Monday, July 18, 2011

The knee bone’s connected… or mystery diagnosis

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:

>Height: 5’2’’
>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…


  1. Hmmmm... sounds like a damaged nerve to me. Maybe you pinched it while gardening or practising a cool yoga move.. or maybe you've just overdone the writing thing and have been sitting the wrong way in your chair. I have heard carpal tunnel can stretch all the way up the arm... maybe it's that.
    Eegads... I sure hope it's nothing serious.

  2. Aside from the fact that this might (hope not) be serious, I have to say THIS IF FUN! I think we should all run symptoms on our blog and have people guess.
    NAME THAT DISEASE! More fun than Jeopardy! Where's Alex and the next clue when you need him, huh?

  3. Are you carrying a large purse on that shoulder all the time? Perhaps the weight of it has pinched a nerve enough to cause a few twinges and some numbness/tingling similiar to carpal tunnel. I think they called bigpursitis.

  4. Are you carrying a large purse on that shoulder all the time? Perhaps the weight of it has pinched a nerve enough to cause a few twinges and some numbness/tingling similiar to carpal tunnel. I think they called bigpursitis.

  5. Hmmm... my lady friends raise good points. I worried about carpal tunnel as well. And I love the bigpursitis. As a matter of fact, for several years I did carry a heavy (but SOOOOOOO gorgeous) Kenneth Cole bag, black leather and lots of metal. I am now down to a backpack.

    Keep on guessing -- I'll reveal Thursday. Peace...

  6. that's scary about all the possible indications popping up. good that it's none of the ugly ones. hmmm... maybe too much writing on a computer keyboard?

    i send healing vibes~~~

  7. Is this a disease or the result of an injury?

    And on a tangential note, I recently ran across The Writer's Forensics Blog

  8. Dorothee, thank you for the healing vibes -- I can feel them!

    Tim, it is a condition exacerbated by injury. Peace...

  9. Well no one quite got it right. I actually have a compressed spinal column, probably a slight curvature I was born with and no one noticed enough to 'correct', and exacerbated by the onset of osteoporosis, bigpursitis, and bad habits. The curvature forces the end of the first rib to press against nerves and muscle, which causes the tingling. It all came to attention due most likely to neck strain while doing pilates.

    So I have physical therapy twice a week, and homework comprised of exercises to spread my shoulder blades further apart, relaxing muscle and relieving the stress on the nerve. Not a lot of fun. I've also begun re-engineering my work space, with a new ergonomic keyboard and a better chair.

    Since no one came close enough, I wrote all the names on pieces of paper (including my facebook comment) and threw them in my garden hat and had my daughter choose and voila! The winner is - umbrellalady!

    As soon as Meg sends my signed copies I will send you yours. Peace...

  10. I am sorry for all the pain you must be going through but I am thrilled that I won the book. Glad you liked the bigpursitis