Friday, July 24, 2015

Spinal Tap & Summertime


(cute little gift in the hospital gift shop. I hope you have lots of "stars" in your life- )
Yes, you read that correctly, Reader.
Spinal Tap

had one.
Look- I had one and it still makes me scream!

I will tell you more about it but I wanted to slip into journal mode- I am sitting here with J. as the day unwinds itself. * some day awhile back.

He is on the bean bag playing some video game while making rap/jibberish noises that boys make,
And I am dropping hints like:

"Hey, go shower so we can read."


"Maybe you should take some allergy medicine."

because the sneezing, sniffling, you name it allergy symptoms outta him due to the grass he mulched today for Padre is driving me crazy.
(Where would we be without an in house mower?)

NOT showering is sort of the summer norm but when you have been mowing, refuse to wear socks, and your shoes end up in my bedroom and you want to snuggle while we read....
You better shower first. Or hope I can forgive ya.

(Readers, this is THE Nick Zdon, testing out the hatchet over at Bestmadeco.- Doesn't this picture make you want to cut your own wood for the fire, put some dutch ovens down in the black coals and cook some peach cobbler while the little ones whittle away at a piece of wood and then their finger? All the while tall tales are told while you are perched on a summit peak shaped rock or, if you are a lucky one, a log next to the fire.

Readers, it is officially Summer.

The weather is warm, kids are coming and going from camp, braces/ retainers are breaking;
walking outside barefoot is the norm;
(unless you have fallen or been injured and need a brace so you do this a little differently.)
Scout Camps are getting moved from that one place I forgot again,  to Little Lemhi cause one bear won't leave the food alone;

Family coming to visit, and staying to talk as we sit in the camp chairs on the porch while J. methodically dances his bike around obstacles in the front yard.
(Like Padre's car which makes us all nervous.)

Tonight I sat on the cool, watered lawn while family visited- it felt so good I had to lay back on it and let the squishy earth cool my spinal tapped back. ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even if daunting appts are written in red on the calendar, it's summertime.

Map of the Constellations
(map of the stars- bestmadeco. - used with the permission from Best Made Company)

Like I mentioned above, I had a spinal tap! It was on the calendar next the many appt.s that were lined up for this summer.
 I avoided thinkinf about it, or the date, but it came- looming in like a vulture on my calendar!

The Dr. re-assured me that now days they have ways of doing it that an imaging device can help the person put it right where it needs to go: meaning that a nerve might not be rammed into or something.

That sounded reassuring but who wants a needle saddled right there next to your nerves in the first place? But it is a great diagnostic tool I was told. So there I was in gown and a bunch of warm blankets, my teeth chattering like crazy.

The procedure might as well be those darts from the picture up there being flailed at my back because I was NOT looking forward to it: Simply by its name alone.

Spinal Tap

So, like most people in this day and age, I went to the best sourse of quick, visual medical information: Youtube.
 *right before I had to leave for the procedure,  Give or take a few hours.
If I could give you ANY spinal tap advice, don't do that.  Unless you get the guy I did because his went really smoothly. And it had me saying to myself:

"Oh, it's not that bad."hmm

Then I read some comments below it. Big mistake.
 Don't read the comments. That is my next set of advice.
Because under the really smooth job, there were comments of not so smooth experiences and you don't need that kind of stress before a lumbar puncture/spinal tap.
So my you tube guy did help me find the stance I needed to take:

He laid there in the fetal position and it wasn't a big deal.
 I mean, I have had an epidural before when I went through child labor.
I have had shots given in that area. I know the drill.
Illustration of the spine and nerve groups
The drill for the spinal tap is this:
1. Drink A LOT of water before (and after the procedure.) 
2. Sort of tuck your legs up while you lie on your side and don't move.
3. Make sure you have a driver to take you home.
They will give you a local anesthetic.
it shouldn't be a big deal.
Yes, there is pressure.
So, even though I was armed with Youtube Guy's perfect posture- I was still nervous.
Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
Readers, I shook like an old roller coaster called: The Mouse- at Lagoon in Utah while I waited.... in the waiting room. (the rickety mouse ride is long gone)

Even after seeing this guy do a remarkable job at not shrieking when they put the hollow needle in his back and then hold vials below it like they are tapping for maple syrup, I wasn't convinced that I'd feel happy with a cannula sticking out of my back.

Well, that's pretty much how mine went. Youtube Guy- 1o minutes. He was calmly tucked in the fetal position and.... he had his epidural. Given by a Dr. wearing a dress shirt and tie.

Me- longer than 1o minutes. (Of course! Why should it go any better with my luck???) And my Dr. or Radiologist Person had on his Apron with the Wyoming license plate insignia. So we will call him Wyoming from here on out.

Image result for picture of the wyoming license plate
I took a hot shower right before and scrubbed up to try and relax, I was shivering in a wheelchair in the radiology waiting room. I mean, good grief. Get ahold of yourself girl. Despite these feelings, I stayed as still as the word on a piece of paper- I didn't move.

I didn't want anything like what happened to some of the comments section of the you tube video; happen to me.

I was small talking with everyone because when they told me to get on the table, the Dr.  was ready- then the two techs came BACK and told me the Dr. WASN'T ready I was nerved up again. And out of 21 questions to ask the techs.

Tech 1: "It should be about another 20 minutes."

READERS! I had prepared myself to be ready for it RIGHT THEN! NOT in 20 minutes!!!!!!???????

That gave me time to re-get scared, start shivering, and want to back out right then.
I sat there a few minutes trying my best to get to know my techs as my feet dangled over the op table and the blood just pooled in my feet.

TECH 1; "Do you want to get back into your wheel chair?"

ME: "YES!" trying to not sound too excited. As I scrambled off the dreaded table.

They both tried to tell me it wasn't that bad and stood around with their hands stuck in their lab coats like they were blue jeans pockets.

I actually asked if they had pockets or if that was just a comfortable place to put their hands while bored and waiting for things to happen. The coats happen to come with both- pockets or no pockets.

Then Wyoming waltzed in and it was show time. Which wasn't so bad. Yes, I had a jolt down one leg. Minimal time frame and pain.
However, I started to wonder about things when they started adjusting the table. I felt like I was going to fall off or something but nope.
Optical illusion he said.

Wyoming: "Can you please cough?"

ME: "Sure."  cough. cough. I did my smallest coughs so as not to dislodge the cannula or something.

So time passes and I am repositioned a few more times. And it reminds me of those boards people will use to balance on and there is a ball or something under it to and you have to be really agile. I can't think of the name of it right now. But can you get the picture? I felt like I was on a tilt a whirl.
hmmm.... this whole procedure is like a theme park.

ME: "How many vials do you have filled?" I asked after some time of trying to hold perfectly still, grasping the knob one of the techs put on the bed for me when I asked what I was supposed to hold onto when one is on their side and anticipating a spinal tap.

Tech or Wyoming: "One."


I saw four filled on you tube guy's!!!! And I didn't see him told to cough either.

Wyoming: "Can you give me another good cough?"

ME: "What does the cough do?"

Dr: "Helps get the spinal fluid, blah, blah, blah. "


ME: Cough. Cough. Cough.

I did better at coughing this time instead of my weak prior attempts.

 A good cough made the needle hit nerves but if we were on one vial, I'd do all the nerve hitting to get that needle outta my back, my body off that table, and back on my back when I was back home. (protocol to avoid the dreaded post spinal tap headache.)

Over all I think I did pretty well enduring the slow tapping of fluid from my spine. They were able to do the measurements needed and I talked to my specialist today about the results. 

The key is to really rest for the next two weeks post spinal tap. Drink caffeine if you believe the Coke cure to ban off bad headaches. Or just stay horizontal for as long as possible. !

And P.S. because summertime is in full swing- it may as well be over. It just goes that fast. Darn it.

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