Saw the nurse practitioner who works with the pain doc yesterday.
MRI does show a bulged disc at C4-5 that is pressing on nerves. First thing to try is a higher-risk epidural, next month, so see if that provides some short-term relief.
Second thing to try is an endoscopic discectomy (I think I got that one right). The NP looked at me and said “I won’t lie to you, it hurts like hell”. What the hell does that mean, exactly? Pain is really really subjective. I am like the guy from XKCD below…
How long? Two to three weeks of extreme pain.
Huh. Well, by now I’ve developed a healthy fear of pain and am kind of spooked by the idea but at the same time I don’t feel like I’ve got a choice – what this is like now is not really living. When you are afraid of moving your head the wrong way, deathly afraid of sneezing, and are using a cane or walking stick to keep your balance, rest your head on when standing still, and to keep from bouncing around as you walk you probably need to do something.
If only there was a way to map “hurts like hell” onto my pain scale. Ten for me is a compound fracture. I’ve gone to the hospital twice for nines that went on for hours. But what if the NP’s “hurts like hell” works out to a new measurement’s “10”? How do I know in advance? Or could it be that I’ll get there and say “Oh, this is how I feel after a long day in the lab anyway”?