Neurology

I was underwhelmed by the thoroughness of the neurologist yesterday and in the extent to which he seemed to value my concerns and take me seriously. After psyching myself up to actually go there all by myself and at the very end of my day (when my energy is completely depleted), I found I gained nothing from the appointment and would have been in the same place I am now had I canceled it like my tired, little, appointment-hating brain wanted me to. While the neurologist was kind, he seemed to brush off my concerns and the gravity of my rapidly-exacerbating symptoms and chalk it all up to my “mental health problems” of depression, anxiety, autism, ADHD, and “stress.” He did note profound coordination and balance issues and an essential tremor, though he said there was nothing to do for these anyway so I should just “relax and be happy.” He also characterized me as “very healthy,” so amid a bunch of medical problems, that seems like quite the accolade (though I question its accuracy!). While all of this sounds infuriating in hindsight to someone who desperately needed this appointment, at the time, it was acceptable because it was delivered in a respectful, non-condescending tone. He also fully admitted that the images of my brain looked so healthy compared to the ones he usually sees because (I’m) “young, and all his patients are old!” I’m not sure that’s the best barometer then to which I should be compared…

Alas, I suppose I should be relieved that he was not concerned or alarmed by the symptoms I described and recommended no follow up treatment or further investigation. It’s just unsettling to me when I have brain symptoms like seizures and worsening tremors and coordination problems. However, I guess I should “just relax” about it and accept such changes as part of aging in my particular body with my specific set of health conditions and neurology. It is certainly true that I get anxious about health stuff, so I’ll try to heed to the doctor’s advice and try to lower my stress and reactivity to perceived symptoms. The only hole I see in his reasoning that the issues are mostly a product of mental health issues is that I’m less stressed and anxious right now in my life, and have been over this period of time where the symptoms have rapidly progressed. Why then would I be feeling so much worse and having far more neurological issues now if it’s all due to anxiety/stress if I’m less anxious than I’ve been in many phases of my life? He didn’t seem to have an answer for that; because I’m wary of the hypothesized justification for my symptoms, neither do I.

2 Comments

  1. Sorry to hear you’ve had this experience as well. In our situation it takes a tremendous effort to get to appointments that are often 6-8 month wait times for anything substantial. She often gets brushed off as well and yet the symptoms you and she experience effect so many aspects of daily life. I wish professionals would be more understanding and realize that just because someone is young, and looks visually healthy, does not mean their concerns shouldn’t be taken seriously. I find many health professionals simply figure there’s a lot of exaggeration going on. Meanwhile both of these scenarios strike me as medically more advanced than almost any elderly person’s issues (as far as one’s I’ve seen). Best of luck to you. I hope you can find answers and most importantly relief.

  2. Thank you so much for your support and understanding, Zach. I hope your wife finds the answers and medical help she needs as well. Sending my best thoughts your way…

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