Several years ago I experienced a sharp stabbing pain in my left shoulder followed by a numbness going down the outside of my arm and into my fingers. Being in my 50's I thought oh my gosh, heart attack and called 911. After 3 days in the hospital all heart tests proved negative, the neurological exams started along with back and c-spine xrays. These showed some changes but not severe enough to cause my symptoms. Tha's when the "are you under any stress questions started." I said yes, it is pretty stressfull that you can't find out what's causing my symptoms. All that got me was a prescription for Elavil. 3 months on Elavil and 15 pounds heavier I was still having the same attacks. So I changed doctors and made the mistake of transfering my records. The new doctors first question after reviewing them was "are you under any stress". More neurological exams, xrays and MRI's all not bad enought to cause the symptoms and another prescription for a different anxiety medicine. I changed doctors again, and you'll never guess the first question asked. Yup, same question, different anxiety medicine. This had been going on for almost 2 years so I figured I hadn't died yet, it must not be anything to bad and quit going to the doctors and just lived with it. Finally almost 3 years later I woke up one morning with my left arm swollen. There was no pain but it continued to swell and the stretching of the skin was becoming uncomfortable. I was at my barn at the race track and showed the arm to my vet who told me to get to a doctor asap. I didn't go for about 3 more hours as it had become quite uncomfortable and was sent immediately upstairs to thoracic doctor who did an ultra sound and I was in the hospital within the hour with a major blood clot caused by Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. I was in there 6 days, in ICU for 2
and scheduled for surgery in 4 weeks to remove my first rib which was compressing a vein and had done quite a bit of nerve damage. My doctor was astounded that it was so advanced and asked "didn't you have any symtoms?" I told him my symptoms which he said were classic and couldn't belive no one had done a simple TOA test. (a TOA test is a manual test where you hold your affected arm out and turn your head in the opposite direction while they feel for your pulse. If there is no pulse you have thoracic outlet syndrom) I even had a letter I showed him from one neurologist I had been referred to that told my primary doctor that he belived I needed serious physchiatric help. 3 years of ***l as a result of 3 incompetent doctors. I now question anything a doctor tells me and take it with a grain of salt.
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