Anyway, for some time now I've had recurring numbness in my legs, usually when I'm lying down, but occasionally brought on by bad shoes and/or walking on concrete. In the past handful of months (starting around Thanksgiving or so to the best of my recollection), this has become increasingly prominent and accompanied by pain, sometimes stabbing, sometimes burning, often both, especially in my left thigh. A few times it's been so bad that I woke up yelping in pain.
Before FC, I arranged for a doctor appointment, but as my doctor (as well as every other doctor in the area, as far as I can tell) is always booked to capacity, the actual appointment didn't come until this past Tuesday. Oy. Anyway, his prima facie diagnosis is that it's probably one of two things:
a) Nerve pinching caused by spinal deterioration (e.g., a slipped disk), or
b) Arterial blockage preventing blood flow to the muscles.
As I've already got a history of back damage (and nerve pinching), and as the symptoms described fit the classic pattern expected with the slipping of the "#2 lumbar disk," I'm inclined to suspect it's option a. But in order to rule out option b, I'm getting tests for both in the next couple of weeks.
The tests in question are an MRI ("magnetic resonance imaging") for the spine, and a "lower extremity arterial ultrasound" for the arterial blockage. Although both sound scarily House-like, I'm under the impression they're actually pretty humdrum. Both are "non-invasive, outpatient procedures" and neither has any special preparations, so I suspect they pretty much consist of sticking me into a giant Machine That Goes Ping, then charging my insurance company $5,000.
However, this is just the diagnosis. The treatment is another matter all together, and one of which I am completely ignorant at this stage. I suspect that either one of them are likely to involve some kind of surgery ... and I don't mind telling you that the idea of somebody operating on my spine gives me the jibblies. On the other hand, the idea of gradually losing the feeling in my left leg because my nerves are being scrunched isn't exactly a happy thought either. :P
Both tests are happening in the next two weeks, so I expect that I'll know what's happening within a month or less, and be able to adjust my various plots and plans accordingly. We'll see.