For about three months my right shoulder has had these weird tingles, like it’s fallen asleep. The pins-and-needles feeling comes at random times – while dead-heading daylilies, sleeping on my side, flipping pages in a book. Being the half-assed clinician I am, I ran to the nearest medical authority – MEDPEDIA – to read up on all the possible causes for what is medically termed parasthesia.
The first step of the differential diagnosis is to characterize other symptoms. Pain? Nope, just an achy feeling at times, often upon waking. Weakness in arm? Double nope. Hand weakness? Not at all, though sometimes my fingertips felt tingly, too. Any swelling of the joint? Redness? Blueness? None at all.
Just the tingling, which was started to cramp (pun intended) my writing style.
Reading all the possible causes of tingly shoulder freaked me out. Multiple sclerosis? Sarcoma? Multiple myeloma? Arthritis? Dislocated shoulder? Mini-strokes? Oh my. I made haste to consult my primary care doctor. She ordered a full-body bone scan and lab tests requiring six vials of blood and two cups of pee. She then wrote me out a referral for 12 visits to a physical therapist.
Now I am not a physician, nor do I play one, though I DO create characters who think they are doctors. Thus, I do have some credibility in assessing my physical health. Furthermore, it IS fun to pretend you’re a doc with a patient’s life in your hands. So please, play with me and name that diagnosis. Other relevant information to consider:
>Weight: Just north of normal BMI
>General health: Excellent
>Exercise: Walk 10,000 steps most days, pilates, yoga
>Hobbies: write, read, some gardening
>Hearing: within normal limits
>Vision: blind as a bat without corrective bifocal lenses
>Family history: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, cancers galore, emphysema, lupus
All labs and blood work came back normal. Can you guess my mystery disease?
Winner gets a copy of DAMN SURE RIGHT, a damn fine collection of edgy shorts by the damn fine Meg Pokrass, published this year by Press 53.
Feel free to ask clarifying questions in the comment section. Have fun, all you Doogies! Peace…