As I was filling out my paperwork and signing all the consent forms Wednesday night I noticed an odd discrepancy. The medical assistant's paperwork ordered the epidural for Cervical 5-6. The paperwork sent by the Spine Doc (Yep, the same one who told me this would never help 7 months ago) had it ordered between Thoracic 1 and Cervical 7. This was upsetting to me and worried Mark enough that he decided to stay through the procedure to see what the hell was up.
I explained it to the nurse at check in and the nurse doing my prep. Neither of them had any idea what was up, but luckily the prep nurse decided to leave the curtain open so we could catch the Spine doc if he happened to walk by.
Luckily he did, and here is the deal - if you insert the needle in from the back to "bathe" the whole area and hope for pain relief on the right, left and center, you want to go in between T-1 and C-7 because that is where the largest space is. If you try to go in between C-5 and C-6, the area is very narrow and you have a high chance of getting the needle in the spinal cord (cue complete ghost_light freak out.) BUT, since I say I am only having pain on the left, there is a procedure where they will go in on just that side between the discs which basically has the exact same risks, side effects and benefits of going in lower from the back, it just won't effect mid-line and right-side pain. So I signed up for that one, and then worried.
The prep nurse was nice, but I wasn't very impressed. She kept dropping things as she hooked up my IV and she had trouble with the vein. I've always been told I have really good veins and no one has ever complained before, but she said she was having problems with it rolling. So, we cracked House jokes while she worked on it. It was not the most comfortable IV I've ever had and she used enough tape to secure a small nation (Mark actually asked if my IV was under there when they let him back to see me before I went into the operating room. Of course, he has never seen me with one before either.)
Right before they took me in I started feeling sick to my stomach and getting hot flashes. That is a pretty normal occurrence in fasting ghost_lights though, so I didn't let anyone but Mark know before they had me on the table and I got a lecture for that. I know I probably should have mentioned it, but, honestly, what else were they going to do for me? When I got in the room they had me hooked up to a heart monitor, pulse monitor and a BP cuff based on how my blood sugar and blood pressure dropped when they knocked me out to have my wisdom teeth removed so many millions of years ago. I wasn't even being completely knocked out this time, though I did opt to be sedated based on getting the fluoroscopic injections in my thoracic spine a couple years ago (damn those HURT!!). They kept saying it was just something to "take the edge off." I was awake and making comments the entire time. I think I remember the Spine Doc asking that I be given some more of it, but the nurse insisted she was going slow based on the wisdom teeth. I did drop, but they said it was within normal.
I was pretty damn out of it in the recovery room. Most of the questions they asked were met with blank stares while I worked on the best way to answer something like "How are you feeling?" The nice prep nurse lost even more points there. The post nurse was trying to get my IV unhooked and was just on a rant about how much tape she had used. "Why did she do this here? and why is your hand swelling....oh....you hold this cotton ball here, okay?" Prep nurse managed to put the IV all the way through the vein so I have a really nice bruise across the back of my right hand. Of course, when the post nurse asked who had done it, all I could do was stare.
Yesterday was one of those 'everything that I could move hurt to move' days, so Mark got me settled on the couch with soup and season 2 of Buffy and there I stayed. Even moving the mouse hurt (and still does, just a bit.) I've noticed that anytime they do anything that will help my shoulder even a little (even if it still hasn't helped now I can tell it will do something based on this) the spot on my mid-back gets worse. Luckily I found a comfy position with a pillow until the first dose of pain-killers wore off.
I'm doing a little better today, enough so that I keep forgetting I shouldn't be moving in certain ways, like reaching out the water glass to the faucet with my left hand instead of with my right, and getting twinges and the injection site is still awfully tender. I've already done the pain-pill though, and I still have the couch and a couple disc of Buffy if I have need. Considering I'm up to the episodes with The Judge, I think I will.