Hey Mark, thanks for piping in! I'll make some responses in order to try and clarify.
* If the ophth didn't find anything wrong with her eye(s), there was absolutely no reason to jump to a suspicion of MS (that would have required a finding of Optic Neuritis to make sense).
As far as I know, the Opthamologist found "nothing physically wrong with her eye." I suppose he may have noticed that the optic nerve seemed swollen? Is it even possible to notice such a thing by shining a light through the eye or other typical "looking at a person" type of eye exams?
* A single MRI can show sufficient clinical signs appropriate to a diagnosis of MS (and could have been enough to change neuro's mind), but does need to backed up with elimination of 'similars.'
Everything I've read so far implies that at least two MRIs are necessary to diagnose someone with MS, or at least two attacks with a certain amount of time between them. I'll go try to find some info on people getting diagnosed really fast with only on MRI and no history. Do you know of any off hand?
As far as ruling out similars, I'm not really sure what they're doing in that department. I know they've taken a variety of blood tests and an assortment of other things, but I can't really get answers about their ultimate purpose from the nurses administering most of them. I'll have to grill the neuro whenever he comes around again.
* The thing I find completely mystifying is why your wife ended up in the hospital. "Suspicion of MS" is not life-threatening! Who admitted her? For what reason? One doesn't need to be admitted for any of the tests you've mentioned.
When this all began to speed up on the morning of day three, the neuro was extremely insistent that we get her treated immediately. After some questioning, it was explained that there was an inpatient option and an outpatient option. The latter of which still involved multiple trips to the hospital, what I believe is an orally taken steroid of some kind, and is understood to be less effective than the direct IV steroid treatment, which would require admittance into a hospital room for some time. If something was wrong I wanted my wife to start getting help immediately, so we went for it.
* Even if she has MS, IV steroids should have been discussed with her before starting them. There are definitely negative effects and risks, and steroids do no more than shorten the duration of symptoms, anyway
They were briefly discussed. I stress briefly, because as you've heard, this is all happening extremely quickly. Supposedly they are supposed to potentially make her irritable and cause some issues sleeping. She seems to have experienced a little of both. Her normally sweet nature has made the first issue extremely minor and the second was fixed with some ambien. She more or less didn't sleep at all the previous night, but got tons of it over the last night, much to my relief.
* Nearly instantaneous diagnoses are not really rare (but usually happen to people who have histories of symptoms prior to whatever sent them to a neuro).
Yeah, this is one of the things that really gets me. I did some quick looking into examples of super fast MS diagnoses and invariably the individual mentioned a history of experiencing symptoms in the past. In all the years I've known her, she has not experienced anything that alerted us to this sort of issue. In fact, she rarely ever gets sick in general.
* The blood thinner episode might have something to do with the steroids, but it and the fact your wife was admitted and supposed to have a doppler makes me wonder if someone there thought/thinks she had a stroke. Is it possible that all her care decisions are not being managed by a single doctor?
We probed a little more about the blood thinner. Supposedly, this was supposed to be used as insurance against clotting in patience who were confined to their bed most of the time. Because my wife can get around fine (other than the inconvenience of being hooked to an IV) we have opted out of getting this shot. Regarding the management issue, I sure hope not. As I currently understand the situation, this is all being organized and instructed by the neurologist, who is supposed to be receiving test results and interfacing with Stanford on the matter. We have, however, been visited by a couple of other doctors (GPs, and a couple specialists for specific tests, if I'm not mistaken) who have been addressing concerns regarding the events that have been happening since we were admitted. They seem unaware of specific details regarding the mysterious first MRI, but all the results that they have seen from the tests being administered so far been pretty positive on the whole.
This makes me really want to know more about the first MRI.
It just so happens that I go to the Stanford MS Clinic and I saw another doc in their Neuro Dept. for a mild stroke last year, so I'm definitely curious how all this is going to turn out.
Whatever happens, your wife should not be a passive patient. She should insist that both of you participate in any decisions about care.
Best of luck to both of you...
Thanks so much, we really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to comment on this ordeal at all. I will definitely attempt to get some questions answered at the soonest opportunity. Although I loathe the idea of subjecting my wife to any more needles, pokes, or jabs of any kind, I would feel much better if I knew alternatives were being tested for as well.
I'm very sorry to hear about your issue with a stroke, my uncle got hit by a pretty bad one maybe two years ago now and it was a very scary time. Friends and strangers alike have pressed on me about how highly regarded Stanford is on neurological issues, so it sounds like you were in great hands at least.
Hope all is going well, God bless!