Thursday, February 14, 2019

The funny bone isn't very funny. Numbness and tingling and other vague symptoms.

There were times when she had numbness and tingling in her arms and hands and sometimes in her legs. She would tell me about these sensations and said that it kind of felt like when you hit your "funny bone" but they would go away after a few days or sometimes a couple of weeks. She had a heavy backpack and carried it around all day on one shoulder and we thought maybe this was causing some of her numbness and she made some changes and the numbness went away, problem solved.

There were 3 or 4 different times over the last 1.5 years where she had these symptoms that were mild, would not last very long and always went away without any medical intervention. This past fall I took her out to college so we could find a car for her,  she told me that her hands were feeling numb again. I said well maybe we will get an MRI as we got her settled into school the sensations vanished but my threshold for getting an MRI was pretty minimal at this point because I feared that she may have some type of pathology that would explain the symptoms. She started school and life was busy and there were no numbness and no tingling. Soon these were just like a forgotten headache or cold and not a part of her life.

She returned home for Christmas this past December, 2018 and we were excited to have her back in the house. She brings an excitement and an energy that we had missed while she had been away at school. She was glad to be on a break from school and have the stress of school fade away for a couple of weeks. Not long after getting home she announced that her hands started to feel numb again and it seemed to start all of a sudden. She woke up one morning and felt some tingling and numbness in her hands. I watched her closely and started to think about having her come to work with me and get an MRI. After a few days I noticed her squinting and trying to focus her eyes while we were watching a movie. I looked a little more closely and after the movie I examined her and noted that she had a cranial nerve VI palsy which meant her eyes were not equally yoked together when she looked to the right. She told me that she started having double vision when she looked in certain directions and this started earlier that day.

This made me realize that my fears of something more ominous was causing these symptoms. Did she have a brain tumor or a neurologic condition like multiple sclerosis? I told her she would have to come to work with me so we could get an MRI and hopefully rule out any serious pathology. I remained positive but my experience and training told me this was not going to be a normal MRI....

cranial nerve VI palsy (abducens nerve):

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