Posts Tagged ‘discectomy’

Slaughterhouse Rules.

Saw the surgeon today.  He listened to my symptoms, asked a number of questions, and explained what he thought was going on.

So two discs look like they are problematic and he says there’s no question he wants to remove them and fuse the vertebrae.

There’s another symptom I’m having, and it has to do with the shoulder pain.  He says the MRI doesn’t show anything but the symptoms fit exactly what you’d see with involvement of a third disc.  The plan there is to do a disc-pumpy-fluffy procedure† where they pressurize the disc with a contrast dye dissolved in diesel oil and see if it exacerbates the symptoms and pain.

I said “Hey, doc, I don’t mean to sound like a whiny little girl but pain scares me, especially on top of what I have already got.”

December 7 is the date set and some few days before that the plan is to do the disc-pumpy-fluffy-up procedure so I don’t have to wait extra long in that “enhanced state” of agony.

Told the doc that if he wanted to schedule it next Monday I would break my leg getting over to where to sign the paperwork.  He nodded and said “I know.”

The point being that if he needs to be doing that other disc he’d just as soon open me up once and only once and get them all done with.  I’m ok with that.

Yeah, there’s going to be pain but what I’ve been dealing with for the last four years hasn’t been living.  My son doesn’t know what it’s like to have a daddy who can do stuff with him.  It’ll be pain worth having.

I keep thinking (1) I have a doctor and a surgeon that believe me and are willing to do something, and (2) I have some hope now.

† Also referred to as a discography

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Neck Update, Part 637.

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…

Imagined Pain.

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”?

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