Chronic Lyme pt3 – Testing…Testing…123

The oxycodone did nothing for the pain. It made me not care that I was in pain, but the pain did not go away at all. The oxycodone also made me not be able to drive to work, or function at work, or do much of anything while I was on it, so I just stopped taking it and dealt with the pain sober.

I saw the neurologist and got a spinal tap and an MRI, both of which, for me, suuuuuucked!

At that point in my life, I’d had two babies. My oldest, the boy, was an easy birth. My water broke around 1130 pm, no pain, no contractions. At the hospital, they said I’d be there awhile since I wasn’t having contractions yet and had not dilated, so I slept and didn’t get checked on much. And then, 6 am rolled around and it was most definitely time. i.e. too late for an epidural.

My daughter, I got the epidural. After 6 hours of intense, induced, painful labor. I didn’t even notice the epidural.

So the neurologist told me, if I’ve had an epidural and gone through labor, this would be nothing. I won’t even feel it. HE LIED! Something about already being in labor pain, plus the bonus of getting a baby at the end made the epidural not so bad. A spinal tap has neither of those qualities. It hurt like the dickens! Yes, I did get a local anesthetic shot to the back before, so yes, the surface layers were numb, but it still hurt once he got that needle into the spine. And felt really weird, but mostly hurt. And after, I had terrible headaches for about a week. The neurologist said it was because they removed fluid from my spine, the same fluid which cushions the brain. It’s all connected. So without the full amount of cushioning, the brain kinda bumps around in your skull, causing headaches, until the spinal fluid is refilled (which naturally occurs). So he told me to lie on my back on the floor with my feet up on a chair. While this did work, it was not awesome explaining the situation to everyone who walked in my office for the next week.

And the MRI. Oh the MRI! So I’m mildly claustrophobic. I’d had an MRI before, but it was on my knee (that arthritic knee I mentioned before), which means I was only “in” the MRI up to my waist from my feet. This MRI was of my brain. Ugh!

Knowing I’m mildly claustrophobic, which I told them when making the appointment, they offered valium, which I agreed to. But, there was no discussion of when I was to get the valium. And having never taken valium before, I had no idea how long it took to kick in. So I showed up for my appointment, and waited, and waited, and then got called up to go in. “Wait, when do I get my valium?” I asked. “Oh, you should have gotten in an hour ago because it takes that long to kick in. Do you still want it?  You’ll have to go back to the waiting room an we’ll see when we can get you back in.” Screw it. I went in without because the idea of sitting in that waiting room in those uncomfortable waiting room chairs for another hour in the misery I was already in or more was just slightly more terrifying.

So I removed all my jewelry and got a gown. (An MRI is a giant magnet, so any metal, on or in your body will want to propel outward very forcefully once it kicks on.) And they led me into the room with a giant metal donut in it. I laid down on the bed, face up, and they fitted this plastic cage around my head. I guess to keep me from moving around too much. The tech then offered me a towel to cover the cage, you know, so I wouldn’t know I was being put inside a metal tube. I figured if they were offering, it might work, so I agreed to the towel. And then I was told to remain perfectly still and the bed started to move backwards into the donut. I honestly can’t say if the towel helped or not. I closed my eyes tight and my partner at the time was allowed to sit at my feet and had his hand on my ankle the whole time. That did help. Then they turned the thing on. Holy crap it’s loud! A lot of banging, and rattling. If they hadn’t warned me ahead of time, I would have thought the thing was breaking apart around me.

I managed to keep myself (mostly) together and not move, and not hyperventilate, and not totally freak out, and after what seemed like an eternity, but was probably about 20 minutes, it stopped, and the bed moved out of the donut and it was done. I was able to get dressed and pick up a CD of my brain images on my way out…. which I promptly went home and made a copy of (because who doesn’t want cool brain slice images?!) before delivering them back to my doc.

Now I’ve learned there is an “open MRI” option for those of us who truly have an issue with confined spaces (didn’t know about it at the time, but what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?), however, not everywhere has them, and insurance doesn’t usually cover the extra cost. But it’s there if you really need it.

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