My Story: Part 3

   In late November we had enough. We demanded that my PCP give us an authorization outside the network to see a Neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. The PCP agreed probably because he was feeling powerless and helpless in not knowing what specific treatment to recommend especially without a clear diagnosis. It was clear that Yoga and stretching didn’t change anything and I was still lucky to walk about 50 feet. In addition, the pain was radiating through my chest and arms. I had much difficulty getting in and out of the shower let alone dressing without assistance. Something had to change.

  We called the MGH Neurology Department the first week in December and managed to get an appointment sooner than we expected. That Thursday, we arrived at the MGH Building in Boston an hour before I was to see Dr. O’Neal so that we could register and complete any required medication and historical data forms. The receptionist staff were quite courteous and informed us that we had made an excellent choice. Thank G-d something was going right. We didn’t wait long until a handsome young man dressed in a warm blue suit appeared from behind the receptionist wing and called out in a clear Irish rogue, “ Dr. Beilin?” I left my coat and hat with my wife, got up and slowly walked to meet Dr. O’Neal who then  guided me to his office in the back wing. Upon sitting down, Dr. O’Neal told me that he noticed how awkward I walked, that I seemed to drag my feet. I agreed telling him it’s  been a very difficult few months  and very trying on my wife who was as scared as I was. He then proceeded to ask me for a detailed history writing as I talked about my initial experience with peripheral neuropathy leading to what I considered a traumatic the Brookstone store in late August. Dr. O’Neal listened attentively for about 45 minutes. Afterwards, he asked me to come into his personal examining room, change into a gurney then let him know when I was ready.  This didn’t take long although I couldn’t tie the string behind my neck. I told Dr. O’Neal I was ready and he came back in and first performed a standard neurological examination.  He then moved different appendages around asking me if it hurt more or less as he shifted them from side to side and front to back. Finally he examined my sense of touch using a pin to determine if I still could feel the insides of my souls which I did. Before he was finished, Dr. O’Neal again inquired  where I felt pain in my chest and arms. I told him “all over” but definitely more in my chest and stomach area. I had noticed these bands of tightening muscles early in the morning and late at night before going to sleep. I further stated that the band’s seemed to be increasing over time.  It was at this point that Dr. O’Neal thought that he had enough information to sit me down to explain what was to occur next. He stated in a soft neutral tone that he wanted me to have an urgent full MRI of my cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. When I asked what he thought was going on, Dr. O’Neal remained silent then softly stated that he “Still wasn’t sure” but the request for a full MRI “was prudent.”  We went back towards the waiting room where Dr. O’Neal gave his secretary instructions to call the MRI Center staff member immediately to arrange for a full MRI with contrast. The secretary informed me “They had an opening this coming Friday morning at 6am.” I took it. 

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