When they tell you you need a procedure, they give you a little sheet of paper with questions and answers to take home and read. I most prudently do this the day before. Tomorrow, I am going to have a diagnostic facet block which means they will stick six needles in my back using an x-ray machine to guide them. 'This is a diagnostic block because you will either feel better, meaning these joints are responsible for your pain, or you won't feel better, meaning that these joints are not generating your pain and we must look elsewhere for causes. You will be sent home with a pain diary to record how you are feeling after the block. Remember this is only TEMPORARY relief that may last a few hours to a few days. If it appears as if you obtained adequate relief from this block, we will consider the next step, which is radiofrequency ablation of the same nerves.'
They next discuss the icky parts - what are the risks and what they actually do during the procedure. Then after the procedure: "you will be taken to the recovery room in a wheelchair and discharged home shortly thereafter. It is very important for you to fill out the pain diary as accurately as you can. We want to know how your USUAL pains responded to the blocks. You are encouraged to be as active as you can be, really 'test' the back. Remember, we are not really masking anything so you will not hurt yourself. You may have some local tenderness from the needles, which ice may help relieve. Also, take your normal pain medicines.'
Hmmm... so they stick six needles in my back and then I need to go home and see if my back hurts more or less. I'm not sure I like the wheelchair part either. The other injections did not involve wheelchairs (why am I thinking of "Curious George Goes to the Hospital" all of a sudden - where he gets involved in wheelchairs on ramps?)Anyway, now I am sufficiently grossed out and stressed out.
Today my back hurts. Yesterday my back really hurt. I can't take any of my back stuff this weekend so it hurts all the time. In view of that fact, I made an executive decision yesterday that if my back was going to hurt I could sit at home and do nothing and it would hurt, or we could go out and have fun and celebrate the holiday and it would hurt. We opted for plan B and went and played mini golf, games in the arcade, and had ice cream. (Ice cream is important in stress relief and I haven't had any in a long time.) Then my back really hurt so I iced it for most of the afternoon. This morning I woke up and my back hurts. We were going to get up and go to the beach this morning but decided against it for several reasons, the big one being the state of my back. (But also it would be high tide at the wrong time and really crowded because its July 4th weekend and the first nice weekend in months.)
Tomorrow I will go to work in the morning and then have my fun adventure. Then I can at least start taking my pain meds. I'll just live in my whiney state for another day.