Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

A Step in the Right Direction

Friday, January 09, 2015

Today couldn't come fast enough for me.  This afternoon I was scheduled to have the first of several corticosteroid injections into my spine to see if it will alleviate the inflammation that is causing all this pain.  I hate needles and everyone at work was telling me they used a 2-foot long needle and that it hurts terribly.  So I wasn't surprised to see that my blood pressure, which is normally 118\80 shot all the way up to 208/120 at my last appointment.  Right before the procedure, it was 292 over 149.

J. had to wait for me, as you can't drive the first time you have one of these. Apparently, it's common for people to lose sensation in their legs temporarily.  Yep, that would be bad on I-35 during rush hour! 

The procedure actually didn't hurt that much.  I had a great doc that talked me through the entire procedure to tell me what he was going to do before he did it.  They have you lay on your stomach and then they swab your back with surgical disinfectant.  You feel a bee sting when they administer the Lidocaine to numb the injection area. While you're getting numb, a fluoroscopy x-ray machine on wheels is placed over you and the doctor uses this to guide the needle to right around the nerve.

I felt a pressure but no pain when he inserted the needle.  He then checks that he is in the right place by moving the needle against the nerve, which feels like intense stinging or burning going down your leg.  It's a really difficult experience to describe but, yes, it's uncomfortable.  When he releases medication around the nerve, you feel the same sensation for a few seconds and then its gone.  The doctor asks you to tell him when it's subsided and then he squirts more in.  It took 4 of those to get all the steroid in there.  Then the needle comes out and you are done.

Since some people lose sensation temporarily, they have you sit up immediately but not walk.  I was moving my toes and legs the whole time, so fortunately this didn't happen to me.  Then they put you in a wheelchair and wheel you into a recovery room where they monitor your blood pressure and make sure you can walk OK before you leave.  I felt like an old woman in that wheelchair.  But my blood pressure came down to an acceptable 129/89.  The pain was still there, but less.  It takes 24 to 48 hours for you to feel the full effect.  I'll have another one in a week.

As I write this, the pain is down to just a slight pinch in my hip.  I can stand up and sit down without pain.  Amazing!

From what I've been reading, these injections can last for weeks or even for years, but they are not addressing the real elephant in the room:  this nasty herniated disc.  So there will probably be surgery in my future at some point. But for now, the pain is mostly gone

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