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CT Myleogram and Emergency Procedure

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 13, 2016

I’ve had a rough time of it lately, especially the past few days. A couple of weeks ago, I somehow injured my back. It locked up and I had incredible back pain to go along with my very severe head pain. I went to my orthopedist, had a lot of x-rays taken, was told I hadn’t fractured my back (good), but that my degenerative disk disease had gotten a lot worse. That my bottom disk had effectively disintegrated and it was largely just bone on bone now and that was why I was hearing all of the clicking and grating sounds when I moved, and why I felt my spine shifting when I moved. The disk above it wasn’t much better and together, they couldn’t have been “much worse.” My doctor decided to send me to have a procedure at a surgery center called a “CT Myleogram,” which I had never heard of before and which didn’t sound like a big deal. After all, I had had a number of CT scans, so no biggie, right?

Well, when I got home and did some research, I found out what these procedures were, to a certain degree, and they were a little more involved than that. They were basically like reverse spinal taps, where instead of inserting a needle into your spine and removing spinal fluid, they’re inserting a needle into your spine and injecting contrasting fluid into it so that they can take moving x-rays and CT scans so they can detect nerve damage and other types of damage regular x-rays can’t see. No anesthesia, of course. And I had just had a spinal tap last month. So, yay. This was last Monday. They called me Tuesday and scheduled me for Wednesday, a few days ago.

My wife took me in and dropped me off. She’s had to take me to so many procedures lately and has had to wait that it’s just gotten old and she’s worried about losing her job, so she just wants to drop me off and pick me up when she’s allowed and I was supposed to wait in Recovery for 2-4 hours after the procedure before she could pick me up. I had the procedure and it wasn’t that bad. It didn’t last as long as a normal spinal tap, although with the x-rays and CT scan, the entire process made it last much longer, of course. And I only had to wait after for a couple of hours or so. They warned me several times about something called a “spinal headache” and said it could be very severe. I basically laughed it off because with my Trigeminal Neuralgia, tension headaches, severe migraines, and cluster headaches, how could it possibly be that severe? Even if I got it, which I didn’t think I would. Because you basically got it from leaking spinal fluid from a puncture that wasn’t healing and it wouldn’t be healing because you stood too much and didn’t lie down enough and I planned to lie down. But I didn’t. I thought I did, but I didn’t. I sat at the dining room table to eat a late lunch when I got home. I sat at my computer to check email, etc, after that. I laid down for a bit, but then I stood for awhile to do dishes. I laid down some more. Oh, I felt pretty good, by the way. I felt fine. I sat again to have dinner. But by then, I was starting to get, yes, a headache. I assumed, however, it was my usual TN acting up and didn’t really think anything of it. I took my usual medications, but by late afternoon, I had an increasingly severe headache that was starting to get very, very bad. I went to bed with a bad headache and got virtually no sleep. By Thursday morning, it was brutal. I got no sleep, like I said. My right eye socket felt dead. The right side of my head was on fire. The back of my head felt like it had been hit by a machine gun. My forehead hurt, so did my cheek and jaw. My ear lobe felt numb, so did my teeth and tongue. My temple was killing me! I wanted to die. And my back was hurting from my procedure. This was probably the worst pain of my life. On a 1-10 scale, this was easily a 15. Throughout the day, I took 6 Tx, 8 Ex, 2 Nx, 14 Ax, a Px, and 2 Mx. I started feeling better during mid-afternoon but started getting worse again before dinner. My pain level got down to maybe a 10/10, but that didn’t last long. And this got worse! I didn’t know what to do! My pain level reached a 17 out 10, if that’s even possible! Ungodly! Worst ever. Finally around 9 pm Thursday, I called the surgery center and got patched through to a live doctor. She said I had two options. One, I could go to the ER, but Gretchen had taken a sleeping pill and was going to bed and I couldn’t drive. Two, I could stay up and take lots of anti-inflammatories and drink lots of caffeine and go back to the surgery center in the morning to get an emergency “blood patch” procedure, where they drain a lot of blood from your arm and then inject it through one of two needles inserted into your spine, like a reverse spinal tap, similar to what I had two days previously. That’s two reverse spinal taps in three days. That’s harsh. And that’s what I did. I stayed up all night drinking coffee and Coke Zero and taking what pain pills I could and when Gretchen got up, this doctor called me and told me they were expecting me at the surgery center, so Gretchen took me there. When I went into the operating room, they had five people in there: the doctor to handle the two needles, the technician to operate the x-ray machine, which I got to watch live, the person to handle my blood and its needle/IV, and two people to massage me, one my arms above my head, one my legs, I guess in an effort to comfort me because of my pain and discomfort level. It was almost funny, as I’ve never had that happen to me before, but it was oddly comforting. This procedure lasted about an hour and hurt like a fucking bitch! Holy shit, it hurt! The doctor dug those needles into my spine hard over and over again repeatedly, gouging the shit out of my spine. Finally it was over. I was proud of the fact that I didn’t even wince once. They asked me how I felt immediately after but I didn’t know. I said I needed some time to evaluate. After awhile I realized my head pain had largely disappeared, including my eye socket pain, and I told them that and they were pleased. I was a little shocked. I guess I did have a spinal headache but I never knew they could be so damn bad. It was just about the worst head pain I’ve ever felt. Now I’ve got a 0 out of 10 head pain since 11:30 am yesterday and that’s awesome. I wonder how long this will last? Unfortunately my back hurts pretty badly from all the trauma it’s had to endure over the past few days. Hurts a lot. Hopefully that will improve fairly quickly. I’m glad they insisted I come in Friday morning rather than going through the weekend. That would have been a disaster. Getting the disgusting, painful blood patch was one of the best things I ever did.

So, that’s where I’ve been the past few days. Sorry I’ve been out of touch. I’ve truly not been feeling well. I have four books stacked up to write reviews for, but I really haven’t felt like it. I don’t know when I’ll get to those. I hope everyone has a nice Valentine’s Day. Ours will be low key, unfortunately. Frankly, I’m just glad to be okay.

 

6 Responses to “CT Myleogram and Emergency Procedure”

  1. Wow! 😦
    I’m so so SO glad you are okay, too, Scott! My gosh! You have been through a lot…TOO MUCH…and all that pain! 😦
    I admire that you deal with all you have to deal with and you continue to live life. You are an inspiration to me! I think of you when I’m struggling and I find the courage to keep going. Thank you! 🙂
    I’ve had some weird unexplained leg pain the past 5 days and they did tests and found NO broken bones, NO blood clots…but they don’t know if it’s muscular or what. So I’ve been taking Aleve, and doing the hot/cold thing, and elevating it, etc. The pain was pretty bad, but now feels like nothing compared to what you have been through. Wow. (I have friends who said the doc should have given me some pain-meds so I could at least sleep at night. I’ve gotten about 2 hours of sleep a night for the past 4 nights. Can’t sleep because of the pain. 😦 )
    Anyways, I see the doc again on Monday. Not sure what they will do next.
    Please know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers.
    (((HUGS)))

    Like

    • Sorry for the delay in replying. I’ve had several surgical procedures over the last few weeks and had a great deal of pain and have been preoccupied. Bad excuse, I know, but it’s true. I’m sorry to hear of your struggles. I’m sorry to hear of your pain. Obviously I can relate. Obviously I can relate to your insomnia. I tend to average between 20 minutes and two hours of sleep per night myself. I take between six and seven sleeping pills or sleeping-related pills, most prescription. Oh well. I’m shocked you’re only taking Aleve! If you knew what I was taking, you would probably be horrified. Aleve, obviously, does nothing for me. I’m very sorry you couldn’t sleep because of the pain. I’ve had nights like that. I had a surgery three weeks ago that resulted in a serious complication, resulting in ungodly pain requiring an emergency surgery. The pain was so bad, I couldn’t sleep myself. Couldn’t really eat either. Two days of that. I hope the doctor helped you. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Same here re you. Update me if you get a chance. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry to hear about all you have been through, Scott! 😦
        I finished up the PT that my insurance would cover. I am going in the right direction with healing. Will need to keep doing the exercises, hot/cold compresses, etc. for the next week or so.
        (((HUGS)))

        Like

  2. punkysleek said

    I am glad you shared this. I am very sorry you had to go through it, though; but, I know someone who has the tgn. Your sharing might help others. She asks me how you are doing. I know you and I are not close, but I feel all your sharing (and the poetry, too) brings me some insight into your situation. If you have any other insight into how others might be helped with their own TGN, please keep on posting. I’ll recommend your site.

    Like

    • Hi! Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry for your friend. I wouldn’t wish this one anyone. Friday I had some of the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. I literally came close to killing myself. This followed two days of very intense pain too. It was just too much. 22 hours of, if possible, 15 out of 1-10 pain. It was indescribable. I couldn’t do anything. I could barely move. I just wanted to die.

      Anyway, I’ve had a number of procedures for this recently. One has helped. A number have not. I would blog more about this and I would actually like to, but my health and TN blog posts are literally my least popular. They tend to get the fewest likes and, by far, the fewest hits of any of my posts. My book review posts blow them out of the water. I often get discouraged when I spend an hour or an hour and a half pouring my heart out on a blog post about my health issues for an update and it seems like no one cares. But tons of people care about a two paragraph sci fi book review that took me 20 minutes to write. Explain that. If you genuinely think there might be interest in head pain/TN-related blog posts, I might be inclined to write more. I have a lot to say because, trust me, this is a daily, significant hellish struggle for me. And I’m always seeking treatments, medications, and aid of any sort to try and find help and solutions. I’m happy to write about it. But not for eight hits. I don’t need tons of comments. I don’t even need 10 likes. But I get 60-125 hits on book review posts and I get 12 hits on health/TN posts and it’s discouraging. If you have any ideas or feedback, I’d love to hear it. Thanks.

      Like

  3. […] tailbone, as well as pain in my hips and legs stemming from my spinal and disc problems. I wrote a blog post about some of this not too long ago: CT Myleogram and Emergency Procedure. Additionally, about a […]

    Like

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