I had the myelogram and CT scan yesterday on my lumbar spine. I assumed incorrectly that there would be no pain because they use lidocaine to deaden the injection site.
First, I must give props to St. Vincent’s Birmingham Hospital staff. They were all friendly and efficient. There’s nothing worse than going to a hospital with staff that behaves like they work for the DMV. When I signed in for registration, they had not received my orders yet. This is a scenario that I dread because of either a long wait time or cancellation of my test. Fortunately, they received the order in ten minutes. After receiving my order, they called me up for registration, which only took a few minutes. Then they directed me to the radiology desk, which was in the same area as the registration desk.
I turned over my registration paperwork and order over to the radiology desk. They gave me a form to fill out about what prescriptions and over-the-counter meds I take, and they also gave me one of those buzzing, blinking pagers to notify me when they were ready for me (you know, Panera Bread and other restaurants give you one of these things when you’re waiting on a table or your food.) I joked with mom (aka “driver”), “I hope they give us a good table.”
I turned in the prescription form, then I was called back up after ten minutes to go over some things with a radiologist and fill out a little more paperwork. After this, they informed me that we are now waiting on the doctor. At the time, he was still in surgery, so they estimated a 45-60 minute wait time… So, after waiting five minutes I thought, “man, some coffee sure would be good.” I asked the lady at the desk about a vending area. She directed me to the second floor bistro and gift shop, and also told me that the pager works throughout the hospital. After acquiring coffee, it was time to wait some more.
I was finally called up for the procedure. The nurse took me to an x-ray room, and had me change into a sexy hospital gown. Luckily, I got to keep my pants on. We waited a while for the doctor to arrive. He had three myelograms scheduled back to back (pun), and I was number two in line.
When the doctor arrived it was “go time.” He had me lay on my left side in a fetal position. After adjusting me a little bit, the nurse draped me. then he started cleaning the injection area with betadine. Then came the “bee stings” of lidocaine to deaden the area. Now it’s time to inject the contrast dye in my spine. I assumed that I wouldn’t feel a thing because of the lidocaine. WRONG! The lumbar puncture was extremely painful and uncomfortable. I get anxious just thinking about it. At one point there was a shock and a lot of pain sent down my right leg. I screamed, jumped a little, and was trembling. Thankfully, after that shock, he was done. I wouldn’t have been able to withstand much more. I didn’t cry, but got very close.
They took a few xrays after removing the needle, then they directed me to the CT scan section. My legs started to cramp on the table, so they had me stand up. When I stood up, I felt extremely dizzy, so she told me to sit down. She told me to take as much time as I needed to feel better, but after a while she got a wheel chair and rolled me over to the CT scan area. I laid on my stomach while they did the CT scan, then I was done. I was able to walk back to the waiting area to summon my “driver.” (ha ha) My driver has knee issues so we took advantage of valet parking.
We stopped by the grocery store to pick up lunch, then I was dropped off at home. Prior to today, I had three good days without binging. I’ve been texting Dr. Dan every day, and he’s guiding me along the way. Well, I ate all day long at home because I was extremely uncomfortable. Binging is my comfort behavior, and of course, after I have a lot of guilt.
So, today, as I’ve done so many times before, I start afresh.