LaLa land again!

            On a totally unrelated topic, I found out something bizarre today. I felt better in the car when we were moving, but when we stopped, the weirdness in my head came back again. When we moved again, it went away. At first I couldn’t account for this because I thought my problem was linked to visual stimulation, and being in the car you would think would be the worst possible thing. Maybe the problem is still linked to visual stimulation, I don’t know, but I suspect that something about the car’s motion pushing my head back relieves the symptoms. This would explain why I feel better lying down, with gravity pulling my head back. This is a great discovery for me, although we’ll see what the doc says.

            So maybe a road trip this summer wouldn’t be out of the question? I’m crossing my fingers!

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          • The vestibular system does seem to be the likely candidate, but they’ve ruled out most things related to it. I’ve been googling the odd result I got on the VEMP test and coming up with almost nothing. I was beginning to think I was making too much of it when yesterday the physical therapist looked at my chart and said, “Oh wow, this is a significant latency.” I asked her if it could be a fluke, and she said she didn’t know. We’ll see what the neurologist says on Monday. I can’t wait.

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          • “Latency” is a term I’ve often heard in technology, but this is the first I’ve heard it used in health. Interesting. I wonder if it has the same meaning (the time before a system responds). Good luck with the neurologist.

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          • Yeah, I think the word means the same thing. I’m still not quite sure what was being measured, but I think it was a neurological connection. They put electrodes on my neck and earbuds in my ears, then I was supposed to lift my head when I heard these knocking noises. I thought this was some kind of hearing test, but apparently not. I guess there’s a normal reaction time for when people lift their heads, and my left side was fine, but my right was consistently late. Apparently this test is pretty accurate in diagnosing various inner ear problems. If there’s no response, that means various things. If there’s a delayed response, there were only two things that result points to (according to my four hours of Googling): MS and a lesion to the vestibulospinal tract. I’m thinking that MRI I had of my cervical spine was to look for the latter. So now I have no idea what could be the problem.

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          • Reporting back on the health situation:

            I went to the neurologist today and found out that MS has not been ruled out. In the early stages, the demyelinization might not show up on the MRI yet. So now we’re down to MS or some kind of virus which could take “maybe two years” to run its course. In the case of a virus, there’s nothing that can be done. In the case of MS, there’s a little that can be done, but not much. He also mentioned something called Guillain-Barre syndrome, and that looks very severe. I’d actually rather have MS than that. I don’t think I have that based on my googling (which leads me to believe I should be paralyzed by now), but hey, who knows. I’m no doctor. In any case, he has a hearing test scheduled (not functional hearing, apparently, but testing for delayed responses). This test won’t really offer a diagnosis, but it will build a case towards a diagnosis. Then it’s a matter of waiting and reporting back from time to time to see how my symptoms are. He suggested a spinal tap, then noticed my freaked out look, then he suggested another MRI in 6 months.

            I really wish I didn’t have a 10K deductible! I’ll probably meet it at the end of the year, then not get to benefit from meeting it. Luckily we won’t be financially burdened by this, but it’s one of those gambles with insurance and I’m on the losing end this year.

            The good news is the doc’s giving me a prescription for the fatigue. So I’m crossing my fingers that it’s a virus and that these pills will help me get on with life in some fashion.

            I’m actually surprisingly not freaked out by all this. I’m just gonna focus on organizing my days, day by day. I’ve got a plan…in the morning I’m gonna prioritize and write out activities in clear 20-30 min. segments and not get mad at myself for not being able to write for hours on end. It’s a matter of knowing my limits and adjusting. I’m not used to that level of organization (I usually don’t organize at all!) but I think doing this will make me feel more centered, keeping the right things in focus instead of frittering my time away doing things that don’t actually matter to me.

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          • Wow Tina. I think I’d be extremely frustrated right now in your position. Hopefully it is a virus and it won’t take 2 years to work itself out. 2 years has to be a worse case scenario. If it does turn out to be a virus, I think I’d have to check with another doctor to make sure nothing could be done with it. I hope the next test reveals something useful.

            The 10K deductible sounds rough. I didn’t know those were still allowed. Each ordered test must have been painful to hear. My central heat went out a couple of weeks ago, and while I had the money, it wasn’t a pleasant surprise to have to spend several thousand dollars out of the blue. Surprise medical bills seem like they’d be much worse.

            Well, I hope the prescription helps. It sounds like you have a good handle on this. Hopefully they’ll be able to rule out MS or some other serious disease in a few months. I don’t blame you for freaking out on the spinal tap, although I know someone who had it and they said it wasn’t as bad as they feared. Still, who wants to have that unless there’s a good chance of it showing something or doing something beneficial.

            I wish I had something better to say. Take care of yourself and keep me and your other internet buddies posted.

            My shoulder is about the same. The shot appears to have largely knocked out the pain, although it’s now achy in the same places it hurt after the shot. Not sure what to make of that. I’m still mostly resting it, although I did experiment walking with a shoulder sling yesterday, which seems to help.

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          • You know, I think my husband is more shocked by the news than I am. I think he had higher expectations of this doctor’s visit, whereas I had lower expectations, believe it or not. He was freaked out when the doc started talking about MS right off the bat. Turns out, my husband knew almost nothing about it. He looked like he was gonna cry in the doctor’s office, then in the car asked me if I would die if I had MS. I had to explain some things to him (I’m not gonna die right away, unless he keeps driving like that) and assure him that my symptoms aren’t typical, but MS is hard to rule out and can take many years to diagnose because there’s a strict criterion. I don’t come close to that diagnosis. I’m in this for the long haul.

            I thought the doc was gonna say, “Well, we don’t know what it is, so you’re on your own.” Or worse—say it’s “all in your head.” So I’m feeling kind of relieved that at least I know that I can’t know anything for the time being, but I’m not being dropped or misdiagnosed.

            “Hopefully it is a virus and it won’t take 2 years to work itself out. 2 years has to be a worse case scenario. If it does turn out to be a virus, I think I’d have to check with another doctor to make sure nothing could be done with it.”

            I think the 2 years thing was a worst case scenario, but he didn’t say so. Now I might have to ask about that!

            I’m not sure what it takes to diagnose a virus. It sounds like they can’t really do it, but I’m unclear about that. This doc seems to be operating in differential diagnosis mode. So MS and virus are kind of running side by side. Even that dreaded spinal tap wouldn’t prove anything either way!

            “I hope the next test reveals something useful.”

            Thanks! Me too, but I’ve already been told it won’t be definitive no matter what it shows. I’m more curious about it than anything. It’s called BAER—brainstem auditory evoked response. It measures how the brain processes what you hear. They’ll strap electrodes to my head and make me listen to sounds. I’ve just read that I don’t have to do anything. In the VEMP test I had to lift my head, and I kept wondering if I had screwed up the test somehow by not paying attention or getting distracted. They assured me I could not screw up the test, that they were counting such small increments of time there was no way I could have accidentally interfered. Same goes for this test, except this time I don’t even have to lift my head (according to the trusty internet). I’m baffled as to how this stuff works. It’s pretty cool actually.

            “My central heat went out a couple of weeks ago, and while I had the money, it wasn’t a pleasant surprise to have to spend several thousand dollars out of the blue. Surprise medical bills seem like they’d be much worse.”

            Yeah, that money could have been spent on fun things like a vacation! Something about all this feels like buying toilet paper. Very expensive toilet paper.

            “Well, I hope the prescription helps.”

            Thanks! I just took the first pill (actually I broke it in half) and I’ve been sitting up for two hours! I even did my balance exercises and they didn’t wipe me out as usual. I feel the head stuff, but not that horrible fatigue and lack of concentration. This might turn out to change things drastically for me. I might be able to start working on my novel again. Before I was thinking I’d have to regulate myself and work in small increments, but now I might have a closer to normal life. I won’t jump the gun though! We’ll see. It’s only been a few hours.

            I’m discouraged to hear your shoulder feels the same. I thought it would feel better when you woke up the next day. I hate those achy pains…they’re so nagging. Would heat or ice help? Or is that not recommended?

            I’m glad you were able to get some exercise in. It does improve the mood, but just be careful with that. I say this as someone who always overdoes everything, so you may not need the warning. 🙂

            Thanks for lending an ear! Keep me posted!

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          • MS would definitely be a serious condition, but it’s not a death sentence, particularly if they can catch it early. I work with someone who has MS, and she periodically has attacks and has to carefully consider her condition, but otherwise leads a normal life. From what she described, her symptoms came on when she was in college, and come on strong. There wasn’t a lot of doubt in the diagnosis. So, I’m encouraged that your symptoms aren’t close. The doctor is probably just being thorough.

            Glad to hear the pill (or half pill) is working. At least if you can get back into your daily routine, it will probably help your morale. I know for me, getting back to the point where I could participate in online conversations again helped immensely.

            I’m actually still cautiously optimistic on the shoulder. The achiness/tenderness isn’t severe enough to warrant the hassle of ice. The second walk with the sling didn’t go as well, so I might shelve that for now. (The weather here is nasty anyway.) My big uncertainty now is when to start doing the PT exercises again. Contrary to every piece of advice I’ve read or received, total rest has been what helped, so I’m reluctant to abandon it.

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          • Thanks for the tale about your friend with MS. As I understand it, it’s a debilitating condition but that level differs for each person. And I also just read that if they demyelinization isn’t shown early on, it might indicate a less severe progression. I really only have one objective indication of it, which isn’t much. Well, in any case, it’s not likely that I have it.

            I’m still sitting up! I can’t believe it. This pill is working so well. I hope it doesn’t have crazy side effects, but so far so good.

            I know what you mean about being online. I’ve been able to do a lot of that from bed, but then my concentration is not so good, so I find I just have to stop writing. Commenting on blogs was about all I could do. It was just the right amount of exertion. And yes, for me it’s been a savior. I feel more in touch with the outside world. Talking with you in particular about all this has been very helpful. Thank you!

            I also know how you feel about the PT (although mine isn’t painful the way yours might be). I’m beginning to loathe those exercises. They seem to make my head feel worse, and by the time my head clears up, I have to do a second round of them. I tend to do as I’m told, but I’m finding myself wanting to skip them so my day isn’t ruined. I actually try to time them so they don’t interfere with something I want to do.

            I wonder if you might talk to your doctor or physical therapist about what you’re experiencing. They might agree with you and say you should wait longer before starting up again, or maybe they’ll bring you into it more gradually.

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          • “I’m still sitting up! I can’t believe it. This pill is working so well.”
            That’s great Tina.

            “Commenting on blogs was about all I could do.”
            Yeah, my posting and commenting volume still isn’t what it once was. Commenting is a lot easier since it doesn’t take the kind of focus and concentration that a substantive post does. My drafts tab is currently riddled with incomplete posts. While that’s always been true, it seems like there are a lot more in the last month or two. I keep typing things, realizing that I don’t believe in what I just typed, and saving it in drafts in the forlorn hope that I’ll eventually patch it up.

            The second doctor thought I should start the PT exercises as soon as the shot took care of the pain, which I guess technically is achieved, although the prolonged achy tenderness is making me uncertain. Maybe I’ll call and ask. I might also ask the first doctor if I keep that appointment. Honestly though, I’m not sure if I’m going to trust their advice on this, since none of them suggested rest to begin with. I’ve read that tendon healing can take 3-6 weeks, which is tempting me to just rest that long, with perhaps only the gentlest stretching.

            “Talking with you in particular about all this has been very helpful. Thank you!”
            Absolutely! We’ve helped each other out on this, and I’m grateful in return for your interest and moral support. Hopefully we’re both on the upswing!

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          • Update on the pill, modafinil…I ended up taking the other half and taking a nap anyways. This fatigue is insanely strong; this pill is often used for narcolepsy! Well in any case, it’s helping, even if I do still need a nap.

            Well, I’m going in for the BAER test today. There was a cancellation, so I’m getting in quickly. I don’t have as much anticipation about this one since now I finally realize these tests are just pieces of the puzzle.

            I’m impressed that you have drafts! And that they’re actually piling up! I usually just write then post. Occasionally I get my husband to read one first, especially if it’s philosophy. That’s great that you have material to work with and that you’re generating ideas. I’m sure you’ll get around to those later and they might even benefit from the time spent away from them. (Well, that’s how it works for me in my novel writing, anyways.) I’ve been toying with the idea of making videos, but that will require a lot of learning. iMovie seems fairly simple, but I’m not sure I’ll succeed in uploading the videos from there. More than likely the videos will be terrible, but hopefully at least funny in their lack of technical quality.

            I think it’s a good idea to ask the doctors what they think and tell them what you’re thinking about the rest. They might have a reason for getting you to start early that they aren’t telling you. I’m learning that doctors sometimes don’t tell you everything for various reasons. Or they might listen to your account, say you’re right and you should rest. Sometimes they don’t think of these things and they rely on you to give them the cue. Like for instance, when I went to the neurologist he asked me about my symptoms and whether I was experiencing fatigue. I just said yes, and explained what it was like, hoping my detailed description would click with some diagnosis. Luckily my husband was sitting there with me and he had the presence of mind to ask if there was anything I could take to help with this. Then I got this prescription, and this could really change a lot for me and improve my life significantly. I don’t think my neurologist had considered relieving my fatigue because he and I were both focused on finding a diagnosis. In other words, he was just thinking in a certain mode, but was open to suggestions. Similarly, your doctor could be setting up the PT time somewhat arbitrarily or just not seriously considering the rest time. You might want to print out whatever you read on tendon healing and see what the doc has to say about that. I’m finding with my docs anyways that they know patients will go home and Google and they don’t take offense to it so long as we don’t insist our internet sources have greater expertise than they.

            I’ve heard that PT can have significant results depending on how it’s done. Of course, I don’t know about your situation, but I would think the way it’s done is important and you’re right to be concerned about rest time, especially since you have evidence it really makes a difference.

            So the ache is still there? It seems like kind of a long time for an ache. I know you said it’s not bad enough to warrant ice/heat treatment, but it’s annoying that you still have to deal with that. I’d probably mention this to the doc too…at least if he says it’s normal that it should last this long, you won’t have to have that in the back of your mind.

            On a different topic, my little Geordie bear is turning out to be pretty much the awesomest dog ever. I know everyone says that about their babies, but this one learned in a few seconds that I didn’t want him to bring his bone inside the house. I went over to the door to let him in, saw the bone and walked away. I did this one more time. I wasn’t actually trying to teach him anything, but trying to figure out how I’d grab the bone out of his mouth when he came in (and worrying that I’d hurt his feelings). 🙂 When I went back to the door the third time, he dropped the bone and waited for me to open the door. I fully expected him to snatch it real quick just as I opened the door and make a mad dash inside the way our rascal Skippy used to, but he didn’t. Not only that, he now always leaves his bone outside! He also knows certain words and seems like he could learn more. I can tell he’s listening when I talk to him and he does this cute thing where he cocks his head to the side. He learned “tiger” the other day without any goading on my part and now associates the word with his tiger toy, which is differentiated from “ball”. I wonder how far I can go with this. So far he’s doing this without any real instruction. He even knows pointing and “Daddy” (a lot the dogs I’ve known just look at your finger when you point). Unfortunately I say so much nonsense to him I’m probably confusing him. Bad owner!

            Oh wait one more. 🙂 He watched Game of Thrones for a few minutes when a dire wolf on the screen started growling. Geordie usually growls at coyotes outside, but this time he growled very briefly upon waking, looked up at the screen and seemed to know that it was fake. He just watched the screen intently with his ears perked up. Once the dire wolf left, Geordie went back to sleep.

            Okay, I promise I’m done now! Geordie’s turning me into an absolute fool.

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          • Don’t get too impressed with the drafts thing. I’d say more than 90% of my posts are done like yours. Most of the ones that spend more than a day in drafts never end up seeing the light of day. So really, my drafts are mostly stillborns that I procrastinate deleting. (Some are rants that I thought better of; many contain reasoning that I ended up seeing as flawed.) Occasionally I’ll work on a post across multiple days, but, aside from when my shoulder limited my typing time, it’s the exception.

            I don’t know if I’ll ever do videos myself. I’m more of a writer, although I don’t rule out participating in someone else’s video. (Although I cringe whenever I see myself in a video.) On learning, I think a lot depends on how much of a production you want to make of it. Many on Youtube are just talking heads. I’ve watched some where people did it with their phone in the car. I really like the way the CrashCourse ones are done; I get the impression they’re taking about 30-45 minutes of talking and editing it down to around 10 minutes.

            On PT exercises and the ache, I think you’re right. Thank you for pushing me towards sense! I’ll ask the doctor. I left the card for the second doctor at home, but I’ll give them a call tomorrow (I feel obligated to ask them since they’re the ones who gave me the shot and exercises). And I do plan to keep my appointment with the first doctor, just to see what he says in light of what’s happened over the last three weeks.

            Geordie sounds pretty intelligent. None of the dogs that I’ve ever owned understood pointing. I think the trick with dogs is establishing consistent patterns. Most of them quickly recognize the patterns and adapt to them. I’ve always wondered what dogs perceive when they see something on TV. It seems like most of the time they don’t really see what’s on the screen (although I’ve heard stories of dogs watching TV), but sometimes they may hear something and think it’s in the room.

            It’s always tough to know if we’re interpreting them correctly. At least some of our perception of them is us projecting our emotions and feelings on them. But I think many primal things, like affection, are accurate, since we’re both social animals.

            Glad to hear the pill is helping, even if naps are still required. Good luck with the BAER test!

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          • Results on the BAER test are normal. I have some mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, normal always seems like a good thing. On the other hand, I feel like we simply need more data to work with to get a diagnosis. This wouldn’t have made a diagnosis definite, but I suppose it would have clarified something. I honestly don’t know what. But anyways, doesn’t matter now. Back to the waiting game.

            The good news about this is I got the same technician I like and was able to ask more questions about my results on the VEMP test. I found out that my expectation to have my dizziness cured with PT was unfounded. The dizziness (or head stuff, as I’m now calling it) is just another symptom, presumably caused by whatever caused a lesion to the vestibulospinal tract discovered by the VEMP test. I previously thought the lesion caused balance problems and the head stuff. So now I’m working on doing a great job on the balance exercises so I can hurry up and get out of the PT! Well I feel so much better knowing that those two issues are separated. I couldn’t understand why my balance was getting so good, yet I still felt horrible. Now it’s coming together.

            Well I don’t think I’ve ever heard you rant! I kind of want to check out some of those drafts. 🙂

            On the video thing, I tend to be the director/cameraman. I’ll probably have my husband do the reading since he has a professorial voice and I sound kind of young and twerpy, lacking the gravitas necessary for philosophy videos. It definitely won’t be a technical affair.

            I liked those CrashCourse videos too. I bet you’re right about how they made them. That would be a lot of work to do the editing. I’d go nuts if I had to do all that.

            I’m glad I could be of help and that you’re going to talk about your PT with your doctor. And not a bad idea keeping in touch with both doctors for the time being. It’s always nice to have an extra perspective. I was just talking about getting another neurologist to look at my case since it’s all so mysterious. Maybe I’ll be able to get some new insight.

            I think you’re right about the patterns. I’m considering getting a book about dogs and dog behavior, but lately I can’t get through the books I have.

            Geordie seemed interested in my computer screen for quite a while. I think the movement caught his eye and he wondered about it for a long time. So I went online and looked up “dog TV” while he was looking at the screen and found a video that was supposed to be for dogs. Geordie stared at the images of the dogs and seemed to enjoy it momentarily, but when the “relaxing” music came on, he kept looking at the speaker (a bluetooth speaker behind him), then he ran out of the room. I play music all day and only occasionally does it bother him. If it has a strange drum sound, he usually gets irritated by that. I wonder if he just didn’t find the music all that relaxing? (I didn’t either. There were loud twangy noises.) 🙂

            I just read that dogs perceive older TV technology as a series of still images, like a flip book, so the image is flickering and not fluid. If the images are played at a faster rate, as they are in current technology, the images appear to be moving as normal. I’d be curious to know how that’s known.

            Plus, dogs need to have the screen at eye level, just as we do. It’s usually too high, so that might explain why they usually don’t care. Geordie only noticed my laptop because his head was right next to it.

            I’m thinking about looking into this:

            http://dogtv.com/faq/

            Apparently they alter the images for dogs! How cool.

            I certainly project a lot of my emotion on him, but not as much as I have to do with other dogs!

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          • Well, at least each normal result eliminates one thing that may be wrong. I agree though, it would be nice to get to the diagnosis quicker. Did they explain what a “lesion on the vestibulospinal tract” entails? I would wonder if that was anything to be concerned about. (This reminds of a debate a few years ago on whether full body MRIs shouldn’t be standard treatment every five years. A doctor said it was a bad idea because it would give people a lot to freak out about since they weren’t familiar with all the assorted issues everyone has in their body.)

            I’ve historically regretted most of my rants. Before I blogged, when I commented at HuffPost and other sites, I’d occasionally rant, and commenting didn’t give you a way to save it and think about whether you really believed what you had just written. After backtracking a few times, I try to rein in the rants. (I don’t regret any blog post I’ve done btw, so apparently it helped. But this is why I rarely blog on current events, where there are lots of hasty rant opportunities.)

            The doctor’s aid urged me to start with the PT exercises. She said that it might help with the ache. (I explained that resting is the only thing that’s helped so far, but she persisted.) I’m to do the exercises but stop if I feel any pain during the actual exercise (“discomfort” is ok). She said it might hurt afterward but I could put ice on it :-\ My dad is urging me to ignore the !@#$% doctor and just rest it. Sigh. I might try doing the PT exercises but not walking and see if that combination works.

            That’s interesting about hi def TVs making a difference. I’ve always heard that dog’s eyes are more limited than ours, but if they can detect that old school video was a series of still images, they sound superior in that regard.

            DogTV? LOLS! Now I’ve seen it all. Essentially it’s the dog channel. I guess it was inevitable once we had the Golf channel. Seriously though, if I still had my dog I’d be thinking about it too.

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          • You know, the question about the lesion is a good one. I think I asked it, but I’m usually so muddle headed by the time I get in the doc’s office. I don’t believe we’re certain that it’s a lesion; I think he called it an abnormality. I don’t think there’s much of a difference here though. We can’t see a lesion on the MRI, but that could be because it’s too small. The VEMP test is pretty sensitive in detecting such things.

            In any case, I don’t think the vestibulospinal lesion itself is anything to be concerned about. They’re having me do PT to compensate for this problem, and this is focused on balance. I’m beginning to wonder if the main concern is that I have symptoms that point to other lesions, hidden ones. The technician for the VEMP said she doesn’t know what’s causing my dizziness and the VEMP result doesn’t explain it. That’s the one point I’m clear on as I had her repeat it several times. So maybe the neurologist is on the hunt for other lesions to explain my main symptoms. (I honestly don’t think my balance is that troublesome and it’s odd to me that the only objective evidence we have is for this.) The neuro said if I were in the early stages of MS, lesions might not be visible. So that’s why he wants to keep up with the MRIs.

            I’ve heard that lesions in the brain aren’t necessarily an indication that anything’s amiss. Sometimes people have a lot of MS-like lesions but they don’t mean anything! So that’s probably why the doctor said an MRI every 5 years could be a bad thing. There are probably lots of seeming-abnormalities that don’t cause problems.

            I know what you mean about commenting. It’s always a good thing to sit on an idea for a while, but commenting won’t let you do that. I get why you don’t do current events frequently…I’m the same way about that. For me it’s not so much that I’ll get into a heated debate, but because I usually don’t feel comfortable with my own opinions or don’t feel they’re fully formed (and informed).

            Nuts! So they’re making you do it anyway? Well it could be the right thing to do. And as you say, maybe leave off the walking for now and stick to their plan as much as you can without hurting yourself. I’d say just keep them informed about how it’s going. I know that I tend to hide what I’m feeling from my PT in order to impress her with my progress. This is totally stupid, I know. But I’ll even get up in the morning before my appt. and practice my balance moves so I can “pass the test”. Today I’m planning on telling her just how bad I feel instead of pretending everything’s good. Otherwise she’ll up the exercises like she did last time and I’ll find them beyond my scope. So maybe just keep in mind that they can’t know how it feels for you, so if you communicate well, they’ll know your level and won’t impose too much on you. It’s not whining, it’s information that they can’t access. If they take it as whining, they are jerks.

            Update on the dog channel. I doubt it will interest Geordie after all. He seems interested in the TV only because it takes him a second to determine whether the sounds and images are real. Once he knows that the noises are just annoying human entertainment, he ignores them. We watched an episode of Elementary last night and there was a barking dog, then a flashback of the same scene. The first time Geordie growled at the TV for a few seconds, then thought about it (maybe connecting the TV dog to the noises), then went to sleep. During the flashback he barely woke up—I just saw his ear twitch—and he simply dismissed the barking.

            I think our little Geordie is just too cultured for television. 🙂

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          • Glad to hear the lesion isn’t a problem. It sounds like they’re not even sure it’s there. Well, since you dislike the PT exercises so much, I hope you’re able to graduate past them soon. Hope the fatigue pills are still helping.

            I totally know what you mean about the doctor interactions. I often don’t think of questions until after I’ve left, and most doctors aren’t very accessible outside of the actual visit (and often then only for minutes). One of the doctors I had years ago actually gave patients his email address, and actually responded to questions! It’s sad that that is so exceptional.

            That’s exactly what I meant to say on current events. Often we don’t have complete information on what’s happening, but there are lots of people confidently talking like we do. Usually by the time I feel somewhat confident in my position about the event, the public attention has moved on. When I do comment on local events, I’m more likely now to urge caution in jumping to conclusions.

            I did the PT exercises last night, but without any resistance. So far so good. I’m not any more achy than before, but it’s clouded by the fact that I took ibuprofen the last couple of nights. (I had important meetings yesterday and today and didn’t want to be distracted from any possible lack of sleep from an aching shoulder.) I don’t plan to take any ibuprofen tonight and will probably try the exercises with minimal resistance tomorrow, so we’ll see.

            Good advice on keeping them informed. Thanks. Yeah, I have the same tendencies at times, and we definitely need to resist it. Although if I start seriously hurting again from the exercises, I may go back into rest mode for at least four weeks, regardless of what they say.

            Given the rapport we share with our dogs, it’s surprising how differently they perceive the world. They can’t see as many colors (notably red), can’t distinguish brightness as well as we can, and are pretty nearsighted, but their smell sensitivity and acuity is amazing. Geordie is probably more conscious of your particular combination of smells than your appearance.

            Geordie is probably better of not watching TV. It’ll just rot his brain 🙂

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          • Well I graduated from PT today! So glad to be done with shaking my head “yes” and “no” at the letter “A” while standing on a cushion. I was finally candid and told the therapist that I absolutely hate the way my head feels when I do these. Then I showed how great my balance is by doing a few lunges in perfect form. (Then paid the price later in the hallway as I left…good thing she didn’t see me limping out of there.) 🙂

            Fatigue pills definitely still helping. I did still take a three hour nap this afternoon, but I had a pretty rough day. Now I’m planning on spending tomorrow taking it easy and storing up energy to go see The Magic Flute on Sunday. My PT’s advice for me was pretty good: move on and get back to life. Go to the movies, go out to eat. Do things, but don’t overdo things. And step away from Google. 🙂

            I can see her point. There’s not much they can do for me if it’s a virus, and if it’s something else, they can’t know that now either. So might as well try to get on with life. Now I’m scheming to get back to OKC, though I know I’m not up for it yet. I just don’t think I can stay away from my mom any longer. If my brother meets me there, he’ll drive me around. But flying? It could be horrible.

            I have one more doctor appointment with my PCP, and I’m not sure what will really get done. I called him a while ago to ask whether it would be worthwhile to get further testing somehow with someone. He called back, I missed the call, so he said to make an appointment. Great. A doctor reachable by email would be heaven.

            I’m sorry you’re just getting started with your therapy, especially since you don’t have confidence it will work out. I hope it does work out! It sounds like you’re in a lot of pain since it’s keeping you up at night. Then not getting enough sleep compounds matters. I find that a bad night’s sleep can make wreak havoc for me and make whatever pain I’m in feel ten times worse.

            I don’t know about using the resistance just yet, unless they told you to. But maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about (“resistance” sounds very advanced to me!) 🙂 I tend to up the ante once the exercises become too easy, but maybe this is not their strategy for you.

            “Usually by the time I feel somewhat confident in my position about the event, the public attention has moved on.”

            I’d say this reflects that you’re a thoughtful person. Those who can keep up are either in the business of it or can’t know what they think they know. The latter are of course all over comments sections.

            In my case, I don’t even try to follow current events. My husband is a bit of a news junkie, and I just tell him to keep me informed on anything important. Of course, even if you are a news junkie, there’s still a lot that can’t be known. But my level of knowledge is usually even further removed.

            “When I do comment on local events, I’m more likely now to urge caution in jumping to conclusions.”

            A very valuable contribution indeed!

            On dogs, yes I just found that out about brightness. That dog TV website explained that they heighten the colors a bit to make the images more interesting to the dogs. I was sort of getting into the shows, actually. They’re really weird, but kind of relaxing. Maybe I’ll get dog TV just for me!

            Perhaps while I’m busy watching dog TV, Geordie will read Being and Time for me, then give me the digested version so I can blog about something I know nothing about. 🙂

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          • On your PT exercises, good deal! It doesn’t sound like they were doing much for you anyway, so I’m glad you were able to get rid of them. It does sound like the best thing to do right now is get back to life, to the extent you can, until either the virus works its way out or they find something on the MRIs.

            I didn’t catch that your mother was in OKC, but now I understand your desire to get there. I’m sure it’s painful not being able to go. Hope you can improve enough to get there soon. It’s times like this where America’s lack of a decent train system is frustrating. A lot of people can’t fly (my aunt is one of them) and reliable high speed train travel would make theirs, and everyone else’s, lives easier.

            I actually don’t mind my PT exercises in and of themselves. In fact, I’m hoping I can eventually graduate to full workouts. But I also don’t want to return to the December days where I couldn’t use my arm. I actually haven’t lost much sleep due to pain in the last few weeks; the ibuprofen was just me being cautious. I was supposed to start with resistance, but did the first session without it, again out of caution. Just did another session with very light resistance. Definitely felt it this time, particularly in one of the exercises. Hoping I won’t be hurting in a few hours.

            I do follow current political, technology, and science news, although I’m not nearly as much of a news junkie as I used to be. I generally don’t pay much attention to crime, sports, or celebrity news. There was some nationally covered big crime story in Florida that my relatives living there were stunned that I knew nothing about. I might actually do some posts on politics later this year, although they’re more likely to be big picture thoughts than on the story of the week.

            LOLS! If you’re considering having Geordie read it, maybe you should move on. I am enjoying your posts on it, but I don’t envy you reading it. I’ve never been able to get into continental philosophy myself. Too much ambiguity and obscure terminology that is either referring to mundane concepts or concepts so profound that no one can agree on what they are.

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          • Trains would be so awesome! I think that’s half the reason I love Europe so much. One of my best memories of being there was riding on a older train in Germany (so much better than the fast TGV, which feels kind of like an airplane). I went with a friend and we had an entire compartment to ourselves. And the windows opened, which felt like a big deal. It was so relaxing and fun (although I did sleep with my possessions strapped to my body in interesting ways.) We sometimes used the trains as motels to save money. We’d take it at night, then arrive in a new city in the morning and go exploring. I’m not sure I’d be able to do that now that I’m older and more dependent on the creature comforts, but I’ll never forget that part of the experience.

            I also loved traveling by ferry in Greece. There’s no assigned seating or other obnoxious measures to keep people locked in. You get to wander all around and watch islands pass by, seagulls chasing after you. Amazing. If I lived in Greece, I’d probably take a ferry just for the hell of it.

            I’m glad the exercises aren’t terrible for you. Crossing my fingers that they work better this time around!

            I’m looking forward to your posts on politics. I tend to find the big picture stories much more interesting. Actually, I kind of have to have that big picture aspect in order to find the particular story interesting, unless we’re talking about something huge.

            So you’re not into continental philosophy, but does that mean you’re into analytic? I’ve never been able to read that stuff…it’s just beyond my level and feels like reading math.

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          • On the exercises, thanks. Three hours out and still (mostly) ok. I’m getting cautiously optimistic, although I do have a new slight twinge when reaching to certain positions.

            I can’t claim to read a lot of philosophy (particularly the scholarly stuff), but when I do, it’s likely to be analytical, or more likely their writing for lay audiences. Maybe it’s my programming background, but their approach works better for me. Call me a philistine, but I like precise language and clearly defined terms. It makes it harder to disguise poor arguments.

            Incidentally, my issues with ambiguous language aren’t only with continental philosophy. Far too much scholarship in the humanities and social sciences is written in a style that I find frequently obfuscating, with lots of verbiage that, when unpacked, isn’t saying much. A while back, I did some reading on ancient religions, and I found the scholarly treatises maddeningly vague on key points. When a paper is ostensibly about justice and ancient Mesopotamian religion, and you reach the end and can’t be sure if those religions featured justice, that strikes me as a serious quality issue.

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          • A new twinge? I hope this is a temporary thing! Maybe the new twinge is caused by some part compensating for the injured part? Just speculating of course.

            I think it was Frege I tried to read once. Something about “Venus” and “the morning star”? I couldn’t figure out what he was getting at.

            I agree on academic writing in the humanities and social sciences. I tend to think that if the writing isn’t clear, the thinking isn’t clear. I’ve found that there are some exceptions that pay off though, Kant being a good example. Some of the important philosophers are dealing with ideas so new that it’s all they can do to get them out there. The Critique of Pure Reason has two editions (A and B) that sometimes run side by side, and these have their own footnotes. These are probably the ugliest pages I’ve ever seen, but useful if you want to know where Kant changes his mind about things. It’s as if you are in the process of struggling through these thoughts with him, a frustrating and exciting experience all at once. Kant was really keen on defining everything precisely, but I found contradictions within the same paragraph. And not hidden contradictions due to ambiguous language, but shockingly blatant ones, like “Time is X….time is not X.” These were terrible mistakes and totally unintentional, but they were forgivable when I caught sight of the larger picture and knew that Kant was really trying.

            But yes, I’ve read books like the ancient Mesopotamian religion book you’re talking about. You wonder how such books get published.

            On a totally different topic, I’m actually working on co-authoring an article on AI and ethics, a topic I know nothing about, except what I’ve learned from your blog. It’s with Steven at the Leather Library. It’s going to be a popular article, fairly short, max 1500 words. He wants to try to get it published in the Institute of Ethics and Emerging Technologies. They asked him to go more in-depth and I’m wondering if you know of any articles I could read on the subject? Preferably short. 🙂

            We’re thinking about these questions: What is sentience? What would it mean for AI to have sentience? Do sentience beings require rights?

            Of course when Steven asked me to help with this, I thought of you. Also, I’m wondering what some of your top questions/areas of interest are on the subject.

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          • Luckily the twinge faded. I’m a little sore today, but soreness (as opposed to outright pain) I can totally handle. Hopefully it’ll fade in the next few days. It felt good to be doing something again.

            I totally get what you mean about the difficulty of exploring new concepts. Often there’s no word for the concept you’re trying to describe, so you end up using analogies, metaphors, etc, and sometimes inventing a new word. Sometimes you explicitly avoid using the conventional word for a concept in order to try to get people to ponder that concept more closely. Bellah in his book sometimes avoided the term “gods” in favor of “powerful beings” to avoid all the baggage that comes in with the “god” word; although I found his writing frustrating, I understood what he was trying to do.

            Unfortunately, the difference between a work that is difficult because it’s groundbreaking and one that is difficult because the author is confused, engaging in sophistry, or just a poor writer, often isn’t readily apparent. And I fear there’s a lot more works in the poorly written category than the groundbreaking one.

            I think a lot of this type of material gets published because faculty need to publish, publishers need material, reviewing intellectual writing is hard, and, in some fields, no one wants to be too harsh because it might come back on them when their own work is under review. The result is that every so often those fields get embarrassed by a Sokal affair.

            On AI and sentience, I’d say my most profound realizations came from reading neuroscience rather than technology, including material from Michael Graziano (although not that wretched NYTimes article), Michael Gazzaniga, and Steven Pinker. This will sound strange coming from a programmer, but most computer experts don’t understand minds, nor most physicists, despite their frequent prognostications on it. On the philosophy front, I’ve seen some good work on this lately by David Chalmers (which frankly surprised me). And you probably want to look at this year’s Edge responses about machines that think.
            http://edge.org/annual-question/what-do-you-think-about-machines-that-think
            Good luck!

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          • Thanks for the info! I’m finding this stuff intriguing. I’m supposed to be focusing on the ethics question, but just yesterday it occurred to me that phenomenology might actually add something to the AI discussion. So I googled “phenomenology AI” and found that this area is already being explored, especially in the area of intentionality. Husserl seems to be the important figure here, although Kant too.

            It’s not surprising to me that computer experts and physicists don’t have a strong grasp on mind. I’m realizing that it takes very different kinds of thinkers to approach AI, and for once philosophers aren’t excluded. It’s an interesting melting pot where a lot of different areas can contribute.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oops, forgot to answer about my own questions / areas of interest on this subject. For AI and ethics, I recently did a post along these lines: http://selfawarepatterns.com/2014/12/04/when-should-we-consider-an-ai-a-fellow-being/
            Be sure to check out the discussion in the comments.

            If you’ve read my other posts, the big issue for me is people’s fear of AI, mostly because people like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk keep playing it up. I think a lot of that fear is a projection of their fear of other humans and animals, and I’ve done a few posts explaining why I don’t see it as realistic. If you think any of it might be of value, feel free to check out the “Mind and AI” category on my blog.

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          • I reread your post and took away even more the second time. I will check out the Mind and AI category…I’m sure I’ll find a wealth of insights there.

            Funny thing about the mirror test. Just last night Geordie started growling at his own refection in the window (it was dark outside). It was an intense growl, different from the ones he makes when he hears coyotes in the distance. I tried to talk to him to get him to stop, but he wouldn’t. Then I wondered if there was a coyote just on the other side of the window, so I sat up. When I sat up, Geordie flinched back as he saw my reflection too, and he stopped growling and turned to look back at me. Then he looked back at the window and I waved my hands in the air to show him what was going on. He looked back and forth between the reflected images and the stuff going on behind him. I pointed to a painting in on the wall behind us and he looked at it, then looked back at the reflection. Then he curled up and went back to sleep. I’ve done similar things using FaceTime on my laptop. Now what does all that mean? I sense that he could see the reflection for what it was, but didn’t care about it except in so far as he could establish there was no threat. I wonder if dogs can have self-awareness, they just don’t find it all that interesting.

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          • Self awareness is difficult to establish and the mirror test is controversial in some quarters. Babies don’t pass it, but scientists have established another way that they have self awareness at birth, which only demonstrates the extent to which we’re born with innate programming.
            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/22/babies-self-awareness_n_4323481.html?utm_hp_ref=science&ir=Science

            The mirror test might be more a test of intelligence than self awareness. Of course, self awareness might only happen in fairly intelligent species. Our intuitions aren’t reliable on this. I know I certainly felt like my dogs were self aware, seemingly acting guilty after they did something bad (like peeing on the carpet) or vengefully chewing on a chair leg when I wouldn’t let them out. It was a powerful feeling, but looking back, I can’t say that it wasn’t me projecting my own mental states onto them.

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          • I totally get that. I know I have a soft spot for just about all dogs.

            My shoulder hurt after tonight’s PT session, bad enough to need ice. It’s still aching as I write this. I’m sure the doctor’s office would urge me to continue at this point (they indicated I might need to ice it), and I won’t quit after one bad session, but my faith just got weakened.

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          • Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that. It’s so annoying how they tell you to expect the pain, but then there’s no way of knowing whether the PT is working. Maybe you can pin them down for a time frame of when they expect you to feel some improvement? That way you have some sense of whether things are progressing according to plan, or whether you’re suffering for no reason. My physical therapist was able to tell me that I’d probably notice some improvement in a week. She was actually right, but improvement to her meant good balance, not what I cared about. Still, I have to admit, she got it right.

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          • Since the doctor’s assistant told me that I might have to ice it, I’m going to wait and see. I took ibuprofen last night. As that fades from my system this morning, I’ll see how it feels. But I’m not even at the resistance I was supposed to start with. The lightest of the therabands they prescribed start at 2-6 lbs (depending on how far it’s stretched); Saturday and last night I used a 1.25 lb weight disk. Next session (tomorrow evening), I might try using no resistance again on the exercises that are hitting the injured tendon the hardest, or maybe find something around the house that only weighs 8-10 ounces.

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          • I hope you’re feeling all right now that the ibuprofen’s out of your system. Too bad you’re not right here. We have a million of those bands throughout the house and I bet one is at your level. I’ve used a water bottle to lift weights before. You could fill it to meet your needs and voila!

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          • Thanks Tina. I’m ok today. Good idea with the water bottle. A friend also reminded me today that I still have some of her micro-weights lying around, 0.5 lbs, so I might try them (and then try to remember to return them when I’m done).

            Also, without thinking, I was supersetting the exercises to save time, but that may have been too intense. I’ll probably try making sure I rest at least one minute between sets.

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          • I did the same thing with my vestibular exercises. I just wanted to be done with it as quickly as possible. Shaking your head for ninety minutes is not a good thing, though, and I of course had to learn that the hard way.

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          • 90 minutes of head shaking?!? That sounds truly awful. No wonder you hated them. I’m not sure I could have done that. Glad you’re rid of them.

            Ok, I feel whiny now. I currently only have four assigned exercises, 3 sets of 10 each. (I was doing a lot more back in Dec/Jan.) Supersetting lets me get through them in well under 10 minutes, but doing them straight shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. The session is brief enough that I’ve actually been sneaking in a few unrelated exercises (none that stress the shoulder in any way).

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          • Oh I meant 90 seconds! LOL! My exercises weren’t really all that bad. I’m just a big baby. I think the worst thing about it was repeating them three times a day. Each exercise was 90 seconds (3 X 30), and altogether it took about 20 min. per session. So an hour each day…not bad.

            I got out of the PT thing just in time…now the nerves in my legs are messing with me and I don’t know if I’d “graduate” so quickly. The past few days I’ve been feeling the “head stuff” moving all through my body. I spent a while thinking about how to describe the feeling and I realized that it’s most similar to a mild electric shock. I didn’t think of that because I’ve only been shocked once, and that was only for a second—not minute, LOL—when I moved a sticker on a tens machine before turning it off. So now I have these involuntary jerks, muscle tightness and twitching, and that electric feeling in my legs and head. This is the weirdest stuff I’ve ever experienced. I notice when I first start walking, I’m not quite certain what will happen. I’m still crossing my fingers that this is a virus working it’s way through its phases. The fact that it keeps changing makes me wonder if it’s like a cold with one symptom, then another, then another. Although these are some pretty bizarre symptoms (and I won’t bore you with the more exhaustive list).

            Going to the PCP tomorrow. Don’t really know why, but I guess I’m going.

            I’m glad to hear you’re doing less than before and starting slowly. I don’t blame you for sneaking in other exercise. I’d probably do the same thing…it’s like, “Well, while I’m at it…” I tend to get motivated to do more once I’ve started, at least when it comes to working out (not vestibular exercises).

            How’s the walking coming along? Are you still doing that?

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          • Ah, good. I feel better now. Still, 20 minutes of 30 second bouts of head shaking doesn’t sound pleasant at all.

            I would definitely let your PCP know about those new symptoms. It might still be a virus, but that’s starting to sound maybe a little alarming. Hopefully it’s nothing, but best to be sure.

            I’m still staying away from the walks, since not doing them appears to be what led to my improvement. I’m definitely missing them, but the weather here has been either cold or wet lately (or both) which has been making it easier to skip them. Hopefully by the time the weather clears up I’ll be able to start them up again.

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          • I guess in your case, bad weather is a good thing then! Maybe you’ll be ready just in time for good weather. Tucson is perfect this time of year and I’m regretting missing hiking season. The lupine are now blooming and I imagine there’s a lot of them on my favorite mountain hike. Oh well. Hopefully our time will come, dear friend!

            I will let my PCP know. I actually got myself organized this time and wrote out everything in detail. There’s just too much going on to count on my remembering.

            I don’t know why, but I feel like this is a virus and I’m experiencing the grand finale. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. I just haven’t read accounts of MS in which there was an evolution of symptoms like this, not in the beginning stage. It’s usually something really transient or one thing that then goes away. A lot of people don’t even notice the symptoms because it’s only for a few days. What I have is definitely not something ignorable and it’s gone on for months, which would be unusual I think for MS. Plus all these symptoms and no MRI evidence of lesions? That seems strange to me.

            On the other hand, I try not to hope because I don’t want to be disappointed. It might sound pessimistic, and maybe it is. But I find comfort in pessimism. At worst, I’ll be prepared; at best, I’ll be happy to be wrong!

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          • Well, the first doctor stuck to his guns, saying I had a “high grade partial thickness tear” and arthritis of the acromion. But, since the second doctor had “initiated treatment” (I guess since he gave me the injection), he said he’d leave me in that second doctor’s care. (I had a vague feeling that I was being thrown out.)

            Just googled “high grade tear”. Apparently grade is related to what percentage of the tendon’s thickness is torn. Wish I’d known that when he said it. It might have allowed me to ask what percentage he thought it was, although “high” usually means over 50%.

            Since neither the MD who analyzed the MRI nor the second doctor mentioned anything about high grade, I’m skeptical. But not so skeptical that I won’t be even more cautious now with the PT exercises, if I even continue them. If it does come to surgery, I think I’d prefer the second doctor anyway. He treats a lot of baseball players on my university’s team, and came highly recommended.

            That’s an excellent idea; writing down everything you want to cover. I sometimes do that, and it usually at least ensures that I’ll mention everything. Lamentably, it doesn’t insure that they will catch it all. I’ve also found it helps to prioritize what you want to mention.

            Best of luck with the PCP. Hope the new symptoms aren’t anything to worry about.

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          • Oh how egos abound! My husband sought out a second opinion when he was told he needed surgery, and the first surgeon clearly didn’t like that. Of course, he pretended he didn’t mind, but there was a noticeable difference in the way he behaved thereafter, even though we ended up going with him.

            So did doctor #1 say PT would cause further harm? It sounds like it would, being a tear and all. I hope not though. That would put you in an awkward position with doc #2 and leave you wondering whether or not to be compliant.

            I’m really glad I wrote everything down. I always freeze up in the office and forget everything. Good idea to prioritize them too. I’ll have to remember that for next time. I think you’re right that they don’t catch it all. I think when you have a long list, they listen for certain things and ignore the rest.

            So the news today was a bit distressing. I got a phone call this morning from the neurologist’s secretary who asked me if I wanted to do a spinal tap. This came after I told her my new symptoms which she relayed to the neuro. I said no right away, just out of fear. Then I talked to my husband about it and did some googling, and realized it doesn’t really sound all that bad, and it might show something (though it won’t be conclusive, if it doesn’t show abnormalities, this would be a high indication it’s not MS when considering the other test results). Then I went to the PCP appointment and asked him about it. He thought I should do it. So it looks like I’m doing it. Unfortunately, the neurologist is out of town until Monday, and then it’ll take about a week to get in to do it after he sends the orders, then it could take weeks to get results. More waiting.

            The other sort of scary stuff: the PCP said my symptoms are strongly indicative of MS. He made it sound like it’s either MS or I’m in the medical mystery realm. If the spinal tap results come up normal, he’s sending me to the Mayo clinic.

            I was surprised to hear that my symptoms sound like MS to him since they’ve been evolving and going on for months, and most of what I read described attacks happening in short periods, days, weeks. So I asked him about it, and he said there are different kinds of MS and I might have the primary-progressive kind. I actually knew there were different kinds, but I ignored all descriptions of PPMS in all my research, figuring it was just really rare and not worth thinking about. I’m feeling sort of blindsided by this prospect and really stupid for not thinking of PPMS. Now I’m a little scared. If this is PPMS, these symptoms are changing pretty rapidly…I really can’t bring myself to even think about what that will mean. Plus, there’s nothing they can do for PPMS, no way to slow it down the way they can for RRMS. The only good news here is that I won’t necessarily die soon.

            BUT, I must remind myself, I haven’t been diagnosed with this! I just wish I didn’t have to wait for freaking ever to get the spinal tap and results.

            Wow, this has been a long journey! Thanks for letting me unload on you. You’ve seen me through a lot of insane ups and downs.

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          • I didn’t think to ask the first doctor about the PT exercises. His assistant had advised not to do anything involving resistance or weights arguing that I could turn a partial tear into a full tear, and I’d imagine the doctor would have said much the same. Indeed, the question is how much trust to put in the second doctor. I really don’t know. I may just go back to doing the exercises without resistance, or maybe not at all. In any case, the examination today left me hurting somewhat, so I skipped tonight’s session.

            Tina, I can’t imagine what’s going through your mind with all this. I think you’re right to resist focusing on the worse case scenario. The PCP also may just be discussing that scenario to prepare you for anything in between. It really stinks that you have to wait for the test, since I’m sure you’re eager to get it over with. If you haven’t tried already, it might be worth talking with the neurologist’s office. Maybe there’s someone there who can order the test. Hopefully they’ll be able to do it and eliminate MS, or at least the worst varieties.

            On unloading, you’re most certainly welcome. Any time. Thanks to you too for allowing me to ruminate on my issues with you. Please do keep me updated, at least as long as it’s helpful for you.

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          • It sounds like there’s differing POVs on the PT. In light of that, it makes sense to listen to what you’re body’s telling you. There’s the fatigue that comes from exertion, but also not-right pain. I’m the worst when it comes to this sort of thing, but it sounds like you’re being mindful of it.

            My emotions about the matter have settled down a bit since yesterday. I think you may be right about the doctor preparing me. I get the feeling I’m going to fall into the medical mystery category. I have no reason for thinking this…it’s not quite wishful thinking since being a mystery is pretty bad too. I like to be able to prepare myself, to do something, be proactive. But whatever it is, I feel like I’ll be able to handle it (especially given that I have no choice.) 🙂

            I am actually working with the neurologist on getting the spinal tap. Unfortunately, the spinal tap won’t definitively rule out MS, but it will come close (I think?) if the results are negative. And if the results are positive, it doesn’t necessarily mean I have MS. There must be visible lesions in multiple places over different times. It’s really hard to get a confirmed diagnosis and can take years. Same goes for determining what kind of MS it is. It’s a real lesson in patience.

            I will keep you updated and you know I’m here if you want to talk.

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          • My current thinking is to do the PT, since if it isn’t a high grade tear, PT will benefit it, but, just in case, not to use resistance on the exercises that stress the supraspinatus tendon. The pain Monday felt like it was in the supraspinatus area, so if that happens again with no resistance, I’ll probably shelve those exercises. But I’m holding off until the ache from yesterday’s examination, which involved several painful strength tests (all of which I felt I passed, despite the pain), subsides.

            Glad they’re making progress on getting the spinal tap set up. It sounds like you’re in for a long haul. Someone told me today that MS is often a diagnosis they give for mystery nervous system ailments, and that sometimes people who get the diagnosis discover years later that they had didn’t have it. (It’s what happend to this person’s aunt.) So, glad they’re being conservative until or unless they see lesions or some other definite sign.

            Thanks. I remain grateful for you listening. Let’s definitely keep each other updated. In the meantime, be sure to take care of yourself.

            Liked by 1 person

          • It sounds like you have a handle on the different kinds of pain and where it should come from. I don’t think I’d deal too well with the pain myself, regardless of where it came from.

            News here. I just got results back from a blood test checking for viruses that are known to cause my symptoms. No virus. I asked the secretary a few questions about that to find out if there could be any other viruses, but it looks like the virus theory is out the window. Now it’s really looking like MS or nothing. But I’ll wait and see what the doctor says in reply.

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          • I have to admit that the pain lately hasn’t been debilitating by any stretch. If it hadn’t been for December and January, and my fear of regressing back to it, I probably wouldn’t even be thinking too much about it, except for being mildly annoyed at the aching.

            Well, I’ll keep my hope up for nothing then, or maybe something not yet discussed. And remember what we discussed before, even if it is MS, I know people leading relatively normal lives with it. I know that wouldn’t be true for all varieties, but it seems like there remain a range of possibilities. And usually catching things early gives you more options and better chances.

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          • So glad to hear the pain isn’t debilitating. I know what you mean by the fear though. I had this insane charley horse that left me unable to walk for a couple of days, and now whenever I get the slightest twitch there I get very cautious.

            You know, the more I think about it, the more I don’t know if I wish for the wild card. If the wild card likely meant “some kind of virus” then I’d be a little more optimistic about it and I’d expect these symptoms to go away on their own. Now I don’t know what “nothing” means. As you say, if it’s MS, at least I know somewhat what to expect and it’s not the end of the world. I think I’m emotionally equipped to deal with that. I’m also lucky that I don’t have to worry about holding down a job as many others with MS do. Even if it is Primary Progressive MS, it’s not like I’ve been told I’m gonna die in six months. So I’m in a funny place right now, sort of hoping it is MS! I think a lot of this attitude has to do with a guy from my philosophy class who came down with some mysterious disease. He died last year and no one ever knew what it was that he had. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for him to have no idea what was taking over, no diagnosis, no one to relate to. He was perfectly healthy in the first year I had classes with him, then in a couple of years was in a wheelchair. It happened really fast.

            I know I’m being unrealistically pessimistic. It could be that the wild card is not very bad. Maybe this will all go away on its own. But oh the suspense!

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          • I’m sure the waiting, along with the inability to do anything about it, must be awful. I know how hard this advice is to follow, but it seems like the best thing to do is get into something that will interest you and get your mind off of it. Maybe now’s the time to start reading some interesting fiction, or some deep philosophy that will absorb you for a while. Maybe the AI article you told me about will help.

            I know this isn’t in the same league, but a few years ago when my toe was infected and they couldn’t find an antibiotic to fight the infection, I started reading about quantum mechanics, just to have something interesting to get my mind off of the situation. I won’t pretend like it completely banished the anxiety, but it did allow me to focus on something else for a while. (Eventually they gave me the strongest nastiest antibiotic available, with all kinds of nasty side effects, which worked.)

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          • Yes, very good advice. I’m working on the AI article right now, actually. It’s pretty strange writing about something I know nothing about, but kind of interesting too. Certainly challenging. Also learning how to co-author something. This is a totally new thing for me.

            I had to force myself not to google something health-related earlier. I think that’s the first step. Now I just have to keep doing that. Lather, rinse, repeat.

            I can’t imagine reading about quantum mechanics while in pain. That would take some serious will and concentration. Then again, probably not that much of a challenge for you!

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          • Well, they gave me excellent drugs for the pain. It wasn’t the pain in and of itself I was worried about, but what might happen if they couldn’t kill the infection. The doctor wouldn’t discuss it, but it didn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out where it might lead.

            Reading QM was definitely challenging, but it was interesting. I only wish I remembered more of it now. I read it too fast. Maybe one day I’ll return to the book and do a refresh.

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          • Wow, that must have been scary. I imagine the doctor’s not discussing it must have been scary too. Well good thing that turned out all right!

            I’ll remember the way you handled your predicament next time I start thinking up gloomy scenarios.

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  4. That’s awesome Tina! That’s awesome you were able to find Geordie.

    We got a Cavalier this summer. First dog any of us ever owned, and we absolutely love him! His name is Beauchamp (we pronounce it Beechum). My wife said she read that dogs can be very therapeutic and I can say from experience that is certainly true.

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  5. He looks like a little dear! As you know I am a cat person, but all our cats have come from the shelter (or were taken in as strays). It breaks my heart to think of people buying from breeders and pet stores when there are so many animals in need, sitting forlornly in cages. I think Geordie has found a great home!
    Good news on the MRI! It is frustrating not to have a diagnosis, but better to have ruled out certain possibilities.

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    • That’s how I feel about it all too. I was a volunteer dog walker for a time, but I gave it up…it was pretty heartbreaking and after one incident, I just couldn’t do it anymore. The pound is really an awful place and the dogs clearly hate all the noise and lack of human attention. It was quite a challenge to get in and out of the cages, because they really wanted out. And some of them even knew how to make their way out of the building altogether. Those jail breaks were always terrifying because there was a busy road they’d always run to. I learned to get their attention, then run the other way. (That was terrifying too because I could never be sure they’d chase me. They usually did though!)

      Some of those cats at the shelter were fantastic. There was even one who looked sort of like grumpy cat:

      http://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/544409/Grumpy-Cat-worth-more-than-Hollywood-stars

      Yes, I suppose the MRI results are good, although I was hoping they’d find something. I never thought I’d cringe to hear that some test result came back normal, but at this point I’m pretty fed up with the search for a diagnosis.

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      • Yeah, it must be really hard, not knowing the cause of your symptoms. And hard to treat them.
        I wanted to volunteer at our shelter for a long time, and my husband said no because he thought it would be too upsetting for me, which is probably true. I ended up serving on the board, where I could help the animals in a way that didn’t tear my heart out every day. I admire anyone who has the strength to care for those animals day in and day out, and deal with the cruelty cases. Even now, every time I go in the doors of the shelter, I want to bring every animal home! (I try to stay away during kitten season.)
        Grumpy Cat… I adore her 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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