CT Scan

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The Other Hideous Thing

Published November 12, 2018 by helentastic67

The other hideous thing

The Other Hideous Thing

 So, today I’m following through on a promise from my early Hellonwheels days. I mentioned way back then about there having been two hideous tests or procedures I’ve had, that I did not particularly like. You may recall, my post about the Cerebral angiogram. It was the one I likened to being punched in the head from the inside.

https://hellonwheelslifeonehanded.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/worst-test-ever/

This is the “other” thing I’ve had and ironically, I’ve had this thing twice also.

However, I need to premise this by mentioning the back story. I will attempt to keep it brief. No promises.

Make no promises

After a few years of smashing out Life One Handed after a while, ‘things’ start to breakdown. Wish someone had told me to prepare for that.

Now, this describes a time frame from literally the 6th January 2011, to the 11th November in the same year. Early January, I lifted a heavy suitcase of my tech toys (laptop, hard drives etc) from the floor to my bed, to more easily unpack it. My lower back did not particularly like it. But it was a process of why-questions.

Why do I always feel I need to pee? (not really)

Why does it hurt to sit down for more than three minutes?

And many, many others.

Lower back pain

My GP Dr Chris (he won’t mind) started me on some muscle relaxants. Didn’t help. Then something else (can’t remember) also didn’t help. I was seeing the physio and OT at the time and one of them started massaging the back of my right leg. (my good leg) because that’s where the worst pain was and she was working on that spot until I wanted to slap her.

So needless to say, I was getting test on my good leg. Other random tests and things, I can’t even remember now, and over the course of the year we found the diagnosis after an MRI of my lower back, the answer to all the pain was I had a DISC BULGE in my lower back, at L5 (I think).

Bulging disc

After diagnosis, we worked at the right pain relief (drugs) and right sedentary lifestyle. At the time, I still lived in Clifton Hill on the other side of Hoddle Street.

Clifton Hill is where I spend every Wednesday for lunch and see my chiropractor. I would scooter to my chiro every week and while I went full pelt through the park to get to my appointment, When I got to traffic lights, I had to stand up to give my lower back a stretch. (walking through the park took too long and I always feared I wouldn’t make it home to the toilet.) Yeah, good times.

Fear of not making it to toilet

Anyway, the Happy Place with pain meds for me was Oxy, Oxy, Oxy. (As I call it) Slow release Oxycontin twice a day and when I had to get up off my bed to go anywhere, I would slam some short term, but fast release stuff. Endone 5mg (gives me about thirty minutes) and it’s no silver bullet. 5mg of Oxy norm gives you about three hours and that’s on top of 20mg or 10mg of the Oxycontin. Who knows that happens when you take a shit load of pain meds?

That’s right Constipation!

Constipation

I’m going to imagine my followers don’t require me to explain this displeasure. But my point here is, I don’t understand when people tap out of life taking pain meds, when they just can’t deal with life, when it means they can’t have a good bowel movement.

So, it would seem I have covered the pre-stuff sufficiently.

Now, the horrid thing.

To buy time, the medical system should you be in the public system and once you are ‘pilled’ up to your eyeballs and constipated to hell and back. They still won’t schedule you for surgery until they give you a Nerve root injection. Sounds like something a dentist night give you. But no, my first (yeah, had two of these things also: NOT frigging happy). The procedure goes like this.

Nerve Root Injection

You are wearing underwear and a gown that does up at the back. Isn’t it always the way?

Lying face down, I had been told I would be given an epidural. My sister (the weird grumpy one) Oh, wait that’s both of them.

After the procedure, she suggested I enquire “where’s my baby?”

Wheres my baby

I delivered the joke to a very still silent room. The young and old Jewish doctors didn’t get it. I looked at the only female in the room and she gave me a weak smile. “Tough crowd”

So, firstly they give you a local in my lower back. Now, it’s been a few years since I’ve had a local anaesthetic, but in between we forgot how much they hurt. They STING. Sweet Jesus! I’m told it’s because the need is so fine. So, after the local and long enough for that to kick in. The younger Jewish doctor tells me ‘You will just feel some scratching’. Well, that turns out to be a lie.

Local Aneasthtic

He rammed the next needle into my lower back. Now, anyone dealing with pain, the best advice is to battle through it. But, I couldn’t. I was told to keep perfectly still while they tortured me.

But, wait there’s more.

They pushed the table I was on into the CT machine and moved behind me to do a scan. He left the room for a moment to check the scan with the older doctor, then returned saying the words “We’ve definitely heading in the right direction” a little to chipper about it, I thought as the local had done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Then telling me to be still, he drove the needle in further.

New Root Injection 1

Then another CT scan and another pointless comment about scratching, which I feel I’ve already covered was the worst understatement ever. Then ramming of the needle again before being injected with the ‘Steroid’. (I forgot).

After the torture was over, I was told I could get up and I asked what next? “Oh. you can just go.”

What?

My mum came into help me dress and I sat with her for five minutes, to gather my thoughts.

I was just happy I had not sworn, but seriously – FUK, FUK, FUK, FUK. Not enough of those in the world that day.

Fuk Fuk Fuk

Overall, considering the pain and torture and the promise of pain relief, it was under delivered. No pain relief and despite being my hospital that had done my radiation treatment. No Surgery.

Next I was booked to have one at another hospital that was closer to home and my side of town. Again, despite knowing what to expect. Didn’t like it any more than the first.

Amusingly after the second Nerve root test (injection) they insisted I stay lying down in recovery for an hour. Lying down! After my first injection at another hospital, they basically told me to get out. (politer than that, but still). After ramming a needle into my back while I was conscious and while not on any Oxycontin. Plus I had to pee.. Was not happy.

Need to pee

Ladies, you know the routine? Well, I was offered a bed pan. They then offed me a bedpan in a chair in the corner. “oh, well close the curtains”

Just “HELL NO!”

Hell no

They then offered me a walker, to get to the toilet. I don’t know what part of me told them we had time to debate this. I really had to go. Just pee, but still.

They did not have any idea why I rudely insisted they get the walker away from me. They insisted. I know now rude I seemed but I’m one-handed. How was I going to use that walker?

They finally bought me a wheelchair and took me to the toilet.

All of this under the watchful eye of my mother.

Watchful eye

NB – Did I mention I was offered a third one of these? Yeah, same place as the first one.

I was given a student, and she seemed to hear me, but went and got the senior dude on that day. (He did not listen so he doesn’t get qualification acknowledgement as he wanted someone with way less experience to get to stab me in my back!) He came in and said “Oh, I think we’ll start with a nerve root injection?”

And I think they just didn’t prioritise me for surgery because I refused to let them keep practicing on me.

no-back-surgery

 

Torture – Part 2

Published August 10, 2018 by helentastic67

Torture Pt2

Torture – Part 2

So now, to how doctors buy themselves time and the active torture that was to temporarily fix the problem. They promised me an Epidural.

Doctor buying time

Have you ever wondered why “women in labour” ask for the Epidural? I don’t know from personal experience, but I’m told it hurts. It hurts like pushing a big square wardrobe out of a small place in you body, wardrobes don’t belong…

Women in labour

And the Epidural doesn’t hurt because of the happy pregnant lady hormones.

Now, they promised me an Epidural as part of delivering me a nerve root injection or a Cortisone shot. (you will hear people call it)

Cortisone shot

At the time I was on two waiting lists, one with my hospital (because I thought they would get to me) and another hospital closer to home. (that is, I didn’t have them do my surgery, my own mother might have killed me. Because she had been told they had the best surgeon to see.)

Waiting list

Have I mentioned, I’m a public patient? Because I’m poor. Yeah. So it generally means, you go with whatever you can get, whenever you can have it and not before.

The term for it is triage, they prioritise the patience that are less mobile and more ‘at risk’. Just making a point – ALL YEAR, it took all year!

Still, I digress.

The Nuero root injection goes like this, in nothing but your knickers pushed down low on your hips and a gown that is open at the back, you lie down on your tummy on a CT scanning bed. There are two people in the room whom you will hate by the end of the procedure. (if you follow my advice and learn from my experience.)

Lying on CT Scanner

Firstly, they give you a local anaesthetic. Now I will remind you, it’s been a while since my last local, so you forget how much it stings.

Sweet Jesus! (Which is likely what I said)

Sweet Jesus

The doctors claim it’s because the needle is so fine. Really? Torture device.

Then they wait until it starts to kick-in and then I swear it’s like a pick-axe! They insert it in my lower back, telling me to breathe and relax.

Pick axe

When in pain, it’s good to keep breathing, but when lying on your tummy and working where they were, it’s impossible.

Keep Breathing

Then, they roll you into the CT machine and take a scan. The doctor comes back in and utters some words like “Looks like we’re heading in the right direction” and they ram the needle in further.

Heading in the right direction

I don’t think a “Sweet Jesus” was what came out the second time. They offered me more local, but does anyone need reminding, a local really does mean ‘local’.

Not sweet Jesus

Then another scan and more core breaking agony. Three times they took to get that needle all the way to where they wanted it. Then they injected me with the Cortisone, or whatever, that was meant to give me blessed relief from the pain.

Another CT Scan

I did feel something shoot down my right leg, but that was it.

I recall getting up after it an asking “What’s next?”

They told me that was it and I could go. OK

My sister had told me, if I was getting an epidural to ask at the end of the procedure “Where’s my baby?”

Wheres my baby

The Jewish doctor and his registrar just looked at me. The female nurse, over to one side gave me a little smile.

Tough crowd.

Anyway, I left the hospital with my mum and was still in pain, but now with a very sore back.

The second one I had at a different hospital, they made me stay lying down for an hour or so afterwards, in a small recovery room with nurses overlooking about six beds. They were very insistent I not get up and walk straight away in case my legs gave way and I fell over. Is that the sure sign it worked? Maybe not, not sure. But I really needed to pee.

Recovery

I was offered a bedpan, seriously, the push bedpans in hospital, like it’s more convenient for them to change the sheets than wheel me to a toilet and wheel me back to bed.

Bedpan

Grudgingly the nurse bought over a walker (you know, not just for old people, but predominantly) and I told her no. She kept insisting and I thought she was very slow for not realising you needed two hands to work one. I growled further to get it out of my way. I’m sure she thought I was the rudest cow in there that day. (I probably was)

Eventually, a wheelchair was produced and I was wheeled to the toilet. The chair pushed so close to the toilet and locked into place, I struggled to wriggle up and around it to wash my hand after I had gone.

Wheelchair

I pressed the duty call button and waited for some time for the nurse to return to me. My mum was patiently waiting my return. My mum was patiently waiting for my return, I briefly contemplated getting up and walking back using the hand rail on the hallway wall as an aide, but I waited.

Call button

I swear I waited twenty minutes, you get I only needed to pee.

The nurse finally retrieved me, stating she only realised I was not in my bed when she did a head-count and realised there was one bed empty. Oh, the call button doesn’t work? Nor did the nerve root injection.

Head Count

But, humoursly, the night light was comment from the nurse that had been in assisting my injection. She must have been new to that area.

An older more experienced nurse enquired as to during all the CT scans if she had protected herself from the radiation.

Radiation

She replied “OH yes! I hid behind the Doctors.”

Oh facepalm.

What about me? I’d suffered four or five, that day, I was informed the staff get fifty or more in a day.

I guess getting a needle rammed into your back with only a local, really doesn’t make for a happy Hellonwheels.

Sad Helen

Diagnosis

Published December 8, 2015 by helentastic67

Diagnosis 2

Diagnosis

“Now tell me, what’s wrong with you?” a shoulder specialist asked me once. You might immediately think my shoulder, correct? Since that was his specialty.

But there’s that thing all medical personal do when ‘assess you!’

To which I replied “How long have you got?”

But first I must digress.

In my early 30’s as you may have read I was working as an Admin Assistant for an NGO. You know, “Admin” it’s that term meaning you do EVERYTHING that is delegated to you and some for really crappy pay.

Oh, I loved that job! I was really good at that job!

Anyway, work became stressful (another time) and my left arm which had always “worked” lost some of its strength and dexterity…

I struggled to touch type, so I hid this by typing very efficiently one handed and tried to hide my weak left arm by sitting my elbow on the desk or in my lap. If I answered the phone left handed I really knocked myself out putting the phone to my ear…

I had a colleague who had a son my age with MS, No! I don’t have MS (Multiple Sclerosis)

Honestly, I think that would be worse than what I have…

So, everyday Tony, my colleague would ask me if I’d seen my doctor yet?

What? I don’t have a doctor…

Actually I had a GP, whom I didn’t like much, so I got a new GP not long before and made a list.

On the bottom I said list was my left arm! I explained the occasional weakness that I’d had for years that came and went…

His response was immediate and he didn’t seem to need any further explanation.

He stated “Ok, let’s get a CT scan!”

I was a little surprised. Booked the appointment not knowing what to expect and went one morning on my way to work.

They injected ‘contrast’ into my arm and when I loaded myself up with all of my bags and carefully navigated the stairs to get back down to the ground floor. The technician watched me very carefully…

I could do stairs rather easily back then, but words from the wise, when the technician watches you like a hawk, he knows something already that you don’t know!

And it’s probably not good new…

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