Sunday, November 9, 2008

Getting "Stabbed In The Back"


Here is a play-by-play of the spinal tap from Friday morning:

1. Arrive at hospital at 8:30, and get checked in and prepped - which at that time consisted of just stripping and putting on a gown, INT (IV) started, and blood drawn. It took two IV techs to get the vein, although I am not usually a "hard stick). Yeah, it hurt, but I'm not a "baby" usually, so it was okay. I don't always hit the artery (for arterial blood gases in connection with my job as a respiratory therapist either, so I took no offense).

The nurse drew 9 tubes of blood which were needed to rule out all the funky stuff that could be going on inside my head.

2: 11:30: My neurologist shows up (finally - procedure WAS scheduled for 9)

3. 11:45: We begin. I was told to turn to the wall and bring my body into fetal position. (If I had known then what the pain would be like, I would have gone into fecal position! ;)
Swabbed down with Betadine, and injected with Lydocaine to numb the site.

4. 11:50: LP needle gets inserted (don't know the size, sorry, maybe 18 gauge, though) . It took him three tries before he found my "G-Spot", but he did find it finally, and drew enough fluid so he had three vials for himself - one of which will be stored for 30 days.

I suppose he needed some confirmation of where he was, so he began poking around in there.

I wish he had not done that, because what heretofore was a pretty "easy" procedure, then became hell on earth, because he hit the particular nerve he needed and, not expecting it, I of course jumped, he lost his site, but was able to regain it and resumed - hitting that spot a total of three times. Ouchie!!!! :(

5. 12 noon: Procedure over, needle out, hole covered up, and then I was instructed to lie still for 3-4 hours. (I made it through 2 before I began bribing my nurse to let me go home. In retrospect , I probably should have lain there the whole 3-4 because the headache which followed has stayed with me, and is still with me, even though I am taking Tylenol and drinking elephants full of Pepsi Max, which has a bunch of caffeine.)

To quote a portion one of my favorite Dirt Band tunes:

Video Tape
Words and Music by Steve Goodman

"If your life was on video tape
Wouldn’t everything be all right?
When your head hurts the morning after
You could roll it back to late last night
You could replay all the good parts
And cut out what you don’t like
Oh wouldn’t you be in good shape
If your life was on video tape."

Fast forward - I was supposed to have worked Friday night, but at the last minute was able to get a friend to swap Friday night for Monday night, so I returned to work Saturday night thinking everything was going to be all right.


I didn't even last 5 hours into my 12 hour shift, had to check myself into my own ER as a patient and get sent home at about 4 this morning. I was given fluids in ER consisting of, Reglan - for sick stomach, Benadryl - an antihistamine to prevent swelling from the Decadron - a steroid to prevent and also reduce swelling. After about 40 minutes, and no relief from the headache ( pain scale 2-3 while lying absolutely still, 8-9 with any movement - even just a sigh), I was given some Dilaudid (1 mg) and 12.5 mg of Phenergan for pain and nausea.

So here I am, at home, taking a Vicodin for the headache which is still with me, and every now and then writing a few lines in this blog so as not to forget anything. (I have been writing for an hour and a half now).

If I am no better by tomorrow (Monday), I'll be going back to the hospital for what is called a "Blood Patch" which is taking some of my own blood and injecting it into my spine to replace the fluid which he took and which may have leaked out after the procedure, and to make the pain go away.

So now we wait. I was called at the end of the day by my Neuro guy who said "So far, so good", but reminded me that those other fluid samples will take a week to hear back from, and one (the fluid which will be examined for protein 14-3-3-, a while longer than that.

Am I glad I did this? Yes.

Would I do it again? HELL NO!

I spoke with a friend afterwards and told her that I think there may soon come a time when I throw up my hands and say "Hell with it! No more!!!!!" I'll still keep taking the meds, but I am thinking VERY HARD about the 72 hour EEG which he wants me to do now. (This is wearing a monitor/computer while going about my normal routine and keeping a diary of symptoms).

Sorry, I am trying to be optimistic here, but "Some Days Are Diamonds, Some Days Are Stone". Right now, I'm not feeling very "rich".

And no - SHE wasn't there. However, my ex-wife (and best friend) was, which is much appreciated. What did I expect, right?

Thanks for reading, enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have a great week coming up.



Anonymous said...

Glad you are among us living! Now, wasn't that a fine back stabbing!? Isn't it sad the want them to find something else wrong so it won't be AD? Kind of a lose-lose situation.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a lurker from the straight dope which is how I found your blog. I'd meant to say hi before now, and I wish I could say something more useful or helpful, but all I can say is that I'm reading the things you write. I'm sorry that the spinal tap sucked so much - it sounds like you coped with it admirably though. I hope the pain goes away soon. I imagine that if you do the EEG thing, it will be a total breeze compared with this!


guy said...


I was thinking about you as my wife was having her LP on Friday. You've both gone through a rough procedure.
I hope you're feeling better man!! Lay down and take it easy if you can!!!

all the best,

Ttom said...

Glad to hear that you are well now.

Your bud, later,

Bill Craig said...

Thanks so much to all of you for your support! You have no idea how much I appreciate it and wish we were closer than just the internet.

Tom T: Yeah it is sad, but what if it is something treatable?

My next blog entry will be interesting and maybe even a little shocking. Read with an open mind, please.


Bill Craig said...


Yeah, it was a tough ordeal for both of us, sounds-like, but at least we're past it and now comes the wait.

I wish only the best for you and your wife!