When I was working in my first restaurant in Vegas, I eventually had to quit due to some unbearable pain in my back. It got to the point where no amount of medication, icing, stretching, etc. would relieve the pain. For me it was one of the saddest events of my life...I had waited so long to get to that point to be in a professional kitchen, and my body failed me. I pushed through as long as I could. But once I started not sleeping at night, it just became too much.
I don't want to get into a discussion about healthcare, especially healthcare in Nevada (although I would reeeeeally like to vent about it, but I won't) but let's just say that my doctor wasn't all that concerned with my issues. So, for the past 19 months, I have been operating under the assumption that I had sciatica. Stretches, exercises, etc. According to my doctor at the time, sciatica normally goes away on its own after a while.
Anyways, my wife and I moved back to California. We finally got health insurance and I have been trying to get my back issues resolved. I found an excellent doctor who was really concerned that I was experiencing pain, and wanted to resolve it...not just send me on my way. He examined me thoroughly, asked DOZENS of questions, and even ordered some more tests. But from the first five minutes of my exam, he told me flat out, "Its not sciatica." And that was just based on his initial questions!
Anyways, after some initial tests and exams, he diagnosed me with arthritis! ME! I'm only 34! I wasn't sure how to take it. At first I was relieved, because now my problems have a name...something that can be fairly treatable. Later, I was a little down about it...because doesn't arthritis get worse as the years pass? I just got the diagnosis yesterday, so I haven't delved into researching it that deeply yet. But based off of my aunt's experiences with arthritis, I am not horribly encouraged.
I know things will be fine. And I may have a milder form of it (specialist visits next). And like I said...I am almost MORE relieved to know that my pain has a name....it has been properly diagnosed, and I can now get treatment. Feeling like this for over a year has affected me more than I realized. I think I've been ignoring the pain, even though its never gone away. In fact, because the doctor was so thorough and was asking me such detailed questions, he brought me face-to-face with how I have actually been feeling for the past 19 months. And almost ironically, I now feel worse than before my doctor visits...he made me aware of my pain again. DANG IT! What's that saying? Ignorance is bliss?!
So over the next little bit, let's see how things go. I am completely grateful for concerned physicians and glad I found a good doctor so quickly upon moving back to my home state. I need a beer!