Phil phoned shortly after 8 a.m. My husband gave him a full assessment of my condition, which hadn't improved at all since 3 a.m. Phil made arrangement for an ambulance to transport me back to Euclid around 11 a.m. Just the thought of going back to the hospital gave me peace of mind, it certainly didn't make the pain go away but I felt more comfortable and was thankful for his decision.
When I arrived, on floor 5, the nurses couldn't believe their eyes. They immediately knew it was my head and were ready and willing to do whatever they could to help.
Once in the room, nurse Janet came in to start an IV. As suspected, I was dehydrated and of course my veins had all collapsed. Two veins were poked at with no success, the third was a charm. Jackie, a nurses aide, was then instructed to come in to take my vitals. She had to take my blood pressure lying down, sitting on the edge of the bed and standing up, per Dr. Saeed's instructions. Laying down was a breeze, sitting up was extremely painful and I could have cried a river. One of my favorite nurses, Tracy, came in right away when she saw me. My pain was so bad Jackie started to cry and Tracy had me lay back down, Dr. Saeed wasn't going to get his request today. Dr. Saeed is part of the Pain Management team and is wonderful.
About an hour later, my room looked like a medical convention was about to take place. Phil and Dr. Brooks came in, along with Dr. Tamaskar. From Pain Management there was Dr. Saeed and Paul Gawry, Physicians Assistant and Dr. Rudolf from Neurology completed the pack. As they all stood there studying me and discussing the next step, I looked up and said, "I hope somebody brought pizza and beer to this shindig!" I know know why it's a clinic, I became the perfect case study.
Dr. Saeed and Dr. Tamaskar had a major discussion about a third blood patch. Dr. Saeed thought I might have a migraine that was so deeply embedded it wouldn't go away. Dr. Tamaskar believed spinal fluid was still leaking. He explained to Dr. Saeed he had seen me two previous times in the same condition, only this time much worse, and it was amazing what the patch had done and he wanted me to have another. What they couldn't figure out was why the first two worked so fast but gave way. After considerable deliberation, they decided to first work with steroids and the patch would be second. If I did have a migraine, the steroids would take care of it. They also called for a caffeine drip but Tracy told them she had checked into that after my first spinal and there was a nationwide shortage of caffeine. We all came to the conclusion Starbucks was monopolizing the caffeine industry and had a good laugh.
Dr. Rudolf, from Neurology, did one final exam on me before he left, all my reflexes were good. He and Dr. Tamaskar came to this conclusion. They both felt physical therapy was too aggressive, too soon, after the previous blood patches. I was also taking aspirin to keep my blood thin so there was no chance of blood clots. Aspirin was to be held and not given, if I was having a blood patch in the morning they wanted to make sure the blood would coagulate properly and I was ordered strict bed rest. I was to lay flat on my back until my discharge, only getting up to go to the toilet.
The IV containing the steroid solution was all hooked up and slowly dripping. About a half hour into it, I knew a substantial amount was in me. It felt like someone had given me a pocket full of change to suck on for the night. As hungry as I was, my food tasted like metal and I lost my appetite quickly.
Tracy told me she'd be on the floor through the weekend, so whatever happened, I was blessed she'd be looking after me. I made it through the night in a somewhat comfortable manner and shortly after I woke Friday morning, Dr. Saeed entered my room to tell me what the next step would be.
(to be continued)