Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dr. Needles

I'm really tired. I'm still in bed with no desire to get out. I'm assuming it's the meds that's making me feel this way.

I dropped out of traction yesterday. Dr. Stretch sent me an e-mail imploring me to come back. He even offered free treatments unless or until it works. He said he would call me as well which hasn't happened yet. While his offer is generous, I don't think I'll change my mind. First of all, I'm committed to getting this shot and the two treatments are incompatible. Secondly, while there's time to get in five more treatments before the epidural, I just can't find the energy to get out of bed.

This second reason is a stupid one for not to seeking treatment. But as I mentioned before, I'm not sure it was working, and I'm not sure it ever will. Dr. Stretch is a firm believer in this treatment and it's hard not to get caught up in his enthusiasm (especially when he's offering free treatments). Plus, he's a really good and caring person. Plus, PLUS, treatment would give me a reason to get out of bed at least every other day!

Getting out of bed is the best reason I can think of for continuing treatment. That's a lousy reason for seeking treatment for a spinal disorder, but might be a good reason for a mental disorder. I might have to think about that one!

In the meantime, as I lie in bed and avoid phone calls from jilted health care providers, I have scheduled my epidural appointment. Actually, I scheduled two with two different doctors. I can only keep one.

There are two different delivery systems for the epidural. The first (which would be this Friday) is delivery via a catheter which is inserted at the affected area. The insertion is based on the MRI and x-ray images, as I understand it. A local anesthetic is administered and the whole procedure is performed by an anesthesiologist.

The second is similar except the insertion of the delivery system (needle?) is guided by x-ray. My understanding is I will be on an x-ray table during the procedure so the doctor will be able to more accurately deliver the medicine. I think I will be opting for this method but it means I will have to wait until December 17. Between now and then, I can take my meds, stay in bed, and even continue traction.

The medicine is mostly an anti-inflammatory which is supposed to reduce the pressure on my spinal cord caused by the herniated disc. I asked Dr. Other Guy about surgery yesterday and he still thinks this may go away on its own. Even if it does not, how I respond to the shot will help him (and eventually a surgeon) understand what surgery is necessary. Dr. Other Guy has not discouraged me from continuing traction. He said it was great for people with disposable incomes and that it probably wasn't hurting me. (But he also said there was nothing proven to reduce the time it takes for this to heal.)

December 17 seems like a long way away.

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