Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tough Choices

For those of you who don't know, an EMG/NCS is an unpleasant neurological test we do. It's to determine nerve and muscle function, and involves running electrical shocks through limbs, then sticking needles into various muscle groups. It's not horrible, but not fun, either. But it gives us a lot of useful information.

Anyway, a guy called in today to schedule one. His internist had ordered it.

My secretary explained the procedure to him, needles, shocks, blood, gore, etc. He didn't really care, but had very specific dates and times he could come for the study.

As the conversation went on it turned out that the dates and times he wanted the study done coincided with when his Mother-in-law would be at his house, and he felt the EMG/NCS was preferable to seeing her.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember that test. It wasn't fun but not bad. needed after I sent 10,000 volts through my arm while trying to fix the Krypton laser in the lab. I didn't have any pain for two hours and the triage nurse was a little "shocked" when I told her what happened and I was rushed in.
I didn't think it was necessary that I needed to be rushed in right away. I ended up with some muscle death and nerve damage in my right arm.

Anonymous said...

I've had 2 of those...no, make that 1 and one half. The Docs were trying to figure out if I had carpal tunnel or overuse syndrome. Dr. #1 gave me a complete EMG/NCS. Dr. #2 stopped before using the needles. So I said to him, "what about the needles?" And he replied,"Most people don't like the needles, so I don't use them." Hunh?????? Whatever.

Anonymous said...

Meh, it's not so bad. I get one at least every 6 months due to the oh-so-fun double whammy of carpal tunnel and myasthenia gravis. The only thing that bugged me is last time they did a single fiber EMG I ended up with a big ol' bruise on my forehead. I walked around at work for a week with people whispering behind my back "why doesn't she leave that abusive boyfriend of hers?"

Love the blog Dr. Grumpy. Almost makes me want to call up my neurologist and leave a wacky message just for kicks! (or blog fodder)

Maha said...

I just felt a couple of shocks in my arms reading that! I can completely sympathize with that man's dislike of MIN - frankly given the choice between being electrocuted and stabbed vs seeing some crazy old country relatives, I'd also pick the former.

Anonymous said...

Anon with the laser- you'd have made the same choice given more scheduling options.

jamiegirl said...

Dr. Grumpy...if I ever make it to the end of school I swear I'm going to find you so I can have a co-worker who makes me laugh everyday. Thank you...I always look forward to reading you because I know your strange, odd, human patients and your reaction to them will make me giggle. Something I could always use.

RxKerBer said...

My husband has idiopathic peripheral neuropathy and he's had a few of these. He hates them. I think he'd rather spend time with my mom than have another one. But then again, maybe not.lol.

Amanda B. said...

I scheduled my next MRI and follow up so I could leave my in-laws early. It's a beautiful thing.

Anonymous said...

IMHO, EMGs are happy fun time compared to an HSG.*shudder*

WarmSocks said...

I didn't think those tests were nearly as bad as people had led me to believe. One positive aspect of nerve damage is that you don't feel the needles being stuck in your feet :) Then again, the dr did use a little numbing spray before inserting the needles.

Melissa said...

Oh, my husband has to have one of those every so often.... he's got spondulolysthesis and every so often the VA tells him he needs a new one to see if his nerve damage is getting any worse. He thinks they're awful!!

AnotherInvisible said...

I've had a couple; they don't bother me that much. A resident was watching the last time I had one. I had increased insertional activity, so the specialist kept pushing on the needles. His assistant would freeze the screen so that the new doctor could see what it looked like. "One, two, three...okay, one, two, three...oh, missed it - okay, one, two, three."

After years without a firm diagnosis (which I got at that appointment), I was glad as hell to be part of someone's training. If it helps one person be taken seriously in the future, it was worth it.

 
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