Lest you think that I'm a happy buffoon all the time, I have to throw in a serious post every once in a while. Actually, I gave this post a lot of thought before I sat down to write it. Is it the right sort of thing to blog about? Is it something you want to hear? I don't know the answer to either of those questions, but since I barf my guts out here anyway, I decided that you might as well know this, too.
It all began a few weeks ago when my pain doctor ordered two MRI's - one for my lower back, and one for my left knee. I had been having a lot of problems with both areas - lots of pain, falling down, etc. So I went and had the one on my back done, but had to reschedule the one on my knee. I had it done about a week ago. Then came the follow-up appointment with the doctor. He asked me to come in a little early. Huh? He normally only sees new patients early in the morning. So why was I being called in?
Hubster and I went on Thursday. He wanted to come back into the exam room with me to talk to the doctor, but I didn't want him to. So while he snoozed in the waiting room (this is in Rancho Mirage, right next-door to Palm Springs - think next-door to Death Valley and summer temperatures) enjoying the air conditioning, I went back to see what the scans said.
It was a little worse than I thought.
It seems that the disease has attacked my spine and popped three of the discs - the bottom three. There's fluid leaking out of them and, pretty soon, my spine may not be able to support my body weight without some kind of horrendous back surgery to get bone off bone. The same thing has happened in my knee (the other knee just has a lot of arthritis in it... oh goodie). So after staring at the doctor with a really stupid look on my face, paying attention to his explanation using anatomical models, and reading the radiologist's report for myself, he sent me next door to his surgical suite. I just had time to go out and have a ciggie. Why, may you ask, did I have to go next door? It's a lot more fun than you might imagine.
I had to have three injections of steroids put into my spinal cord/discs and one into the cartilage in my knee.
It looked like it was going to be a long wait, judging by the number of old people waiting in the office (am I REALLY that OLD?), so I asked the nurse if I could go have another ciggie and explain to Hubster what was going on. She squeezed my hand and sent me outside into 101 degree heat. I carefully explained it all to Hubster, who looked like he was about to collapse (and not from the heat). Then it was back inside to experience something which I was scared shitless of.
I had reason to be scared shitless. It hurt like a mofo, and I had to remain absolutely still during the entire thing. Those fucking steroids make you feel heavy and full, and the needle is the size of my thigh. It has to be strong and rigid so it doesn't bend when the doc inserts it, but Jesus... The only fun part of the whole thing was watching it go into my spinal cord on the fluoroscope, but he just felt my back with his fingers and deftly inserted it. You can tell he's been doing this a long time and is at the top of his game - there was no hesitation whatsoever, and he knew exactly how far to push before he backed off and pushed the plunger. Even so... He wound up putting four shots into my spine and somehow managed to hit the same hole every single time.
The one in my knee hurt every bit as much. I had to keep my knee bent (I was flat on my back with the fluoroscope on either side of it) so he could maneuver the needle under the kneecap and into the cartilage. He didn't even have the good grace to put Flintstones Band-Aids on the injection sites.
So I've been completely wiped out all weekend. I wasn't allowed to do anything on Friday, and Hubster made me stay home from work this weekend and rest. It was the best thing I could have done, really. I just wasn't able to do much of anything. So now I wait to see if the injections helped at all. If they do, then I get to have them done again in two weeks. I'm tempted to say they didn't do anything just to avoid that horrible feeling. He's talking about switching my pain meds to morphine (probably the pump they surgically implant) or Roxanol (pure THC), but he's waiting on that until he sees how I'm doing. We'll discuss back surgery later on, but only if it will considerably alleviate my pain level. A few things are certain: it isn't going to heal, it's not going to get better, this is all just to help the pain level, and I'm fucked.
With the biggest dick of all.