The Lumbar Puncture

This is a little late.  I had the Lumbar Puncture last Friday. 

I’ll have to admit, this one had me a little nervous.  Just the idea of someone sticking a needle in my spine got me worked up a bit.  I don’t generally have problems with needles.  I’ve done Allergy shots, have had blood drawn, etc. and have not had problems with that.

When I first got there, they took me into the Infusion room to get some blood drawn.  I’ve see these types of rooms on movies and what not, but this was the first time I saw one in person.  As my blood was being drawn, and older man came in with a walker for an infusion.  Based on the way he was walking, I’m assuming he had MS.  I guess the treatments are given this way.  I haven’t gotten to much into that.

After that, they brought me back into another area where the room was located.  Crystal and the kids came in with me. This was waiting for me in the room.

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The nurse then came in and let us know that the kids couldn’t stay, so Crystal took them to another room.  I had to change into a top piece and these awesome baggy blue shorts.  We didn’t get a pic of that though.  Crystal thought they were nice.

When the doc came in, he looked at the results from the EVOKE test I did the week before.  He just made a quick comment that they looked normal.  So, that’s good I guess.

I had to turn around with my legs going down the side of the bed and my back facing the doctor.  They had a table in front of me that was set up as high as it could go with two pillows on it.  I had to hunch over that.  He wanted me to get the lower part of my back hunched out. 

After putting on the brown/orange liquid stuff, he said he was going to put the numbing agent in.  He said I would feel a pinch and then a little burning. I felt the pinch.  Then he said he had to go in a little deeper.  Boy did I feel that.  Then I felt the burning around my waste and a little up my spin.  It wasn’t overly horrible.  More uncomfortable than anything else.

Then he said he was going to go in with the main needle.  He mentioned that my natural reflex will be to tighten and hunch more.  He said not to do that as it would close the hole and make it hard for him to get it.  When he went in, I really felt it at that point.  It’s very hard to describe.  It was a sharp pain that was like a hand gripping over my sides.  then it subsided.  He mentioned that it was in.  He filled the first vial and showed it to me.  It was a good size tube filed with clear liquid.  This was the spinal fluid.  He filled three of them.  He also indicated that clear is good.  If there was a yellowish tinge to it, that would indicated either meningitis or blood in the spinal cord which is not good. 

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After that he pulled it out and put a bandaid on and then said I could lie down.  He asked if I had any pain meds at home.  I told him I had advil.  He said he’d get me a prescription for something better – vicodin (aka the happy pills). They asked me to stay there for 30 minutes and said to stay hydrated. I went through two water bottles. 

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They later came in and said I could have gotten dressed.  Well, yeah you told me to lay down <g> .  When I got up to get changed, I felt fine.  I had a small headache but I think that was just from laying on the flat bed/board with the two pillows.  They said if I had an LB Migraine that it would really hurt.

We drove home and then I laid on the bed for a few hours after taking a vicodin (just in case).  From about 5 to 8pm or so.  Thank God for Netflix streaming! After that I felt find and just got up to go watch TV with Crystal.  I never had any problems.

The next morning, my lower back felt a little stiff and felt bruised, but other than that, nothing wrong.

They set me up for a follow up appointment on Monday, February 10th (three weeks).  This would be to review the results and discuss what is going on.  So, now I just wait.  Of note, next week I will be going up to Seattle to speak at a conference, so hopefully all will be well with that.

Until next time…

EVOKE Testing

Today I went in for what they called EVOKE testing.  This was three different tests.  They had to wire me up first.  The technician commented that I would be really easy to wire.

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The first test was the Somatosensory test.  If you look on my forearm, you can see little patches.  This is where they hooked up the electrodes and sent a pulse of electric in my arm.  They did the left arm first followed by the right.  The technician commented that this can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes.  The more I was relaxed, the faster it would go.

It didn’t hurt and didn’t feel like getting a shock. It felt more like someone thumping the inside of my hand and then I could feel the pulsing going up my middle finger.  It was cranked up until my hand started twitching.

Each arm took about 17 minutes for me.

After that was the auditory test.  They put a headphone on me and had to test each ear.  One ear would get a clicking noise which sounded like a loud woodpecker. The other ear would have static.  I was told to focus on the clicking noise.  The ear with the clicking was the one being tested.  I was told if I fall asleep that would be good.  I don’t know how anyone could fall asleep with that noise.  The lights were turned down for both the electric and auditory test, but I didn’t fall asleep.

Each ear took about 10 minutes.

After that, we went to the visual test.  It felt good to sit up after laying on my back for so long.

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There was a computer screen in front of me.  It had a bunch of white and black squares, like a chess board.  In the middle was a red dot. I had to focus on the dot.  This was done for both the left and right eye.

Each eye was pretty quick.  Maybe 5 minutes each.

After that I was given copies of the read outs, but no real interpretation.  The technician indicated that she didn’t know how to interpret it, but just looked for the peaks.  She mentioned that if there were no peaks, that was not a good thing.  But I had peaks.

I didn’t see the actual doctor in this visit.  No blood was taken either which I thought they would do.  That may be done on the 17th when they do the lumbar puncture.  For now, I will just have to wait a week and a half for the lumbar puncture.