My Myelogram – Health

I will try to make this brief, but I want to cover all the bases also.

BEFORE:

I had dreaded this test, and here’s why: First, for most of my life when anyone I knew had one, all I ever heard was how painful it was and how miserable afterward. Second, the effects from the spinal tap and dye known to be a potential issue I have already had* and didn’t want to go through again. Third, I had a scan – which is part of this test – about a year ago and the effects from having to lay on my back on a steel table to over an hour and a half were severe and extreme; I lost quite a bit of mobility during that time that I haven’t fully recovered, and was unable to function normally due to this plus the sharp increase in my pain levels – for 2 weeks! I didn’t want to revisit THAT situation either. So from the time that my doctor ordered the test until yesterday I felt like I was counting the days until my “sentence” was forced upon me…

* After a spinal tap when I had my stroke Oct. 16, 2008 I had a CSF leak that wasn’t found, or diagnosed, until Dec. 23rd when I finally got a blood patch. During that time though I had a massive “ice cream headache” that never went away and vertigo so bad that Pete called me a beebee in a box car – I struggled with walking and balance and never stopped spinning the entire time – which, of course, led to constant nausea. It was a time in my life I will never forget, and wouldn’t wish on ANYONE!

DURING:

I had been instructed to drink 32 oz of water beforehand to decrease the chance of these side effects; I drank over 50 oz. I was taken to a room to change into their fashionable gown, and was able to ask questions of the technician who helped and guided me. All of her answers served only to make me believe it wouldn’t quite as bad as I was expecting. Tolerable even.

Then she led me (I was scwalking, of course) into the room where the dye was to be injected into my spinal canal. There was a thin mattress – like on a gurney – on the table and I expressed surprise that it wasn’t just cold steel. She told me I’d be laying on my stomach for this part and on my back for the second part…the actual scan. So I was relieved I wouldn’t have to be on my back as much as I’d thought. Then the NP who was going to inject the dye came in and explained the procedure to me in greater detail. They helped me get settled on my stomach on the (comfortable) table with a pillow under my shoulders and showed me how I should lay. While everything was being done I was quite comfortable, of course there were times when I wasn’t – as she was pushing the needle through – twice – but it wasn’t intolerable. I was there for about a half hour.

As the dye was being injected around my spine I started to get a headache – a familiar headache (see 2008* above). The first time I had to move after that, the same vertigo struck me and instant nausea. I was given a bag to hold. Rolling over onto the gurney afterward was, um, quite unpleasant…but being rolled, flat on my back, through the hallways and around corners was the most miserable of all. I was sure I was going to vomit, and I couldn’t see for all the spinning in my head. I was happy to reach my “parking space” outside the scanner room but dismayed when stopping didn’t help my head – or my stomach. Then something happened. Here is how I explained it to a small Christian group I’m on on Matrix:

Then I heard in my spirit, not in the “still small voice” that I’m used to but a definitely “DO THIS NOW! voice,” “Pray for these people!” In my dizzy confusion I asked, “Who, Lord?” and He said, “Everybody here, they all have needs” so I immediately started busying myself with that as I laid there with my hands over my face and within a minute – probably less, actually – He had His hand in my head and calmed my neuro-storm! That wasn’t the end of it as there was more testing that caused more “stuff” but that was when He let me know He was with me in this (I knew, but this was definite confirmation) and still using me and that was an incredible comfort!

After maybe 15-20 minutes on the gurney I was taken to The Monster-Mouth Machine. The steel table was covered, and I was made as comfortable as they could do, with a pillow under my head and one – an adequate one this time! – under my knees. I was in and out the machine twice as they scanned two different areas. I doubt it was more than 10 minutes, all told, before I scooted myself back onto the gurney. Not counting the waiting times, it was less than an hour for both the spinal injection and the scans.

I was then taken (still had head pain, vertigo, and nausea though it had become milder after I’d been praying for the people) to an area like a recovery room sort of where they raised my head a little (YES!!!) and offered me food or drink (NO!!!); she closed my curtain and kept the lights off (YES!); I laid there in the dark singing, “Jesus, Jesus, Lord to me…Master, Savior, Prince of Peace…” They brought Pete up and let me rest. He gave me his hat to cover my eyes which was very helpful. She checked in on my several times. Then a gentleman came in to check on me and offered me crackers and pop. I accepted his offer and the saltines did settle my stomach. I only took a couple of sips of the pop, too sweet. Within minutes of that my symptoms started to subside and soon I was able to open my eyes and move them around, then look toward the light outside my curtain, then turn my head, then move a little bit, then start yelling “I WANT TO GO HOME!” OK, I made up that last part…didn’t really do that. But my blood sugar got a boost from the crackers anyway that gave me some energy.

The next time the nurse checked on me I told her I thought I was ready to go, and she discharged me. Pete grabbed my discharge papers and the CD of my pictures and we were on our way! From the time they started until I was leaving was about 3 hours.

AFTER:

Pete drove home, of course, I laid my seat back for the ride. We took the two-lanes rather than the freeway, at my request, and he drove very carefully and slowly. I felt “funny in the head” (moreso than usual!) all day. I’d been instructed to rest, keep my legs elevated, no activity or lifting or whatever for the rest of the day, and that’s what I did. I didn’t get online until late in the day because of the whole funny-in-the-head thing, moving my eyes to read was something I didn’t want to do, or think too hard. I did have the TV on part of the time though I didn’t really watch it much. I spent the afternoon on the bed, slept on and off under Maisie’s watchful eye. She, of course, never left my side. Pete brought me some scrambled eggs and cottage cheese when we got home as I was craving protein, and it went down a treat. He made me a steak and reheated my homemade keto chicken nuggets for supper later.

Late in the afternoon I came downstairs. Still a little wobbly, but the main issue was my neck. With the arthritis in it, laying on the first table on my stomach (which I never do!) and my head twisted to the side on my arms for all that time, my neck was hurting pretty badly. Pete put a lidocaine patch on it, which helped a bit, and I sat in my recliner with pillows arranged to support my head and shoulder area. BUT at that point I was already thinking that, compared to what I THOUGHT the day would be like, this was GREAT!

LATEST UPDATE:

Today, the day after, I am feeling ok. My head was ok when I got up, and no longer funny. My neck still hurts, which I expected, and so do my ribs – I was laying in positions that they’re not used to either! Rib pain is pretty common for me, it happens when my spine shifts with certain movements (sneezing, coughing, lifting, whatever) it pulls my ribs along for the ride. So that isn’t unexpected either. My lower back, where they injected the dye, hurts though. I was feeling pretty good actually, and decided to do a few things around the house. Mistake. Increase in pain at the injection site from a mild bruised feeling to a pulling and burning pain. Also got light-headed and a bit wobbly. It is not really a Big Deal, just my body sending the too-much-too-soon message I guess…so OK, I’m back in my recliner.

MORAL OF THE STORY:

I learned I can’t base my expectations for one event on past, similar-but-not-the-same situations. I’d go through this again if I had to, unlike the former experiences.

God reminded me in No. Uncertain. Terms. that He was there and, while I had to endure this thing in my physical body, He gave me comfort in my spirit – which is the greater of the two.

I learned that things change. What medical procedures were like THEN aren’t the same as NOW. (Remember when a cholecystectomy used to require many weeks in the hospital?)

Those with whom I had contact were nice. We read a lot of negative things about the medical profession. But everyone, from the receptionist, to the person who registered me and signed me in, to the technician and NP that did the procedure, to the technicians who did the scans, to the nurse in the recovery area…all were NICE. All were concerned about my comfort and understanding of what was going on. All were willing to do whatever to help me throughout. I expressed my appreciation to each one, and will be letting the hospital know that as well.


If you’re still with me, thanks for reading! If you are expecting to undergo this procedure, know that though every experience is different, it likely won’t be as difficult as you think!

4 thoughts on “My Myelogram – Health

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Now, we anxiously await the RESULTS of these latest ‘testings’. I send my love and concern…

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