It is always interesting to engage with another branch of medicine and to learn about what happens in a particular speciality. You might recall that I went in for a brain MRI earlier on in the year. The results came back, saying that ‘increased signal intensity is seen in the subcortical white matter consistent with minimal deep white matter ischaemic change.’
I must admit, I was freaking out when I heard about this. My doctor referred me to a neurologist, and told me not to worry. I did worry a bit at first and did a whole heap of research. I found that changes in the structure of the white matter can mean the start of dementia among other things. I did have some concerns about this!
Everything FEELS pretty normal
By the time the neurology appointment rolled around, though, I was pretty sure that my brain is working fine. It does pretty much everything I want it to, and even improves in some areas. I also read the actual report which said ‘minimal’ deep white matter ischaemic change and thought I could probably stop worrying.
It turns out, after waiting in a hospital waiting room for over two hours (the public health system is excruciating), that this assumption is correct. I have one white dot towards the upper right hand side of my brain and one ‘kinda’ white dot towards the front. Apparently, you get one of those white dots for every ten years, so it is completely normal.
And THIS was what the pathology people were talking about! I guess it is a testament to the fact that the medical profession can be very cautious and overzealous where people’s health is concerned. This is probably a good thing!
A neurology consultation
I found the neurology consultation interesting though. Before he looked at the brain images, he did all these clinical tests. Can I smell eucalyptus oil? Can I identify which finger moved out of my peripheral vision, can I touch my nose with my eyes closed. It was a fun and interesting set of tests, designed to help him to see if there was any kind of neurological problem.
Then he took my blood pressure. Completely old school with a stethoscope and a pressure cuff. I was laughing. Hehe. All in all it was a very interesting appointment. Another little insight into another specialty of medicine.