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3strokes
October 21st, 2007, 11:05 AM
Sunday, 23Sep:
Regular day. Swam and went to gym.

Monday, 24 Sep:
Went to work in the morning. Around 09:30, slight pain in left hip. By 10:00 had radiated down thigh and foreleg. Reminiscent of sciatica pains of a few years back. By 10:30, it was getting worse so I decided to head for home and Tylenols and rest and stretching and Epsom soaking and whatever else I could think of (or remember).

Tuesday, 25 Sep:
Pain so intense in left leg from hip down to ankle that I could not put any weight on it. Had to crawl on all fours to move between bedroom and bathroom. Ordered a pair of forearm crutches by phone so as to be able to move with "some" dignity -although I live alone- in the flat.

Wesdnesday 26 Sep:
After two sleepless nights (where Tylenol 3, I had around the house after my earlier rib fracture, neither diminished the pain nor would put me to sleep), I called a taxi to which I crutched my way and had him take me to the Emergency Room at the Ottawa Civic.
After a three-hour wait (usual in Ontario) the ER doctor ordered X-rays and moved my leg around a bit. X-rays showed "not too bad" he said. He then prescribed "pain-killers" and told me that if I didn't feel better after four weeks, to "seek medical help".
I do not have a family doctor.
Later, discovered that the pain-killer he had prescribed contained a very strong narcotic, Oxycodone, and Ibuprofen. It barely managed to take the sharp edge off the pain a couple of hours after ingesting two tablets, its effects dissipating within three or four hours. That meant going to bed around 21:30 and waking up around 01:30 and not being able to go back to sleep till about 04:00

Saturday 29 Sep:
Saw my Chiropractor who thought it might me either severe sciatica (recurrence of my old one L5-S1) or possibly, from the description and location of pain, a pseudo-sciatica (inflamation of the Piriformis). An MRI would help, she said.
A Government-paid MRI in Ontario, cannot be requested by a Chiropractor and I can't afford an immediate one in Quebec (some $800).
I visited a walk-in clinic where the doctor, filled in the form requesting an MRI (which might be done seven or eight months later).


Sunday 30 Sep:
The pain got so bad that my girlfriend (who was out of town for the weekend) insisted that I request an ambulance to take me back to the ER. Thankfully another doctor saw me (again after about four hours) but he asked questions that the first one hadn't; he asked about my prostate (Yes, I have a history and had been having problems for the past few weeks). He ordered an emergency MRI and told me to "find" a G.P. or family doctor for follow-ups.

Monday 01 Oct:
They call me at night. WouldI accept an MRI, Tuesday morning at 07:00? You bet I would.

Tuesday 02 Oct:
07:00 MRI done. I requested that the results be sent to my Urologist (with whom I had an appointment a few days later). They do NOT send copies to Chiropractors.

Saturday 06 Oct:
I go to another walk-in clinic where I'm told they're accepting new patients. The doctor there is impatiently looking at her watch and realizing it's not something for which she can prescribe a couple of aspirins (and don't call ever again), dismisses me. She does tell me about a new clinic in the suburbs where they accept new patients (but Monday is a Statutory holiday, so "call them on Tuesday".)

Monday 08 Oct:
Another ambulance call, another visit to the ER where I'm bluntly told that they can't follow up on MRIs, can't renew prescriptions and to "find myself a family doctor".

Tuesday 09 Oct:
I rent a wheelchair. I had been using the crutches since the 25th of September, but even without any weight on it, when my left leg was hanging vertically, the pain was intense and I had to go to work. (No sick days allowed with this employer.)
I called that clinic in the burbs and asked to be seen and taken by a doctor (any doctor) as a new patient. They give me an appointment for Thursday the 11th with Dr. W

Thursday 11 Oct:
Finally I meet Dr. W who tells me that she has "stopped" accepting new patients and that he receptionist had made a mistake by giving me an appointment. I had barely given her a hint as to why I was seeking a G.P. (albeit, I was in a wheelchair). To atone (I guess) she gives me a prescription for Celebrex and suggests that I get an appointment with one of the other doctors at the clinic who "might" be accepting new patients.
The receptionist tells me that, yes, Dr. S is accepting new patients and gives me an appointment for Monday the 15th
Later on, I research Celebrex on the Internet and find that it could be lethal with my history of High Blood Pressure and previous strokes. (She prescribed it without even asking if I had any of these.)


Friday 12 Oct:
I see my Urologist who after examining me (Ouch and triple-Ouch) orders some blood work and a PSA test and tells me absolutely nothing, although he believes it might be the Femoral nerve rather than the Sciatic one. His office phones the radiology department at the hospital and is told that the report on the MRI is not out yet and that he will eventually get a copy.
I'm asked to schedule a follow-up for the 6th of November.

Monday 15 Oct:
I finally get to meet Dr. S. However this is a "meet and greet" visit where I'm being interviewed to determine whether she would "accept" me or not as a patient. She does. She will -also- be requesting a copy of the MRI and I'm told to come back around the 30th of October. Hopefully she will have received the MRI report by then.

Now, before anyone jumps down my throat and tells me this is the price we have to pay for getting FREE medical care in Canada, let me point out to non-Ontarians, that the last Provincial Government we "elected", had no sooner been sworn in than it instituted a new Health Tax (they called it a premium because they had promised no new taxes). Therefore I (we) are paying for this FREE care.

I haven't been in the water since Sunday 23 Sep. and have no idea when I'll be able to, again. I manage to drug myself enough to bear going to work and back. The pain never really goes away. Driving is OK. (A couple of days ago, I only worked half a day. I got to the office and then realized I had forgotten my prescription pills at home; no amount of OTC pain-killers could help.)

I miss my swimming (and the Season is just re-starting). I also miss one particular (she)swimmer (but that's another story).
:help: :frustrated: I'm just about ready to:whiteflag:

Cheers
:cane:

poolraat
October 21st, 2007, 11:24 AM
I'm sorry to hear about all the problems you're having Ahmed. A friend of mine, also a Canadian, and a nurse is constantly telling us about the horrors of the health care system there. And we think that goverment health care is the answer. I tell people who think that government health care would be so great to look at two of the programs already in place, the Veterans Administration and the Indian Health Service.

cathlaur
October 21st, 2007, 11:37 AM
3 strokes

Yikes I am so sorry. As I live in Ontario I had thought I had better get in here. We have a family Dr so we are lucky that way. After we moved it did take a while but we finally found one. We have had excellent care. I have had cancer and could not be happier with my care. But I know the system is not perfect. Look at you. I cannot believe that all those Dr's turned you away when you were in pain. They should be so ashamed of themselves. I just so hope that you get your MRI results back soon.

I am also sorry you cannot swim. I know that is tough. With all your previous health problems how can you not have a family Dr?

Please let us know what the MRI shows. In the meantime I will be thinking of you. I hope you get some relief from the pain.

Katie

3strokes
October 21st, 2007, 12:02 PM
3 strokes

I am also sorry you cannot swim. I know that is tough. With all your previous health problems how can you not have a family Dr?


I used to have one but he closed his clinic a few (10+) years back
and joined a medical group. This way he deals with clients rather than patients in an environment where the "client" is not always right because the "client" has nowhere else to go.

As to my other problems:
For Hypertension I have a cardiologist whom I see at least twice a year.
The Hypertension is under control. (He used to belong to that medical group but left them when they accused him of not billing enough hours and of releasing "some" patients before their Insurance benefits had run out. Luckily we were able to get my medical records transferred to him.)

I also see a regular Chiropractor who "adjusts" my spine from time to time.

And I had made an appointment with my Urologist when this last attack happened.

cathlaur
October 21st, 2007, 01:04 PM
It is tough when Dr's retire or change their practice. I guess we just don't pay enough in Canada. We have lost many of our good ones to the States.

I hope you hear about your MRI soon and they can find out what is wrong and start the appropriate treatment for you

Katie

Kurt Dickson
October 23rd, 2007, 10:47 PM
Boy, this is not the story Michael Moore portrays in his recent movie, "Sicko." In Canada, you should be able to pop right in and get all your problems fixed...free. If not, they should definitely be able to help you in France or Cuba. Wait, are you telling me Michael Moore is lying? Oh the horror and shock. Unfortunately, there is no perfect system.

My MRI cost about 2,000 dollars here in the states (about 300 out of pocket). The problem here is finding specialists as they are all retiring in droves as they have no desire to practice with reduced reimbursement and ridiculous lawsuits.

Your problem is a disc protusion most probably. The problem is there is nothing emergent that is usually done about it. Pain management, sometimes physical therapy, local injection of steroids, and last resort surgery. The other problem with disc disease is at least 1/3 of people have it and are asymptomatic (and thus many get better with conservative therapy).

I do believe your problem would not necessarily get better treatment (from what you have described so far) in the states. I'm surprised you got your MRI so fast; however, one could probably get into a specialist faster--4-8 weeks here vs. 24-30 weeks there I suspect. Good luck and hope you get feeling better.

scyfreestyler
October 24th, 2007, 06:00 PM
This is quite a story, both from the aspect of your pain as well as the health care system in general. Hope your condition improves quickly. I am inclined to copy and paste this to some friends of mine who are very pro socialized healthcare in the US.

3strokes
October 24th, 2007, 07:24 PM
God bless a good Chiropractor.

I got home today and this is the email I found (part of it at least):

================================================== ====
Good News, Ahmed.
I've received your [MRI] report. there is a left disc extrusion, which appears to be impinging your L4 nerve root. Basically, the disc pops out of its space (kind of like when you eat an ice cream sandwich, the ice cream sort of spills out from the front) and it's putting pressure on the nerve.

As I said before, I'm going to use a new technique with you now that we know it is safe. Just make an appointment as soon as you can, and please let the front desk staff know that I said to put you in for a little extra time.
================================================== ===

"extra time" for which I know she will not charge "extra".

She had told me about this new technique before and I trust her so much, and the pain was so bad, that I was all "gung ho" and "let's go for it and da....rn the consequences" but she, wisely, said that she didn't want to touch me until she knew for certain what my condition was. Now I can look forward to returning that rented wheelchair, stopping the pain-killers(which according to my doctor "have street value") and washing my swimming towel and my goggles.

Unfortunately the muscles I (worked and) developed using a wheelchair for the past four weeks, even though they were in the deltoid area, where in pushing rather than pulling. I hope my catch (freestyle) isn't followed by a pushing motion.

Next update: after I see her..............

3strokes
October 24th, 2007, 07:30 PM
This is quite a story, both from the aspect of your pain as well as the health care system in general. Hope your condition improves quickly. I am inclined to copy and paste this to some friends of mine who are very pro socialized healthcare in the US.

See update (which I posted a minute or so ago). In spite of the horror aspect of the FREE Health Care, I must say that I couldn't have afforded a private MRI or the doctors' fees or the ambulance trips to the Hospital.

I was luckier than a lot of other people in that on my second visit to the ER, the doctor asked about my prostate and requested an emergency MRI (I guess, age, past history and amount of pain were a deciding factor). I was also lucky that someone cancelled and that I accepted a 07:00 appointment (I was ready to accept 2 3 or 4am or any hour)

I guess no system of health care is perfect.

Thanks all for your good wishes. Now I can look forward to my 50 free LCM in February 2008. (Should I sandbag my seed time? Or shoudl I reverse sandbag it and draft off the competition?)

swimr4life
October 25th, 2007, 12:59 AM
Boy, this is not the story Michael Moore portrays in his recent movie, "Sicko." In Canada, you should be able to pop right in and get all your problems fixed...free. If not, they should definitely be able to help you in France or Cuba. Wait, are you telling me Michael Moore is lying? Oh the horror and shock. Unfortunately, there is no perfect system.



I'm glad I'm not the only one that dislikes Michael Moore. YUCK....can't stand him! Pompous blowhorn.

Ahmed, I hope you feel better. Take care.

Rob Copeland
October 25th, 2007, 08:41 AM
I'm glad I'm not the only one that dislikes Michael Moore. YUCK....can't stand him! Pompous blowhorn.I hope you arenít talking about Masters Swimmer Michael Moore, Pacific LMSC chair and USMS Board member. :bitching:

swimr4life
October 25th, 2007, 09:15 AM
I hope you arenít talking about Masters Swimmer Michael Moore, Pacific LMSC chair and USMS Board member. :bitching:

NOOOOOO Rob! Michael Moore the "documentary" film maker. I have nothing but respect for the Michael Moore you're talking about!! :notworthy:

SwimStud
October 25th, 2007, 09:19 AM
I hope you aren’t talking about Masters Swimmer Michael Moore, Pacific LMSC chair and USMS Board member. :bitching:



Oooh good CYA there Mr Tickle!

Ahmed..sorry about you're back. The intricaies of getting treated are always 10 fold in aggravtional value when you have a bad back...you could easily become homocidal...if only you could do it without feeling the spasm LOL ;)


Having lived in the US and the UK for me it's like this:

If I need to go to the docs in the UK I go, get a prescription, sick note if needed and go home. If I have an ingrown toenail or minor surgical requirement, then it's going to have to wait.

In the US depending on the plan, I have to decide if it's worth the $10-100 dollars out of pocket to go see the doc. Then there is the form filling out that needs to be done, as something is always getting updated, that something is never my allergies, family history of cancer, propensity to use drugs or alcohol etc etc. What exactly do they update? Are they just trying to check my memory and eyesight? Can't they just ask? Or Let me see if I agree with their records?

Yes it's a major hassle for anything minor here but if I have to get an ingrown toenail removed, I can it done when I am ready.

I'd like to see more socialized GP practices, to keep people healthy without waiting until it becomes a problem, with private insurance kicking in when it becomes something more than a presription is needed. Something like that.
It's kind of how it worked in the UK with the private care offered through many companies.

That said I used to pay out of pocket for my own benefit for Osteopathy (?) and Reflexology.

My personal comparison story.

Having had a child born in each place, I must say the UK was much more natural and less sterile snd intrusive than here in the States. The nurses and midwife do pretty much the whole thing there, and mother to baby bonding is paramount unless there is an evident problem. Here they kept my son away for several hours stuffing him under a heat lamp bundling him up, checking his temp which he was blatantly unhappy about--who wouldn't be?--et.c etc. b/c they felt he was too cold. Nothing worked.

I was starting to get very angry with them because they wouldn't let us have him, and there was no other issues. Finally they thought of just "trying" to let him cuddle with his mother and feed, (incidentally what I has asked them to do several times) and what do you know, he was guzzling and at the correct temperature within minutes.

I'm glad the staff were alert and concerned but talk about missing the woods for the trees...it really pissed me off and took away our moment. If this seems unreasonable, just an FYI, we'd been through enough "spoiled" moments a la babies in the past, so I have a fearful dispostion about hushed talking over my kid while we were both desperate to hold him.

In the UK our daughter was popped out, wiped down, checked and put straight on the milk machine.

I acknowledge the risk for litigation iover an unforseen issue a big difference though.

ensignada
October 25th, 2007, 11:04 AM
Glad you're getting the care you need, Ahmed.

My experience with a non-US health system was in Austria. I was covered by German national insurance when I had a skiing accident (concussion and nasty whiplash). Because the hospital was guarenteed the reimbursement, they wanted to keep me in for 2 weeks for "observation", no meds after the original brain shrinking concoction. I was sharing a room with a woman who had a broken leg and was ending her first week there. It was quite a contrast (also 20 years ago) from the "drive through" mentality we have here in the US. Somewhere there has to be a happy medium.

Peter Cruise
October 25th, 2007, 03:19 PM
I think both systems have serious flaws, most of them generated by faceless bureaucrats who operate the same way, whether government or private. There is no question that the costs of providing care and esp. cutting-edge drugs are incredible and strain the equation that is either going to provide a 'profit' in one case or a 'balanced-budget' in another. Awhile back I had neck issues (which I shared at the time) that dragged incredibly yet recently a loved one fastracked through the system in days. Who can tell? I do know that political and philosophical acrimony can paralyze any attempt to find solutions.

3strokes
October 25th, 2007, 06:45 PM
Your problem is a disc protusion most probably. The problem is there is nothing emergent that is usually done about it. Pain management,



You diagnosed it right on the button.
L4-L5 moderate bilateral facet osteoarthritis......... Mild narrowing of the right neural foramen ........ Moderate bilateral facet osteoarthritis......... (repeating themselves?)......... Left foraminal and subarticular disc extrusion with superior migration........impinging exiting left L4 nerve root at level of neural foramen and severe bilateral facet arthritis.

In short an extruded disk (says I).

My Chiro is starting manipulation, stretching and adjustments. She says there is a machine treatment (if memory serves, it's called "distraction" ------ or was it disc-traction?---) but that is prohibitively expensive.

And it turns out they did the MRI of ONLY the lumbar spine. Nothing of the hip, thigh or knee.

Anyway we'll see how things go with the Chiro (and what my "new" family doctor will say next week.)

Thanks to all for their good wishes.

3strokes
October 25th, 2007, 06:48 PM
Glad you're getting the care you need, Ahmed.


Thanks


. Somewhere there has to be a happy medium.

Xanadu ? Shangri-La ?

3strokes
October 27th, 2007, 03:08 PM
I swam today.:cheerleader:

After my Chiro session this a.m., she OKayed my swimming.:D

It seems that, during my month's absence, they had changed the liquid in the pool from water (with some chlorine and some mildly foreign bodies) to molasses.:doh:

I used to push-off and flutter-kick to the 12.5m mark (in a 25m pool). Today, I couldn't get to 10m. I'd surface and do the rest of the pool in 3-3.5 cycles (free). Today it took me about 10-12 cycles altogether.
:confused:
........... Guess I'm lucky I didn't :drown:

I'm just glad I was able to swim for some 40 minutes (mostly 50's and 25's) easy to medium and do it without pain.
:cane:

Peter Cruise
October 27th, 2007, 03:21 PM
Ahmed- I went for my first swim in a month amidst three schools' worth of grades 5-7, who were either enjoying their swim outing or rioting, I wasn't sure which. I was confident that the water was being converted to something much less pleasant than molasses.

Anyway, I will jump threads here to give you an Attaboy! for perseverence and keeping you sense of humour.

3strokes
October 27th, 2007, 04:44 PM
Ahmed- I went for my first swim in a month amidst three schools' worth of grades 5-7, who were either enjoying their swim outing or rioting, I wasn't sure which. I was confident that the water was being converted to something much less pleasant than molasses.


If I'm thinking what I'm thinking you're hinting at, that "something" -though unpleasant- would still offer drag and resistance similar to water and might encourage a swimmer to swim "higher" in the water .........




Anyway, I will jump threads here to give you an Attaboy! for perseverence and keeping you sense of humour.

Thanks, and now that I think of it, I've only got three months to go until that February Winterlude LCM meet (and in which I'll be graduating to a new age group. This is both good and bad.

Good: I'll be the youngest (or the least old) and -on paper- a favourite.

Bad: That group includes Ian Smith, so I'll be swimming in Heat 1 and he in Heat 10 which is not too bad since I won't be at the 25m mark when Ian finishes but not too good since the results will be posted for the age group and not the heat.)
:D

ALM
October 27th, 2007, 04:45 PM
You diagnosed it right on the button.
L4-L5 moderate bilateral facet osteoarthritis......... Mild narrowing of the right neural foramen ........ Moderate bilateral facet osteoarthritis......... (repeating themselves?)......... Left foraminal and subarticular disc extrusion with superior migration........impinging exiting left L4 nerve root at level of neural foramen and severe bilateral facet arthritis.

In short an extruded disk (says I).

My Chiro is starting manipulation, stretching and adjustments. She says there is a machine treatment (if memory serves, it's called "distraction" ------ or was it disc-traction?---) but that is prohibitively expensive.

And it turns out they did the MRI of ONLY the lumbar spine. Nothing of the hip, thigh or knee.

Ahmed,

I had a bulged L4-L5 disc about 7 years ago. They don't need to do an MRI of your hip or thigh because the pain in those areas is most likely caused by the disc pushing on the nerve. Each of the spinal nerves provides sensation to a predictable area of skin - they're called "dermatomes". Take a look at this chart and you can confirm whether your pain is in the region of the L4 & L5 dermatomes:

http://www.backpain-guide.com/Chapter_Fig_folders/Ch06_Path_Folder/4Radiculopathy.html

The machine that the chiropractor may be talking about is rather new - it's called "IDD". Here is some information about it:

http://www.iddtherapy.com/

My disc got better on its own; it took a few months. The pain down the leg changed to more of an "altered sensation." It was just sort of sensitive. That finally went away, although I still occasionally feel it.

Anna Lea

3strokes
October 27th, 2007, 09:29 PM
Ahmed,
I had a bulged L4-L5 disc about 7 years ago. They don't need to do an MRI of your hip or thigh because the pain in those areas is most likely caused by the disc pushing on the nerve.


Disk Herniations.
There are four stages: (1) disc protrusion (bulged) (2) prolapsed disc (subligamentous herniation) (3) disc extrusion (transligamentous) and (4) sequestered disc. Stages 1 and 2 are referred to as incomplete, where 3 and 4 are complete herniations (gone through the PLL or posterior longitudinal ligament).

The MRI actually showed that I was at stage 3 (extruded or transligamentous disc, i.e., the Nucleus Pulposus had exited beyond the Annulus Fibrosus and the PLL.)



Each of the spinal nerves provides sensation to a predictable area of skin - they're called "dermatomes". Take a look at this chart and you can confirm whether your pain is in the region of the L4 & L5 dermatomes:

The machine that the chiropractor may be talking about is rather new - it's called "IDD".


Yes, sounds like that's what it is. The term distraction was used (not as in "entertainment" but as in "traction".)
The thing is, I can't afford the cost of this treatment. (Neither Provincial nor Employer Group Insurance will cover it). And I can't afford to be paralyzed by pain. Even having the leg hanging while I'm on the parallel bars of forearm crutches causes excruciating pain, never mind trying to put any weight on the leg. The only acceptable position is "seated"; thus the wheelchair. (Actually, crawling on all fours is an option I have used many times in the privacy of my own apartment; it's not a Public solution). At night there's no position (no matter how many pillows, where placed or how "KamaSutric" the position) that will allow me more than a few hours sleep before the pain woke me up for another popping in of pills..

I had suffered a bulge at L5-S1 a couple of years back. That had been treated very quickly by Chiro adjustments and (my own physiotherapy .... Swimming and Gym).



My disc got better on its own; it took a few months. The pain down the leg changed to more of an "altered sensation." It was just sort of sensitive. That finally went away, although I still occasionally feel it.
Anna Lea

I am glad that your situation improved on its own. I am still relying on narcotics, crutches (for short trips) and a wheelchair.

What really irks me is the attitude of the Hospital Emergency Room doctor. My symptoms for a protruded disc are the same as those for a sequestered disc (where the protrusion breaks away from the gel-like disc and floats freely, creating havoc, and a condition called "Cauda Equina Syndrome" which is considered as a medical emergency requiring immediate surgery. Although caudal, rostral and lateral migrations of disc fragments are common, posterior epidural migration of an extruded free fragment from a lumbar disc herniation is a rare occurrence and sometimes may cause a dural sac compression with cauda equina syndrome.) This is the equivalent of a patient showing up with appendicitis pains and being told to take two aspirins, a mint tea and to "seek medical help" if the pain persists for four weeks.