Show Your Stripes!
Another Tampa trip is in the books. This trip was to get a nerve block to help relieve me of my back pain. We flew down on Wednesday evening to have the procedure on Thursday morning. I was expecting an easy procedure but started feeling some major anxiety as the time got closer. You see, every time I have come out of anesthesia I have had a worse and worse experience. Mainly 2 things occur…I have to go to the bathroom like something awful but can’t manage to use a bed pan, and I get incredibly nauseous and sick as the anesthesia wears. Neither of these experiences are pleasant when you are also dealing with the aftermath of surgery. I made sure I used the bathroom one last time before I was chained up to an IV, but this didn’t ease my anxiety, as I had hoped. Mike saw that I was getting nervous as I laid in the hospital bed with my hospital gown. It wasn’t long before tears started building and my sweet nurse saw I needed a Zanax to calm my nerves. Honestly, it’s kinda shocking I don’t need a Zanax more often! That went in my IV and within seconds I was feeling better. Isn’t that amazing?! Calmness could come over me that quickly?! I was also thinking this procedure was going to give me pain relief in my back, and it was but this was the trial run. This was to see that they injected into the right location to ensure I would feel relief, but it would only last up to a day. I would have to return for another procedure to get relief for up to 6 months. I wish I had understood this process better. I don’t blame my doctors; I’m sure they explained this. It’s just hard to process everything all at once and then remember it all.
Heading back to my procedure, I remember getting to the OR and getting myself off the hospital bed and onto the operating table that looked like a massage table and having the thought, “I’m glad I wore cute undies,” since I was booty up on the table. I was face down with my head in a massage table pillow. I don’t remember much. I do remember feeling some of the injections and being able to tell them things, but maybe I was getting too chatty because I have amnesia from there out. Wow…okay, had to take a break from that update…I was originally typing on the plane but had to stop because I started to feel awful! I got all clammy, started to sweat, my back was hurting and my stomach felt oddly full even though all I had eaten for dinner was trail mix. I was eyeing the restroom signs on the plane wishing one would light up as vacant, so I could dart down the aisle and occupy one next. I was looking front, back, front, back, then Boom! Back opened and I was out of the gate to make sure no one cut me off and hopped into the insanely tiny bathroom before I could get there. Fortunately, after I used the facilities I started to feel less clammy and sweaty and just had the back pain to deal with. So, I did what anyone would do…I stole my husband’s neck pillow and took a nap to pass the time.
Now that I’m in the comfort of my own home and not about to break into a sweat, I can finish my update. Okay, so where was I? I think I was getting too chatty in the OR, so they gave me something extra in my IV to knock me out. The beauty of this was that when I woke up I felt okay. I didn’t have any of the discomfort that I usually do coming out of anesthesia. I felt a soreness from the injection sights on either side of my lower back that felt like muscle soreness or a bruise, but I did not feel my back pain in its usual spot. Oh my goodness! I didn’t have back pain! I have had back pain since June, and now I have a break! We went to get lunch afterwards, and I had a big lunch (which was a good sign, I thought); when we got back to the hotel I was tired. I curled up and passed out…for 5 hours! Literally hibernating like a bear! According to my doctor, this is very normal. When your body has been in pain for so long that when it stops feeling it, it just wants to rest and restore itself. He has had some patients sleep for 10 hours after this procedure!
When I finally came out of my bear cave, I didn’t want to do much. The idea of having to shower, get ready, put on makeup, real clothes and dry my hair seemed like the most daunting task ever! We settled on going to Target to refill our travel snacks and then pick up Chicken Salad Chick and bring it back to the hotel. Shout out to Chicken Salad Chick- it was really good, by the way! At this point, the effects of the injection were wearing off and my normal back pain was rearing its ugly head again. I had a solid 10 hours of no pain which is better than nothing. After we ate dinner at our personal hotel conference table…yes, you read that correctly. When we arrived at the hotel, we were entering our room and the couple next door was having some sort of dispute…all we could understand was, “he could have been a thief!” We put our bags down and went to the downstairs restaurant, and while we were there the hotel texted Mike asking if we were pleased with our room. Mike responded with, “actually, the couple next door is arguing very loudly,” so after dinner they switched our room to a big corner room with its own conference room! It was kind of nice to have such a big table to eat our takeout! After dinner, we decided to be real crazy and watch a movie that was not PG! No, we didn’t watch porn! Get your mind out of the gutter!!! Since having children, we realize that we hardly ever get to watch a movie that is not for children, so we took this chance to watch Baby Driver which had a little thrill, suspense, crime and romance.
The next day, my doctor called to check on me and he was pleased that I got some relief and was ready to schedule me for the longer lasting injection. This next procedure would require me to stay an extra day than this one because he would want to make sure I felt okay and didn’t have to travel immediately afterwards. This means that my next opening in my schedule for a 3-day Tampa trip isn’t until Spring Break, so that is the new plan. We will head back to Tampa in early April, and I can get the nerve block that can last up to 6 months. I am really excited to get this done because the idea of being off some of my meds and being pain free sounds dreamy! I’ve been dealing with this pain for 10 months now, so it is wearing on me, if I’m being completely honest. Plus, I don’t know what treatment plan I will have to/get to start next which will bring on its own set of side effects. It would be nice if I could get on a treatment that has minimal side effects but will shrink this darn tumor that is effecting my nerves! THAT is what I really want to happen! Mike and I were joking that we needed to buy a vacation home in Tampa since we visit it so much! Not that we have money for a vacation home, but we can have goals, right? Actually, I’d prefer to have a vacation home where I can vacation and not see doctors.