In case you were wondering.
Anyone who tells you that they are no big deal are big, huge, enormous, dirty, rotten, liars.
To backtrack a little, my husband has learned something about me through all of this. I will say that things are no big deal and then resent the fact that he is not there to hold my hand.
When I originally went to the emergency room about five or six weeks ago, I firmly told him that I was fine. And then felt put upon that he had not shown up anyway. Now, to be fair, when I say that I am fine, at that moment, I generally mean it. It is later that I realize that I really wanted the help.
So when I went to the neurologist, I told him, and meant it, that he did not have to come, but I admitted that I needed hand holding for the lumbar puncture. That morning, I told him that he didn't have to come, and he wisely ignored me. He took the afternoon off and we drove out to the office. In order to be efficient, we get there a little early and I get five more vials of blood drawn and an x-ray. We go upstairs to get the LP (that is a lumbar puncture for the uninitiated).
I don't know why I didn't know that the neurologist was the person to do the procedure, but I wasn't aware of that. It had come to me, slowly, over the past week that someone was going to stick a real needle in my real spine. I was not looking forward to it. I was trying hard to not be scared. My goal was to not make an utter spectacle of myself.
I asked him if he had received the notes from Dr. P and if he had seen all of the images on the MRA. No to the first, and yes to the second. He had seen my arteries and saw nothing wrong.
So, just to be clear, you think that my arteries are completely normal? Yes, he says.
Great. now I need a third opinion. One of my neurologists is not very competent I fear. Please let it not be the one who is going to stick a needle in my back and risk paralysis and brain herniation.
Your brain can herniate during a spinal tap. Just so you know. It is very rare and they monitor your spinal fluid pressure, but your brain can get sucked downward. I think it is fatal.
So, the neurologist and the medical student who is going to observe leave the room and I get dressed in the backless gown. I elect to leave on my underwear, but if I had been thinking about it, I probably would not have worn the bright green undies. At least they were clean.
I get draped and betadined and it is explained to me that they will numb the area first.
You know how when you get dental work done how the novocaine injection is painful all by itself? The same was true for the lidocaine, too. I curled up into a little ball and they injected the painkiller. I would like to say that the idea was worse than the test, but I think I would be lying. My sympathetic nervous system kicked in and I sweated so heavily that I thought that I was going to slip right off of the table. I finally had to ask my husband to put his hand under my feet to keep my legs from slipping apart. My nervous system was not fooled by the lidocaine.
This is what the procedure looks like.
But more creepy.
Anyway. I got through it all right and an eternity and four vials of CSF later, we are done. After each vial is filled, I can feel the slight jerk as it is removed and can hear it being capped.
What is funny is that we are handed the bag with the vials, just like it was a Happy Meal and were told to take it downstairs to the lab. The physician handed me the bag with the vials of precious CSF and I promptly dropped it. Because I have been dropping things a lot.
I looked at my husband and he looked genuinely horror-struck. I don't think I have ever seen that look on his face before, but now I know what expression he will have if one of my limbs drop off or something. I think that he thought that they had shattered. However, the vials are made of plastic and no harm was done.
The CSF is crystal clear and surprisingly pretty. It looks like water. I had thought it would be cloudy, but it isn't I get one more blood draw down stairs and we are done for the day.
We stop and have delicious fish tacos at the place where I used eat when I was a graduate student. I am laying as flat as I can, because my sister has admonished me to stay flat. Both of them have called to see how I am. I don't have a headache, but I am thirsty, but I think that is psychosomatic.
So, that was last week. I am now all caught up to real time. Tomorrow I get my last tests, the MRI and MRA. My back is still sore from the LP, but now it just feels bruised. It hurt for longer than I would think, given the fact that it is just a little puncture. The neurologist told me I could go right back to work but to avoid heavy lifting.
I was in Wal-Mart two nights later, bent over, lifting a 12 pack of Diet Dr. Pepper, and I had an image of my back springing a leak like a garden hose. I unobtrusively felt my back, but it was dry.
I am in a lull right now. My symptoms are pretty much gone, which the neurologist would say is consistent with MS -- symptoms for about a month, and remittance.
If this is as bad as it gets, I think I will be fine. I am tired, but maybe the physician will put me on speed or something and I will lose weight and be more peppy!
A girl can dream.