Monday, May 19, 2008

My recent epidural. What? You didn't even know I was pregnant?

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I'm not pregnant; I shouldn't even joke about such things. But I really did have an epidural last week. I guess "epidural" is the generic term for sticking a needle into a person's spine.

And it's every bit as fun as it sounds. The deal is I have a herniated disc, several actually, but one in particular that's been slowly stalking me and waking me every night, my personal incubus, if you will (if you will see definition #3, that is.).

When I wrote about my pain in the butt, it was quite uncomfortable, but as the months passed, the pain increased. So I wound up back at the back doctor, the guy who recommended surgery when I had a similar problem last year. I got an MRI (hello $5,000 insurance deductible!), and finally sought relief in the form of a needle in my spin.

Ironic, huh? Relief from a needle in my spine.

Apparently I should have eaten a decent meal before I went to get my shot, but I only grabbed a little snack on my way out of the house. And as I sat waiting and waiting for Dr. N, who, come to think of it, falls into the Dr. McDreamy category, I perused the Rachael Ray mag a PR hack sends me every month. With each new page, the foods looked more and more appealing. my stomach began to growl.

Then he entered the room and we got down to bidness.

I knew the shot would be unpleasant. I'm aware the kind of epidural a woman gets during childbirth provides immediate relief, but this one can take 10-14 days to kick in. I wasn't expecting instant gratification. But when he poked me with that needle, my eyeballs shot out of my head and bounced off the wall before they resettled in their sockets. I felt a searing pain follow the nerve form my spine down my butt and into my upper thigh. ("At least he hit the right spot!" She thought hopefully.)

A quick blood pressure check and then I was off to pick up my boys, just a mile away at school. But even though I had an acceptable blood pressure level, I felt a bit lightheaded. Somewhat reminiscent of the time I nearly (or maybe did) pass out after giving blood because I didn't stick around the blood center long enough to digest my sweet snack.

I did a quick mental inventory of what snacks might be tucked away in my bag: nothing but breath mints. My car: glove compartment- empty, arm rest- maybe a lollipop, backseat- nothing but crumbs, lots and lots of crumbs. Then I remembered a sealed container of cashews tucked away in a secret back compartment. I always keep a little something in case we get stuck in a storm or something.

Am I nuts for keeping those nuts in my car? Every time I hear about a major travel delay (planes, trains, automobile), natural disaster (tornado, earthquake, you name it) or terrorist incident (remember those people who get held captive in a Russian opera house a few years ago?). I feel compelled to keep food with me. On our recent trip to two-day trip to Death Valley, I brought a week's worth of crackers and snack bars with us...just in case, you know?

Despite the foreshadowing, I did not faint. I got the boys home from school with crashing the car, though I did at one point yell at them, "Can you just quiet down and behave for a few minutes?! I'm about to faint here!"

But I think they can work through that in therapy.

Once we were home though, I jumped into bed and, well, I crashed there for about 20 minutes until it was time to take Pikachu to his ball game. I felt refreshed enough to head out by that point.

As for my back, I still have some pain, but I'm sleeping through the night for the first time in months, which is a Very Good Thing. Now that the nerve pain has subsided a bit, I'll either do stretches or yoga and get my back straightened out, or start physical therapy to rid myself of my crooked ways. I've developed this odd leaning posture as a way to relieve the nerve pressure. I'm only 5 feet tall, I need to stand up straight as I can!

So there it is: a shot in the spine can be mighty fine.


Chief Family Officer said...

Ugh, I hated having epidurals, I can't imagine having to have one when I'm not even giving birth! I'm happy it's working for you though!

Cindy Fey said...

Hope you're feeling better these days! Chocolate works wonders - perhaps it will help the epidural work more efficiently!

Tracey said...

Oh, I hated my epidural!! One time only. Glad you DIDN'T faint...