on thursday i am going to have my sixth epidural steroid injection. the injection helps control the pain from the problems in my back. i have spinal stenosis which is a narrowing of the spinal column which causes some if the discs to get squashed (like my technical term?) and pinch nerves.
i have problems at L4 and L5 as well as the sacroiliac joint. my pain doctor performs the procedure.
they say “procedure” but to me it seems a lot like surgery! i have to fast, stop taking NSAIDS several days before, etc. i go to the surgery center and change into a hospital gown, a icky papery shower cap sort of thing to gather up my hair. they give you cool socks with treads on the bottom. i love them. i’ve quite a collection now.
two nurses come in and put you under a blanket from a warmer, oh jeez that feels good. no matter how hot it outside, it’s freezing cold in the surgery center, plus it’s just reassuring to have a warm blanket over you. they put in an iv and ask me a million questions. even though i’ve done this many times, i still feel a little scared each time.
the nurses are so very very nice. when the doctor finishes her previous case she comes in and talks to me and then they roll me into the OR which is incredibly cold. i have to roll over onto the operating table and lay on my tummy. there is a head rest, like they use during massages. they start giving me fentynal and versed–conscious sedation. you are high as a kite, so it’s almost fun. lol
i hate laying there for 45 minutes with basically nothing on, my butt just hanging out, uncovered. joy. luckily the drugs make you not care too much because i find it extremely discomforting to be nude in a room full of people. there are lots of nurses. the doctor wears a lead apron because they use a giant x-ray machine that is mounted on the ceiling and tilts around as they need it to. that’s how they know exactly where to inject the cortisone…pretty important since they’re putting it in my spine. the injections hurt some going in, but after that it’s not too bad.
when they’re done i get back on the gurney, more embarrassment because the hospital gown is totally open and practically flapping around as you move. then everybody gets to see everything! i’m sure they don’t give a shit, seen it a million times. but i do! once you’re on the gurney they immediately drown you in warm blankets. the feeling is so good, like the drugs, it’s almost worth it just for that. lol
in the recovery room they put ice packs on your back, keep you awhile for making sure your vitals are good and you’re not going to have a bad reaction or flip out or whatever.
omg i have to pee once i get out of the operating room, so that’s a priority! another time i had this surgery, the surgeon was an hour an half late so i feel asleep. i woke up and they were rolling me into the OR and i had to pee bad, i mean really really bad. but we were practically there so i couldn’t say anything. it was horrible! i was pretty sure i would wet myself on the table. that’s not so good for a sterile environment. thank goodness the drugs made it so i didn’t feel like i had to pee. when i got out of surgery, i didn’t have to pee badly, go figure!
you don’t stay in the recovery long and your ride comes and takes you home. you have to have someone stay with you for 24 hours. then the back pain kicks in. it’s pretty unfun for a few days. i’ve got quite a bit of various medical marijuana edibles for that time.
after that, you wait. sometimes the injections work and sometimes they don’t. it’s a crap shoot. last one keep my pain low for about 9 months! most of the others did nothing. but i’ll try anything time after and after. the pain is very motivating.
so now i get to worry about it until 8am on thursday. 😦
i’ll be ok though, i always am. 🙂