When last I posted I was exhausted from being in pain and walking hunched over for almost a week and being unable to sleep. I was due for an MRI the next day. This picks up where I left off…
Tuesday morning I was at the MRI place bright and early for my 7:00 a.m. appointment. When I was undressed and taken to the room, a problem emerged. I couldn’t lay flat on the table! Every time I tried, the pain took my breath away and my body popped right up. They gave me a variety of pillows and pads and nothing worked. My eyes filled with tears and I said, “I HAVE to make this work!” Finally, after about ten minutes, I found a position which was still painful, but bearable. The MRI lasted at least thirty minutes and my back felt every one of those minutes. After it was over, I limped, hunchbacked, to my car and went home.
Once in a while people surprise you. When I got home, I called the scheduler, Brenda, and left a voice mail telling her the MRI was over and when the results should be in. I asked her to please let the doctor know, so that, maybe, just maybe I could get into a pain management center that day. I really didn’t expect much. I mean, she’s dealing with many cases and I was just one. But at 9:50 a.m. she called me and said that she had had to call several pain places and tried to wheedle an appointment for me that day. Most were full, but she managed to do it! She said, “You have an 11:15 appointment at the hospital and you must have a driver.” OMG! I had about ONE HOUR to get a driver and get there!
This is where you find out who your true friends are. Iris was the only person I could think of who could make it in the time frame. But, what a favor to ask! However, I had no choice. I called her and said, “Iris, my dear, dear friend. I have an emergency. Can you drop everything, hop into your car, pick me up and drive me to this hospital up North? I know it’s a lot, but it’s a chance to get me out of pain.” She didn’t even hesitate, just said, “Let me get my clothes on and I’ll pick you up by 10:30.” And she did, bless her.
After filling out a huge volume of paper work, I got in to see the doctor. He gave me the results of the MRI. I had ruptured a disc! He proposed giving me an epidural steroid injection and prescriptions for a different pain medicine than I’d had and a nerve medicine which helps damaged nerves.
This epidural thing is a bigger deal than I knew. It’s not just a shot. First they gave me a sedative. Then they took me to a room with a special machine that would allow them to guide the needle to the exact place where it was supposed to be. They wanted me to lay face-down on on the table. Another problem. Every time I tried, my back went into a spasm. It was a nightmare. I tried so hard and each time, my body rebelled. They gave me more sedative and I finally managed.
Next thing I knew, I opened my eyes and a nurse was frowning at me and almost yelling, “What is the number of your pain?” I was still disoriented and asked.
“Where am I?” Finally it came to me. Before I left, two nurses and the doctor had warned me that I wouldn’t magically be cured immediately. They said that it takes 24 to 48 hours for the steroid to kick in. Despite that, when I got off the table, I could stand upright! That part was a miracle! My leg still hurt when I walked, but…baby steps.
Twenty-four hours later my back is still good. The leg still has pain when I walk, but it might be fading a bit. They gave me a discharge sheet and number 5 on that list said: “You may experience increased pain and muscle spasm for 24-48 hours after your injection due to the trauma of the injection itself.” I’m hanging on to that.
Now the BAD NEWS and it’s really bad. My eye surgery had to be rescheduled! That broke my heart, but my eye surgeon and pain doctor agreed. The biggest risk of the eye surgery is infection and the steroid I received lowers the immune system. It is what it is. So now it’s scheduled for April 18th.
I apologize that this post is so long and promise it will be the last medical one for a while. Thanks for sticking with me.
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