You wrote the following:
" I then hit numpad / and got back to General Settings so,
for fun, I double-left clicked again which should have put me
back in General Settings. It just sat there and a Tab press put
me back in."
If you really just double-clicked again, i.e. hit numpad slash twice
quickly, that might be your problem. I'd just defensively use routing.
It seems to work, and that way you're sure that you are where you think
you are. BTW, this may or may not work, but if you're using the object
cursor, NVDA-enter activates the object the cursor's on. That might let
you get to some things quicker than hitting NVDA-numpad slash and numpad
slash every time.