Friday, February 12, 2016

Another day, another epidural.

So the back saga continues. After the MRI a few days ago, the orthopedic doctor could see that there's some herniation between my lowest two vertebrae which is irritating the sciatic nerve and causing the world's worst mucho pain. Every prescription he's given me has done nothing other than either make me sleepy or nauseous but failed to make a dent in the pain. Pah!

Next step is a steroid epidural! Yikes. 

I've had a few epidurals in my day and, since I was already wracked with labor pains at the time, I don't recall any pain when the harpoon needle went in. {I love it when they ask you if you want an epidural and you say "No, not yet", then they say "Well, don't leave it too late 'cause there's a point at which we can't administer it" and you do an immediate 180 on your decision.)  

This epidural will inject pain relief straight into the sciatic nerve I'm told. I may need one and I may need three. It may or may not work. Not wishing to sound glass-half-empty, I'm not overly optimistic since nothing (including Tylenol with Codeine and on another occasion a friend's Vicodin) has helped one iota. (Sorry Iota.) 

I'm just looking forward to being able to get dressed in under half an hour and with less fast-breathing than I currently have to do because of the pain. The current routine consists of dropping my knickers (panties) on the floor, putting my good-leg foot in, flipping them half way up my calf, bending slightly sideways (away from the pain) to grab them with left hand, holding them steady while I (and this is the excruciating part) try to lift my right leg six inches off the floor and into the leg hole. The noises I make too! As for shaving my legs, well that's gone completely out the window, which makes for some embarrassment when you're dealing with doctors who need to touch and/or hold various parts of your lower legs. 

The good news is that the pain I was worried about in my calf isn't a Deep Vein Thrombosis, which would have been a bit scary. That a close friend who's had a few close shaves is deathly afraid on my behalf doesn't alleviate the worry, but at least she could give me signs of an emergency. My doc says the sciatic nerve also controls the muscle behind/below the knee which is why I'm also having pain there. 

Oh, and he says it's all age related. 

Cheeky bugger!


14 comments:

  1. So sorry to read about all of this Toni, I do hope that the injection works! xx

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  2. Very sorry - it's all sounding horribly familiar. I was told I had a bulging disc, but I never had that injection as they didn't think it would work. Fingers crossed that it does for you x

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  3. I'm really sorry. I've had months of that awful pain and I've had long handled *pickers up* and also a special gadget to help with socks. Shoes were a nightmare and I sometimes did't go out because of that.
    It all seems a long time ago now as I seem fine apart from stiffness. Mustn't get too complacent though!
    Hoping for the best for you.
    Maggie x

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    1. We might actually have a picker-upper in the house somewhere. That's a good idea.

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    2. Truly can empathise,after a bad fall last year I broke my wrist both ulna and radius, travelled overseas for 10 days and on my return had the wrist operated on where it was plated and pinned. But, I had incredible pain in my lower back and left side and leg,the treatment you under went They tried for me with out success and the MRI clearly showed a torn and ruptured disc and compressed L1 to L4 and the only option left was to operate, which they did and fused L1-L4 with a plate bolts and pins. Recovery was three weeks flat absolutely flat on my back then a brace for walking and lots and lots of physio. Wrist has healed back has healed and every day an improvement, though I can't do the things like moving stuff or lifting heavy items and bend over for too long. I still suffer pain from time to time but that's dependant on my workload for the day. Wrist was operated on in May and my back in July 2015 at huge cost I might add.

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  4. Toni, I'm so sorry to hear you're going through this. I had/have a herniated disc and in 2012 was hospitalized because I couldn't move. Agree with Maggie -- that pickup gadget was a godsend when I could move. Some other things I learned the hard way: make sure you're taking stool softeners/laxatives if you're taking opioids because they slow down peristalsis. My doctors didn't advise me of this until I was severely constipated. Not fun! And if you can, get a prescription for physical therapy. My PT came to my house and showed me new ways to get dressed, walk up stairs, go to sleep (pillows under legs), get out of bed, etc. that didn't cause me enormous amounts of pain. And lastly, think hard about surgery if it's suggested. It doesn't often help, and you're probably better off paying for PT, core training, and other DIY remedies. Good luck. hugs, di

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    1. Definitely going to avoid surgery if I can. Just don't have time for that!

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  5. Ow, it all sounds horrendous. Happy for you to take my name in vain in the circs.

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  6. Oh you poor thing - this sounds awful. I've been lucky not to have back problems but my other half is prone to them and has had some horrendous back pain caused by doing something usually insignificant.

    Sending healing vibes if that helps x

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    1. Yes, this started back in May when I did some gentle gardening, and I mean very gentle. It has just been getting worse and worse so I started having PT and then the sciatica started!

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  7. Ouch! That sounds excruciating. I read your MRI post on holiday and felt very bad for you. I feel claustrophobic just at the thought of it.
    I thought I'd add a cheerful story for you: when I was in for my ectopic pregnancy, I apologised to the doctor for my unshaven legs (I didn't know I was going to be mortally ill that day) and he told me it was quite alright, they see worse, at least I'd washed. That still gives me giggles.

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    1. Yes, I would think with an ectopic situation they would have more to worry about. Yikes.

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  8. Oh, no! I know your pain! I have a ruptured disc myself which occasionally plays up but when I first hurt myself(5 years ago), I was more or less flat in bed (on my stomach; I couldn't tolerate sleeping on my back) for at least 2 weeks. Walking was excruciating, as was dressing, but the worst was sitting down on the loo. I actually started getting pretty dehydrated because I didn't want to drink anything and have to subsequently face the pain involved in getting my knickers down and dealing with sitting - and then, standing (shudder.) I actually did have the epidural injection, which did help (eventually). They put me out to do it, so I can't really say what was involved. I can say, though, that the thing that helped me the most (more than the epidural, I felt) was PT. I went 3x per week for a month or more, then weekly after that. I still do the exercises to this day, although I admit I tend to be very lax about them until I start having back pain, and then I get very faithful again. The other thing that helped tremendously was ice packs. I know it sounds counterintuitive (people always want heat) but ice helps to calm the poor irritated and inflamed nerves = and has a bonus of making things a bit numb. Sending lots of healing thoughts your way. x

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    1. You're right. I'm sort of OK when I finally get up on my feet but the sitting (and peeing) is the worst. And getting socks and shoes on.

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