My follow-up appointment with my new civilian neurologist was changed. I was scheduled to see the doctor that I started with. However, my visit would now be with the nurse practitioner. For the purpose of this blog and her anonymity, I will call her Doctor Pepper. I have no issues with nurse practitioners I have a great one in my family. I would just like to have professional medical consistency. Multiple Sclerosis in of itself changes by the day and sometimes by the minute. Because of this eonian evolution, I would like continuity on my medical team.
I would also love to get honesty from my medical crew. I personally do not like confrontation. It seemed silly to point out the inconsistencies in Dr. Pepper’s statement. Doctor P told me that she had my new MRI but did not have the old scans to compare it to. I explained to the doc that my last scan was done at a hospital in her medical system in 2005. This meant that these old scans should be made available upon her request.
Dr. Pepper then explained how the computer system is new and she had no access to the old scans. Several minutes later she told me that I should start this new medication. This nurse practitioner explained how my new MRI showed a few newly developed inactive lesions. “I thought that you could not see my old scans to compare” I questioned. This is where her backpedaling and double talk began as round, and round she went. I just dropped any conversation about my scans and let it go.
At that point, I just reiterated that I do not want to start any new medications. Since I am currently medically stable starting new meds made no sense to me. The doctor quickly reminded me that if I was not on this MS medication, I could get worse. Without skipping a beat, I said that I could also get better as no one knows anything for sure. I felt like she was getting paid a commission for the number of MS patients that she got started on these medications. At the cost of well over $60,000 per year per patient, it would not surprise me.
Now, if you are on any of these multiple sclerosis medications, then that is excellent. I have known people who have experienced positive effects from these meds. I personally think that the benefits are fantastic. Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. I am merely stating that I have been medically stable for ten years and did not see a reason to change. You can bet your bottom dollar that if my medicine were not working, I too would be on one of the standard multiple sclerosis medications.
Multiple Sclerosis is a positively perplexing paradox. For that matter, the MS medical field itself is consistently compellingly confusing. Ask most neurologists questions about MS, and you will likely hear many non-definitive words. These words that are missing a categorical certainty consist of maybe, possibly or might to name a few. The few times that I have spoken with a MS specialist, they avoid those words unless pressed.
A comedian once said, “They don’t want to cure anything they just want to make it so that you can live with it.” Is this being fatalistic or pragmatic? I suppose that there is a fine line between pessimism and realism. I feel that it is important for me to realize that I have this medical condition. Yet, it is vital that we all find what works for us and stick with it. I cannot live my life focused on the list of “what if’s” that are out there for MS. The catalog of multiple sclerosis possibilities is quite lengthy. “I guess it comes down to a simple choice really. Get busy living or get busy dying.” Shawshank Redemption.