anxiety, chronic illness, chronic pain, disabled, drugs, health, illness, medical marijuana, surgery

epidural steroid injection

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. 🙂

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diagnosis, disabled, illness, Uncategorized, writing

journey to a diagnosis, part 1

two years ago i started a journey that i’m still on. it began with a pain my  left hip. i went to my GP and she said the problem was bursitis and that my  orthopedic surgeon. should give me a cortisone shot. when i when i went the surgeon she said it wasn’t bursitis and so she wouldn’t give me the shot. i was starting to get frustrated because as it went on, the pain in my leg (it was starting to spread)  was really getting to be a problem in moving around.i started wearing compression bandages on anything that hurt. i still do that. i also wear ankle braces and compression socks. i wear compression gloves for the pain in my hands.

my hands hurt because i had four surgeries on them, some a bit unusual, for i had trigger finger in all ten fingers. highly unusual. the doctor said it was genetic (my father had it in one finger as did his brother and one of his sisters. the other reason is because i’m diabetic. the surgeries were years ago but my hands will never be the same. they swell regulary and hurt like hell. i think the surgeon was  too quick to to do the huge surgeries. but whatcha gonna do? i put ice on them all the time.g

the orthopedic surgeon sent me back to my GP who then said it was sciatica. i almost cried. she then sent me to a pain doctor. i was glad because i thought i knew what it was. was.the GP sent me to a  pain doctor. he told me to have an  MRI to see if anything is going on with my spine. he found that i have spinal stenosis. L4 and L5 were pinching the nerves, which caused the pain in my leg and my low back . my pelvis and hips hurt deep inside. they found that i had arthritis in my pelvis as we in several  parts of my spine, not to mention the severe arthritis that i have in my knees. the knees get synvisk injections 2 times a year. they help a lot.

the pain doctor prescribed medicine that would help. the pain was spreading to my whole body.he gave me a big dose of gabbapentin, cymbalta, a strong NSAID called Sulindac and norco. they helped a lot,  but not nearly enough. he decided a procedure would help. i had an epidural steroid injection in  L5.

the clinic i go to for all my doctor, built a surgery center right next to the clinic. my procedure was only a couple of months after they’d opened. it was lovely! they put me in a room for prepping me for the procedure. the nurses were so nice. there  were three of them fussing over me. it actually  was really nice. i felt well taken care of. after kind of a  long wait they wheeled me into the operating room. i layed on my stomach on the operating table. it was a conscious sedation but you could have fooled me because i was close to being unconscious. they were giving me iv versed and fentanyl. that part  was  great! lol i could feel the doctor giving me little local anesthetic around the area he was going to go in with the needle. i didn’t feel much of anything other than my legs my legs went kind of numb and jumpy. when he finished i was taken to post op where i was given after care   instructions and got dressed. it didn’t help at all.

i’ll going to stop here because it’s a very long story. i meant for these sections of the story into approximately 500 words. i went over quite a bit this time!

stay tuned for the second installment!!