Sunday, September 4, 2011

Quick update on back problems

With everything else going on, I don't remember if I told you I had epidural injections last month. Well, I did. Same week as my colonoscopy / EGD. It was a busy hard week on my body.

Today I had my follow up with the Pain Management Specialist / Anesthesiologist who performed the procedure.

What I'm pretty sure I didn't tell you is that although I was scheduled for one basic epidural injection, when I got there I was informed that the doctor felt that two injections, directly onto the affected nerve, would be more effective.


For me, this meant that the procedure was more invasive, I now had to be put under anesthesia, and my after-care instructions went from a mere eight hours of modified bedrest to 8 hours of modified bedrest, plus an additional 16 hours of strict limitations on my activity (24 hours total before resuming normal activity).

Whatever. We got thru it.

At my follow up today, he seemed pleasantly surprised that all of my pain was gone, but not so surprised that I'm still having numbness & tingling in my legs. He told me that if those symptoms didn't go away with the injection, they're not going away unless I have surgery. But... that unless I'm having symptoms of weakness or paralysis, or develop other disturbing symptoms, it's not worrisome. Just annoying.

So overall good news. But I do have to live with the annoyance of numbness & tingling in my legs. For... well, I suppose maybe forever.

He said the pain could come back tomorrow, or may never come back. Which is what my neurosurgeon had told me of these injections.

He quietly reviewed my chart for a few minutes, asked me a few questions about my original symptoms, and asked why my neurosurgeon didn't think surgery was necessary.

I explained that the surgeon was hoping the injection would negate the need for surgery, or at least postpone it, since the surgery itself was so invasive.

He then laughed.

"No wonder the surgeon sent you here", he said. "You were a challenge for me to inject, you'd be a nightmare to operate on. I mean, your disc exploded!"

I didn't tell him that. He read that in my chart. I'm sure it probably doesn't actually say "exploded", but has the medically-Latin name for it, but still.

He then told me that he hoped to never see me again. And Lord willing I'll never see my surgeon again either.

Nice guy. There are certain settings in which hoping to never see someone again is the polite way to say good-bye. Leaving your Pain Management Specialist is one of them.

Thanks for checking in.

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