Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mental note to self: it pays to ask questions FIRST

Yesterday I got to spend quality time at the hospital. I had a back injection scheduled for 930 am but had to go with my husband first thing in the morning, which means I got there at 715. I did plan to visit a friend who works there, another friend who volunteers there, have breakfast, and get my bloodwork that is scheduled for two weeks from now done. The advantage to getting my blood work done ahead means that the doctor will have the results when I see her an hour later.

First stop blood lab - where the only blood work in the system for me was for a single test which is very odd. Usually my oncologist wants a full set of blood work before I see her. The blood lab thought it was odd as well and said we should check with the doctor first but it was too early to call the doctor's office. They said try again another time. Second stop, visit my friend the volunteer. She wasn't in yet. I gave up and said time for breakfast. I ate some healthy egg beaters and a not so healthy bagel. I tried calling my friend who works there and she wasn't available. Finally it was time to call my doctor's office where I found the doctor only wanted the single test (I bet that gets changed later and they want a complete blood count). So I went back to the blood lab and got my single test done. Then I went to visit my friend who was there. She was running late which is why she wasn't in when I stopped by before.

Then it was time for me to check in for my lovely injection. I did the usual waiting around and then they brought me in. They said (and they always double check - are we doing brain surgery or a knee operation - to be sure you know why you are there) 'do you know what you are having done today?' I said 'back injection'. She said 'actually a diagnostic facet block'. WHAT!!!! That's the most horrible, nastiest, painful procedure I had done last summer WHICH DIDN'T WORK! And it resulted in horrible pain afterward. (Why didn't I ask first? Why didn't I take an ativan before coming?)

I thought back to the last doctor appointment and he had confused me with diagrams and explanations. I thought I was getting a single injection. But no, another diagnostic block. First they use three needles to numb progressively deeper levels into your spine. Then they stick in three needles, one in each facet joint and put in nasty stinging pain medication. Then they stick in more needles, one in each of the three facet joints and inject really nasty medication. Then they go to the other side of your spine. So you repeat the procedure. 3+3+3+3=12 needles!!!! Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.

But then happiness. My back didn't hurt (in that area) for a few hours. I kept a pain log - and tried all sorts of things like walking, standing, cooking, gardening, computer work, and my back didn't hurt. The next step is to fax in my pain log (which is temporarily MIA, I am sure I put it in a 'safe' place and will find it someday) and see about a more permanent solution. The thing about this nasty procedure is that it is only for diagnostic properties and if it works, you get to have it again but with radiofrequency attack on the pain nerves to kill them off. But you get sedated for that. Gee I can't wait.

Anyway, I do feel this one was better than the other one - it was much higher up in my back. I will find and fax in my pain log so we can work on this area before progressing to the other areas of pain.

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