Friday, June 8, 2012

Ye Olde Health Update

I had a new MRI on Tuesday, this time with contrast dye so any scar tissue would show up. An MRI with a hearty dose of Valium is a far, far better experience than an MRI with no preparation. I remembered my toe ring at the last possible second, having taken out all the other finger, ear, and nose rings. Poor IV tech slid the needle in like butter, gave me a dazzling heartthrob smile and assured me the worst was over. My response: "You're obviously not claustrophobic." His face fell, but I promised him it was my third scan and was prepared. I actually used to have a fear of the contrast dye too (allergic to All Rare Things) but my discogram eventually proved that I'm not. Of course, we had new laundry detergent that week so it took a while to realize that it wasn't the scary, scary ink in my veins that gave me that rash.

Yesterday I met with Dr. O, my brilliant (gorgeous) surgeon, and he sees nothing to explain my continued pain other than more settling in the fused vertebrae than he'd like. The "black discs" above are bulging, but that would create mid-back pain instead of the hip and leg pain I've got. Neither of those are pushing on nerves. He's passing the films around to colleagues- one of my favorite things about him is this enthusiasm for collaborative thinking- and referring me back to my pain management doctor, also a neurologist. Dr. O expects he (Dr. B) will try epidurals again and maybe injections into the foramen of my vertebrae. Those are the "handle" like sticky-outy parts. They can get inflamed.

Medication wise, the Neurontin (gabapentin) is so far not helping with my pain, but it has normalized my anxiety to a remarkable degree. Side effects are tolerable. The nickname for the drug is Morontin, and... yep. It's no worse than the estrogen peak 'Mommy Brain" from pregnancy, though. It feels more like there's just a short delay in processing. I never enter a room and immediately remember why I'm there. I do the proverbial shoe in the fridge stuff, then catch myself. If there are grammar errors here, blame the drugs.

Physically, I'm back to where I was before the surgery. Generally, if I rest and baby myself I'm fine. I have to remember my limits and OBEY the body wisdom. I'm mostly good to sit in bed or with a lot of cushioning on the couch, so I can at least get small art made. I'm behind getting drawings out, but here is me not feeling pressure. Gotta get it done, when I can.

Book Spine Image Credit: from the Penn Provenance Project.

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