So, we went to the Pediatric Neurologist today.
Specialists offices tend to scare the hoopy-doopers right out of me. I find it extremely unnerving to realize that we have surpassed the limits of care that can be provided by our "regular" Pediatrician. There I stand at the reception window, staring at stacks and stacks of patient files - all of them at least two inches thick - wondering how many trips to this doctor it will be before The Twinkie's file begins to look like those.
The nurse calls us back through the doors, and we slowly, painstakingly follow her. The Twinkie knows that the she has to try to continue to walk, but it isn't easy - everything from the hips down feels like it's made of Jell-O, and it hurts as well. She's tripping over her own feet, barely able to put one foot down in front of the other. It's horrifying for me to watch, remembering that less than three weeks ago she could run...
Twinks is weighed, and measured; her blood pressure is taken. We move further down the hallway, windowless rooms opening off both sides. The faces of the parents within these rooms must surely reflect my own; I wonder if I look as haggard, and as worried as they do.
The Wrench is not here - he is unable to take off work to be here today. So, Twinks and I are going this alone, and we sit together in the huge exam room, huddled against the glare of the fluorescent lights, trying to remain cheerful. We are in the middle of one of our silly exchanges when the PN walks in. I am mock-seriously threatening to feed The Twinkie to the pigs, and she is giggling and laughing at me, knowing full well that [a] the pigs wouldn't have her, and [b] I wouldn't let them.
The PN is a pleasant enough, if somewhat nondescript man. He is quiet, one might even say reserved, but long before the appointment is over he loosens up, teasing The Twinkie. He listens very carefully to her descriptions of how she feels, what happens when she tries to walk. He checks her reflexes, her ability to feel sensation, her ability to walk. All in all, it is nearly 45 minutes later that he rises from his chair, and tells us that he has a preliminary diagnosis that he wants to confirm with an MRI.
If the PN is correct, Twinks spinal cord is (literally) tied down, and is being stretched and pulled. The problem has likely been there since before she was born... but was likely triggered by one of her recent growth spurts. The symptoms match well enough, and because The Twinkie was born with feet and leg problems, it all fits together.
Now we wait - all tied up in knots - for the MRI. The MRI will tell the PN if he is correct - and will allow him to "see" exactly what is going on in and around her spinal cord.
All tied up, because something that shouldn't be - might be - tied down.