A Victim of the Spanish Inquisition – I found multiple attributed artists, if you own the copyright don’t sue me, just tell me to take it down.
So I almost went with the Monty Python joke, but it was just too obvious, even for me.
Anyways, if you were expecting some big historical post about the Spanish Inquisition, then you will be disappointed. But my guess is that you weren’t, so you won’t, unless you are, then sorry-not-sorry. While the real inquisition has all sorts of fun nasty bits, I have my own fun nasty bit to share. I had to have another EMG. I’ll get to what that is in a moment, but for now I’ll say that is not something that you generally want to be having another one of.
Since moving out here I’ve continued seeking medical assistance for my legs (and also for the numb/painful spot on my upper back, an old symptom, but a recent addition to the medical pursuit). Due to some stupidity with obtaining my student ID before classes actually started it took me a bit to see my general doctor, who I ended up really liking. We talked for over an hour about things and she seemed genuinely interested. She wanted me to start with seeing one of the neurologists. So I went to schedule that, naturally the earliest I could get in was 2.5 months away. Fun. So I waited, like I have waited for 4 years. But the day finally came and I went to see Mr. Neurologist and… he turned out to be one of the biggest douchebags (if not the biggest) I have ever met in the medical profession. I absolutely cannot stand the guy. However, the flip side is that he actually did a few basic tests that no one had ever done in four years, not once. I’m talking stuff like testing my reflexes in my legs. Yeah, stuff that basic was never done. “SURE LETS CUT YOU OPEN AND TEAR YOUR MUSCLES IN HALF, BUT LETS NOT TEST YOUR REFLEXES FOR BASIC NERVE ISSUES, NOPE” To be fair, I don’t think I ever requested a basic reflex test, but I’m not the doctor. However, I did make the request for them to look at my spine, many, many times and no one ever would. It took me 1.5 years just to get them to do an MRI of my legs. And that only came after half a dozen other tests, some of them being done more than once. So anyways, this neurologist, who I’ve taken to calling Dr. Douchebag, has as Meem has put it, “No bedside manner,” but he seems medically competent. So he looked over my old EMG and didn’t like a few things about how the test was done, based on my specific symptoms. So he ordered another one, fun. However, he also agreed with me, by not agreeing with me, I know that doesn’t make much sense, but Dr. Douchebag has a way of being an asshole even when he is listening to you. Anyways, he thought a spinal MRI would be a good move. He also went even further and ordered a MRI of my brain as well. Uh, ok, I guess. I don’t have much objection since my cell phone poops radiation into me all day long anyways and MRIs don’t even use radiation, but the brain had never been mentioned before. So, end of appointment, Dr. Douchebad told me: “Go get this EMG on your legs, go get both these MRIs, each with contrast, also I have a tiny peen.”
So I was off to research my insurance. I have insurance through my school. My school pays for it because I am poor. When you pay 20,000$ a month for a 10×10 apartment with little income, you are poor. Point being, I really, really needed to know what my insurance would cover. The good news is that in-network, which was basically anything my school is a part of (which is a lot, like, a lot a lot), almost everything is covered 100%, including EMGs and MRIs. Out of network you are pretty much boned, but neither of the places I needed to go was out of network, so I kept the appointments.
The thing is, this is also my last week of classes before exams, and I had a myriad of other law school related appointments to deal with. I did NOT want to deal with this crap during exams, so I needed to bunch three tests into one week. The MRI came first. Turns out, I can’t do the MRIs all in one day. I have to have two different contrasts (The guy on the phone was oh-so-reassuring when he was like “I guess that shouldn’t be a problem, are you healthy?” – Why yes I am, I am just so healthy I like getting blasted with magnets and loud noises for 5 hours in a small tube). So I have to go sit in the machine for 2.5 hours, twice and get an IV each time. Those were scheduled for Thursday (the day of this post) and Friday consecutively, even at the same time. Next up was the EMG. This one would only work in the early morning and it was even further away than the MRI. Anyways, everything was scheduled and insurance was supposedly good (we’ll see, insurance companies are profoundly stupid).
EMG day arrives, more aptly titled “The Day Taco was a Moron and Returned to the Dungeon of Spanish Inquisition.” The good news was that SB took some time off from her placement to come with me. The last time I got this done I had some trouble walking afterwards. Which brings me to my next point. What is an EMG? While, it stands for Electromyography, but that doesn’t mean anything to you, or me. In plain English it means, 1. I will shock you with a taser 100+ times and then 2. After shocking you 100+ times I will stick electrified needles into your muscles and then smash them in deeper and ask you to flex that muscle. Oh yes dear friends, they move the needle around inside you.
So to recap: Electrocution, Needles with Electricity. Sign up sheet is on the table.
Now they don’t just do this on legs, they can do it on most areas of your body, including arms (as I would soon find out). But last time I had it done, it was just my legs.
But backing up a bit. We actually missed the first of the buses we were intending to take to the hospital, luckily the second bus was early, so while it didn’t move until it was on schedule, we at least got to sit in it instead of the cold, cold outdoor places. It was nice because the bus we took is actually the same bus I’ll take tomorrow and Friday, since it goes right by the MRI place. Anyways, we pushed it very close time wise, in fact we were just a little late, but late is still early for medical appointments.
That is not the actual part of the hospital I was in, but that is the original building that the rest of the hospital (which is massive) grew around. Anyways, once we got into the room (SB included). The test person, who I think was still in residency came in and we got started. She was very nice and willing to explain things a lot more clearly than my last EMG person. Of course she was also nice enough to tell me that EMGs are apparently way worse when you are young and healthy. The older you get the less and less they actually feel like torture. She also told me that Dr. Douchebag had requested an EMG on my right arm (for my back issue) as well.
Yeah he never told me that, I never said “Ok, yeah lets shock my arm too!” It was not until I was half-naked in my stylish hospital gown that I was told that 3/4 of my appendages would be tazed repeatedly and then have a multitude of needless mashed in them. Sweet.
But I went with it. Because I was there, and I figured, why not. So the test gets underway and yeah, I really don’t need to go through the process. It should be fairly obvious it kind of sucks. I will say though, SB managed to not pass out during the needle part. But she was also burning holes in the stuff she was reading. She was actually planning on leaving when the attending doctor and the resident sort of just came in and started treating me like pin-cushion. But I survived and it turns out.. there is no big issue. Basically, there is some very mild slowing in my peroneal nerve on the left side. This is is sort of similar to what they found last time, except it was even less pronounced this time. They were pretty clear that this amount of slowing would likely not create symptoms, let alone symptoms of my level. Also, the right side was fine. My arm was also fine. In a nutshell, there is a little bitty issue in my left peroneal nerve, but there is no conceivable way that it would cause issues to my level. Plus, my right leg has no such issue. If this is a neural issue, its at the very least not something that an EMG is going to show.. or its coming from nerves that aren’t in my legs. My arm had no issues and she thought it (my back) sounded more like a muscular (myofascial) issue than a neural issue.
So another EMG down, similar results to last time, except even less pronounced. Answers: Nada – Story of my last four years.
After the EMG I ate a snack bar since I had foolishly not eaten a large enough breakfast. We then went and walked around the neighborhood (Mission Hill) towards the Longwood Medical Area.
..containing none other than Harvard’s Medical School (one of the University’s three Crown Jewels, any guesses on the other two?). I’ve been told its the best medical school in the world. A very quick look on Google seems to confirm that. Look at all that surprise no one has. In fact, the hospital I had just came from (which is literally right next to HMS) is one of the teaching hospitals for HMS. Speaking of the hospital, this is the back side of the old part of it, I thought the metal spiral staircases were really cool, made me think of my Pappy.
Immediately behind the back of the hospital.. confusing but that is the best way to say it. Was the back of the first (and oldest and most coo) building in the medical school complex. So in front of the back is the back of the front. Follow? Good. Its name is “Gordon Hall.”
Upon entry we realized there was a guard and you had to show a Harvard ID. My guess is because of the medical stuff, patients and things, and meeses. I had one, SB also sleekly used her Harvard library card (which also works to get Harvard student discounts – people don’t seem to notice the LIBRARY part written right on the front – good for us). I’m glad we went in, rather than going around. First it was a bajillion degrees warmer in there. Second, it was a gorgeous old building AND they had holiday decorations! (unlike the boring lawyers at the law school, which has equally nice facilities – if not nicer – but about as much spirit as a rock in a septic tank).
On the second floor next to some portraits of guys I don’t know they have a statue of Hermes who his rocking is naked self.
To be truthfully honest, I have no idea why they have a statute of Hermes.
[History Mode Engage]
Here is my guess. Hermes was a messenger for the Greek Gods. However, he also had the lesser known tasks of conducting souls into the afterlife, likely to Elysium (for awesome people), Asphodel (for normal mundane people) or maybe even the Blessed Isles (for ultra awesome people who were reborn three times and achieved Elysium all three times). Hermes was similar to Charon (or as you may know him “The Ferryman”, also from Greek Mythology but Charon is more associated with taking people across the Rivers Styx and Acheron to the Fields of Punishment (bad people) or possibly even Tartarus (think of it as a Hell within Hell, yeah it sucks that bad)). So, what I’m getting at, is that maybe they have a Hermes statute because he helped people cross over with John Edwards. But honestly that seems a little morbid for a medical school. It could also be that Hermes later came to be associated with Alchemy (and thus medicine), however, this is a tenuous connection at best since it involves Hermeticism which takes its name not from Hermes but rather Hermes Trismegistus, a loosely-defined ancient Greek dude-god-person who might have himself just have been based on an altered version of Hermes – thus bringing us to erroneous circular logic.
Also interesting, the statute did not have the Caduceus, which he is normally pictured with. Yes, the Caduceus is that “medical staff” you have seen before. Of course what great is that its not the right staff. Yeah, literally Caduceus represents trade, eloquence, trickery, and negotiation, things Hermes was known for, NOT medicine. So where does that staff come from? The Rod of Asclepius. This rod takes its name from Ascelpius, the Greek god of Medicine, and also the son of Apollo, the God of healing (among many other things). Yeah, see that makes a lot more sense. Thought to be fair, it is said that Apollo is the one who gave Caduceus to Hermes, so that might lend a tiny bit of credence to it being a healing item. You’ll notice that the two staffs/rods are fairly similar though, so you can’t fault people too much (aside from the fact that this mistake is hugely common in the United States, even among professionals). Oddly enough Motley Crew sort of combined them both, so in some ways they did a better job than a lot of hospitals.
Anyways, you’d think Harvard would know all this. My guess is that they do, since they didn’t order a Hermes with Caduceus, probably to avoid such misinterpretations. Or maybe they just didn’t want the staff and were fine with the peebob. Ultimately I have no idea, but if I had to guess, I’d rest on my “conductor of souls” theory (blended in a bit with Caduceus being given to Hermes by Apollo), since Hermes really had nothing to do with medicine, though he was known for helping mankind out in spite of what the other Gods (namely Zeus) said.
[History Mode Offline]
We then moved to the front of Gordon Hall, which is actually at the head of the complex.
Then the view looking back towards Gordon once we walked down towards the street.
It was a nice campus, I’m sure it looks better when everything isn’t dead. Except the grass, that must be some of that magical cold weather grass. Or maybe its Soylent Green grass style, I’d imagine HMS would have plenty of materials for that.
After seeing the main part of HMS, we decided we were hungry. We headed back down towards where we got off the bus to place called Penguin Pizza.
We had found it online the night before, and honestly we were drawn to it simply because of Valentino and his love of eating penguins. No really, that was pretty much the entire reason we went.
The problem was that it was still early for lunch and they hadn’t opened yet, additionally, around this time all my muscles decided it was time to start getting really stiff and sore. I guess that happens when you are repeatedly shocked and poked. But we were close enough to opening time that we just stuck it out in the cold, I’m glad we did.
As you can see the inside of the place was fairly eclectic. I loved all the beer signs that were all over the place, I mean literally, ALL over the place. Our table even had a nice view of the cold world outside.
We ended up going with some wraps instead of pizza, SB had the Turkey Club and I the Chicken Pesto, both were mighty fine.
About this time I really started to feel not well. My stomach was happy, but my legs and arms and really my whole body (my back was quite sore as well) decided it was time to not move. So we started the process of heading home, which involved waiting on the bus, but luckily the wait wasn’t terrible since my fingers and toes were starting to die as usual (in spite of my double socks and gloves).
After that we came home and pretty much ended up either being asleep, or half asleep on the couch for a large chunk of the afternoon. We still had stuff to do, of course, which made for a busy night, but by bedtime my body felt like I had been beaten up with crowbars. Today honestly wasn’t a whole lot better, I’m hoping tomorrow will see some improvement. I actually don’t remember hurting this much last time, but I also received more shocks and electrified pokes this time, and I also received them over a much larger surface area of my body. I’m also more stressed in general (exams are next week) which probably made my muscles tense up more which electrocuted (trust me, your limbs flail across like crazy during an EMG).
So anyways, that is all I have for now. This post ended up WAY longer than I was planning for it to be. When it gets posted tomorrow I should have (hopefully) just finished MRI one of two.
Until Next Time,
P.S. On a lighter note, here is a decorated tree near the law school, the squirrels use the lights as quasi zip-lines, no really.
[Update 1: First MRI down. They did my Lower Spine and Brain today. Tomorrow is more spine and maybe more brain, I dunno, after four years you honestly stop caring as much about the details as long as you know the insurance and level-of-pain-involved situations. The worst part was that when they do your brain they lock your head into this little contraption so you can’t listen to music. That pretty much sucked. But the head lock did have a mirror to let you see out the tube, which was cool.The buses were also about 25 minutes behind schedule when I went to go home.
Update 2: Second MRI down. Today was Upper Spine and Neck. It was a bit more claustrophobic today because they used this thing that locks your neck in place but it does not have a mirror like the head lock. More importantly, I was on my stomach so I couldn’t really see anything. There was a bit of a panic attack during the first few minutes, but I calmed myself out of it and got it done. They placed the IV in the same arm and vein as yesterday since the machine is not setup for the other arm, so my left arm is now majorly sore, in addition to the rest of my body, which has been sore since the EMG. But I’m done. 1 EMG and 2 MRIs in 4 days, thanks you, (don’t) come again.]