So today I had another orthopedic visit. This time we took a cool 3D look at my spine and all the stuff that’s in it. It’s interesting how technology has advanced to the point where they can find even the slightest, smallest, teeny-tiniest injury or abnormal thing going on in your body. In my case, the doctor readily pointed out as he zipped down my spine and around the nerve endings to a very small area near my tailbone that shows a slight bulge in a disc in my spine that is pushing nerve endings against my spinal column. This is what has been causing me so much pain in recent weeks and has caused my right leg and foot discomfort. When I say discomfort, I mean it feels like someone took a nap on my leg and it fell asleep. Know how your arm gets when you slept on it and it’s all tingly? Well…that’s how my leg feels all the time.
Anyway…so the doc gives me 2 options. Option #1: A steroid epidural. This kind of thing has happened to me before and I chose this option. Essentially what happens is they stick a long needle in my spine and squirt a steroid into the area around the disc. This calms down the irritation and helps it return to it’s normal shape & size.
Option #2: Surgery. The surgeon would go in and shave away some of the bone where the bulging disc was pressing on the nerves and this would give it some room and no more tingly leg for a while. This would probably take care of the problem for pretty much the rest of my life.
So I have a decision to make….right? Either take care of the problem for the now or take care of it for the future. Seems like a no brainer except for the added information that the nurse gave me as I was leaving the office today. Now I am not one to read the fine print because I’m impetuous like that however in this case the fine print wasn’t really “fine.” It was a sheet of paper that read like one of those penile disfunction commercials you see on tv every Sunday morning. You know the ones…they say “This product is great except you should consult your doctor because it causes ALL KINDS of medical disorders including but not limited to loss of muscle control, loss of appetite, loss of bowel control, swollen testis, possible life-threatening skin diseases, cataracts, discoloration of the skin, shortening of breath, loss of bladder control, anorexia and a WHOLE BUNCH OF OTHER ISSUES!”
Yeesh! Now I GOTTA have THAT stuff! No thank you.
So this sheet of paper includes all of the possible things that could POSSIBLY go wrong during this short medical procedure. This includes but is not limited to the following…
- Blood vessel injury with possible excessive bleeding including abdominal vessels.
- Infection requiring antibiotics and possible further procedures.
- Nerve or spinal cord injury…blah blah blah…paralysis.
- Possible PERMANENT or CONTINUOUS pain of the back requiring addition surgical procedures.
- Post-operative problems including pulmonary, cardiac, renal and Thromboembolic (uh….ooookay?).
- Unsightly or painful scar.
- Unexpected change in operation at the time of surgery.
- Fracture, bleeding, or pain secondary to taking bone graft.
- Less than comple….
So back up a second. So if I decide that I might want to take care of this problem for the rest of my life and I decide to have the surgery there is a possibility that I might get a scar???
Needless to say…I’m gonna go with the epidural. It worked the last time and it will work this time and the truth be told is this…I’ve been in pain going on almost 3 weeks now. The meds they have given me have been great and have made the pain tolerable. The leg and foot thing are annoying but definitely NOT as annoying as possibly DYING over it.
So epidural it is and I’m getting epidural #1 on Wednesday. Last time it took 3 of them to tie this sucker up and put it away for 3 years. I figure if I have this problem for the rest of my life, then I’ll take it over any of the small print possibilities that apparently could happen with surgery. I realize that a majority of the procedures are probably 100% safe and I have nothing to worry about but still…if they gotta put it in print then I gotta imagine it has happened and it could happen again and I’m not rollin’ the dice this early in my life. Hell…I posted I was getting an epidural on my Facebook page and immediately someone chimed in that they had a friend of a person they knew who became PARALYZED because the technician apparently left the needle in for to long.
So I guess the lesson to be learned here is this…surgery for this problem is BAD. Epidural for this problem is only a little better. But you can bet your butt when I go in there on Wednesday to get this giant needle in my back the first question I’m gonna ask the technician is this…
“So…you don’t have to use the bathroom do you? If so…go now or forever hold your pee. Or at least hold it until that needle is out of my back. Thank you.”