Catch-up

Gah.  Gah.  GAH.  A month and a half since I updated.  GAH. There have been mitigating circumstances, but really I have no excuse except being a lazy good-for-nothing slob.

House calls and hospitals.  Blah. A couple of days after my last post – around 28 May – I had a serious, serious flare-up episode of pain and stuff.  It was weird, because on the Friday I was feeling fine, pain negligible, quite a good day.  Then out of nowhere at midnight or thereabouts, I was struck – like the proverbial bolt from the heavens –  by intense neck pain.  (It may have had something to do with the exceedingly energetic and enthusiastic lurve-making session we’d been engaged in, but that doesn’t usually have such a detrimental effect; quite the opposite, generally).

Regardless of the increasing doses of high-strength A-Class painkillers I swallowed, the pain continued to intensify; years of practice have made me a guru at relaxation and meditation/bio-feedback techniques but I simply could not control the level of pain.  I was sobbing, screaming, writhing around, out of my mind with the spasms shooting through my neck and up the back of my skull. I was glad we don’t keep a gun in the house; I would have put myself out my misery, no question.  A highly disturbing experience.

By some miracle, my adorable GP does house calls.  Tuxedo called him in some panic – I don’t know what time this was, some ungodly hour of the morning … he turned up, gave me a shot of pethadeine which calmed things down and I was able to sleep.  Except, the next night things ramped up again, the doctor had to be called again, and this time, after giving me a shot of morphine (not nearly as pleasant as the pethadeine) he announced he was going to call my specialist and have me admitted to hospital first thing in the morning.

And that’s what happened.  I spent five days in hospital, having frequent shots which had little effect.  I had two MRIs – not fun when one is a serious claustrophobe and light- and sound-phobic to boot.  Finally I was sent for occipital nerve blocks – huge (and I mean motherfucking HUGE) injections of steroids/cortisones plunged seemingly at random into the back of the skull.  Ouch.  They helped though, without a doubt – brought the pain levels down to “bearable”, and I was allowed to go a couple days later.  I was quite relieved – I hatehatehate hospitals in spite of the good drugs (which, in my case, don’t work so well); so noisy and glaringly bright and not-peaceful, and the food, bleccchhhh.

I’ve since been to a pain specialist to discuss the possibilities of a cryo-rhizotomy, whereby the occipital nerve is killed via freezing.  I wasn’t too keen on the concept before I spoke to the specialist; afterward I felt slightly queasy, given the procedure (brutal and random) and the side effects (ditto).  It was a tough decision – risk the procedure not working and being left with the entire back of my skull totally numb? I finally decided, after much thought and discussion with my lovely GP, to simply go on having the occipital nerve blocks, which are painful enough, initially, but my latest dose has been most successful.  Not that I’m a wimp – it was obvious to me from a physiological/anatomical point of view that the procedure wasn’t going to address or solve the main issue even if it worked. Eventually I’ll have to look at other options … the rhizotomy or major neurosurgery, ick, but in the meantime it’ll do.

The past month, overall, has been pretty shitty– physically and mentally healthwise.  It took me a long time to pick up, and I became very depressed and kind of overwhelmed by everything. While I often have periods of the blues, or black-doggishness, they tend not to last long, but this episode has been longer and more serious than usual. I guess it’s understandable, given the whole constant severe pain, the isolation and restriction and constraints, feeling useless and pathetic – I have even lost interest in food! I do try to stay positive, and talk myself up, and not wallow … but it’s tough.  I am doing all the right things – trying to eat properly, getting back into exercise (easier now that the pain is bearable), getting enough good quality sleep, focusing on other things.  I will get through this “phase” – at least I know it’s only a phase! But yeah, it’s tough going right now. If I didn’t have my wonderful Tuxedo I’d really be up shit creek; he makes everything feel better.  Hee.

Ahh, bugger it.  I promise my next entry will be more interesting and uplifting – maybe something totally trivial and fun, like a review of my latest skin care and make up finds, how ‘bout that? Oh and I have to tell you about the Coldplay concert!

 

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