Tuesday, December 21, 2010

back to the back (just because I can).

My last whining post about my back problems was on November 11, a lifetime ago, and I do think we needs must have another. Why, you say? Well, shucks, it's about me and that's a topic I find fascinating (as I understand it, such feelings are a requisite for doing this sort of public self-humiliation).Also, if I don't do some whining about medical stuff periodically, I stand the risk of being dismissed from the Old People Cartel just when I'm on the verge of being elected to one of the offices as it seems on the verge of becoming, as we say euphemistically, vacated (RIP). Work with me here, people, I got ambitions.

The second round of shots, after seeming to be effective for a brief stretch, actually undid some of the comfort levels attained in the first go-round. I was still far from the pain levels I had before I started this treatment but whenever my leg started to hurt it remained constant and my effective previous treatment with aspirin morning and night did nothing to alleviate the problem. So I called last week and set up an appointment to go back and talk to the head guy. He's one of top top four pain-management specialists in the area and, well, comfortable.

He went over my MRI a couple of times again, mumbling to himself, "what are we missing here?" and then let out a Sherlockian "Aha!" or its equivalent. He explained with the use of a skeletal back model he had handy that a portion of my lower spine had been taken out in my 1992 back operation and indications were that my issues this time were in the area just above that. That areas is where they did my first three injections. Now he saw that there was pressure on my nerve back in the original area,in a side portion of the spine which still remained. "So, you want to try and fix right now?" You bet.

The process was the same as before. I lie down on a table shirtless, he smears my low back with an anesthetic cream, then injects more anesthetic stuff into the area and then the steroids. The guy is perfect at this. After the sharp sting of the original shots, all I felt was some strong pressure.  He did his thing, studying an (I presume) x-ray screen that he and the attending nurse were moving around above  me (actually, they were moving me and my table around under it) and giving me shots I barely notice.

Then came the unexpected. "Now," he said, "we have to try and recreate your original pain to make sure we hit the right area." Wait, what? The following series of shots were as close to unbearable as anything I've ever felt, sending waves of pain down my lower back and leg until the final one which damned near knocked me off the table. "That hurt all the way down to your toes?" Jesus, yes!

We were done. For the next several minutes, any move I made was wicked hurt-y. I wanted to get out of there but trying to roll over and slide off into a chair was beyond my pain threshold. Finally I managed to do it. Once sitting, things began to go back to mere throbbing but manageable pain (I suspect, That fact that I never normally lie on my stomach since that operation nearly 19 years ago was part of the issue while on the table. My leg pain diminished to manageable levels quickly during the five minutes they made me sit and wait. They had a final word for me however. "There's still a lot of anesthesia working inside your back, but by tonight or tomorrow, it'll be gone and that  could a little bit of hell for a day or two."

I feel great at the moment. But here I sit, awaiting hell. Or not.

UPDATE: Hell never showed up. First time I ever enjoyed being stood up.

(And if this post don't earn me my Old Folks merit badges, I might just have to sign on with the young folk again, although,honestly, you guys really don't seem quite as young as you used to either.)

1 comment:

  1. I certainly can sympathize, having been in varying levels of pain, off and on, for the last three weeks after my surgery. From awakening after surgery yelling "oh $#!+" over and over for 20 minutes while writhing on my hospital bed to the mind-numbingly crazy pain of bladder spasms at odd times day and night. Back pain can be and is the worst kind of pain as it radiates out to all parts of your body- numbing legs and arms into uselessness causing dropped items and stumbles or falls. I hope this latest treatment does you good!