Thursday, July 02, 2009

Sciatica Update

Well, after my last post things got progressively worse. My nine-day course of Prednisone was 3 tablets for 3 days, 2 tablets for 3 days, and 1 tablet for 3 days. I could tell when I went from 3 tablets to 2 that my pain level increased; when I went to 1 tablet, it got much worse. By Friday I was in so much pain that I called the Urgent Care center to have them go ahead and schedule the MRI. They called in a prescription for me for Celebrex to help with the pain in the meantime. The Celebrex has helped, but I'm still having a lot of pain. Now I'm also dealing with occasional numbness all the way down my leg.

Yesterday I went for my MRI. Now THAT was an experience. First of all, I'll tell you that I am VERY claustrophobic. So much so that if I'm in the car for longer than a half hour or so I have to open a window. So the thoughts of being confined in a tubular machine was not comforting. I knew the day was not going to be great when I woke at 4:00 am in pain and on the verge of a panic attack. I actually had to take a pain pill to be able to get dressed. Not a good start.

I went to the office and worked until 1:30 pm, then drove to the diagnostic center. I arrived at just past 2:00; my appointment was for 2:30, but I wanted to get there early enough to allow a little extra time to walk into the building in case it was crowded (and it was). I soon learned that because of some emergency procedures, the technician was running behind on his appointments. It was after 3:00 when they called me back. Sitting in the waiting room chair had really made my leg hurt much worse, and I could barely walk back to the dressing room. I changed into the provided gown and scrub pants and waited another 15 minutes.

By the time I got into the procedure room, I was really hurting. Then I saw the tube. I asked how long I had to be in it. 30 minutes. 30 MINUTES. *full body shudder* They gave me a signaling device to let them know if I had to come out of the tube and put a set of headphones on me that played elevator music in my ears. When he started moving me into the tube I closed my eyes and didn't open them the entire time I was in it. I knew that if I saw how close the tube was to me that I wouldn't be able to stand it.

So what's the procedure to test for the cause of excruciating pain probably caused by a back problem? We make you lay on your back, stick you in a confining noisy tube full of horrible noises, and won't let you move for 30 minutes. Sheesh.

Daddy had been in for an MRI they day before (rheumatoid arthritis), so I knew it would be uncomfortable. On top of the shoulder pain he had from having to be in a painful position for such a long time (his was 25 minutes), he said that he couldn't keep track of the time so he didn't know how much longer he had to tough it out. So, I knew to start counting songs they played in my ear. I figured that your average elevator music pop number probably runs around 3 minutes. So, I knew if I could make it through 10 songs, I'd be okay. One of the songs was "House of the Rising Sun", so I only had to make it through 8 songs. :-)

About 5 songs into the procedure the pain became nearly unbearable. The only thing that kept me in the tube was the knowledge that if I gave up, I'd just have to go through the whole thing again at another time. The pain in my leg was so bad when the technician brought me out of the tube that he had to help me sit up. I've never been so happy to have a test finished in my life.

And so, now I wait for results. Because of the holiday weekend, it will be at least Monday before the doctor gets the reports. I just hope they can DO something. I'm so tired of this.

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