Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ouch! Degenerative Bone Disease and Multiple Sclerosis

Ouch moments intermittently dominated this past week. While Patti cannever actually tell me where or what hurts, I observed each ouch always somehowinvolved the use of her left arm either removing her coat or transferring herfrom wheelchair to bed. I say intermittent because out of 8 coat removals only3 were ouch moments while two out of four transfers to bed involved an ouch. Lookingfor common denominators, each transfer ouch was preceded by a coat removal ouch,yet each coat removal ouch was not followed by a transfer ouch.

Ouch by deduction might even frustrate Sherlock Holmes. No it’snever “quite elementary” when asking Patti is unfortunately confounded by herMultiple Sclerosis symptoms of short term memory loss and cognitive impairment.

With anywhere between half to two-thirds of those diagnosed with MSreporting pain as a symptom it would be easy to assume this is about MS. Exceptthat Patti has never in 25 years reported pain associated with MS.

In this situation the care facility era is a godsend. While Pattifell off to sleep I stopped to discuss my observations with the nursing staff.They ordered an x-ray of her left shoulder for the next day. X-ray machinescome to you in the care facility era easier than delivery pizza in the homecare era. The next afternoon I was looking at the radiologist’s report as Istopped by to pick Patti up for an outing.

On the good side the x-ray found no fracture or break, on thenegative it did reveal 'mild degenerative bone disease'.

Degenerative bone disease is commonly known as degenerative osteoarthritis. Allegedly this affects more than 20 million Americans. It’sabout the breakdown and loss of the cartilage of the joints which when workingproperly acts like a shock absorber helping the bones glide over one another. Whenbones begin to rub each other – ‘ouch’ may be an understatement.

Tylenol for pain and application/massage of a bengay type ointmentwill be the immediate treatment. Outings and such need not be compromised just adjustedto ouchless by minimizing left shoulder rotation. 

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer