Stabbed in the Back

Published September 2, 2015 by Harri

Okay, so the title is a little more dramatic than it sounds. I had my Lumbar Puncture today.

So, my Mam came at 9am to pick me up and we made our way to the hospital. We got a bit lost because the hospital was massive and I’d never been there before. We eventually found the department we had to go to. Neurophysiology. So, the nurse calls me into a room with a bed, goes through the procedure and the consent form, basically letting me know what will happen, what can happen and what rarely, but has been known to happen. I am happy with what she has told me, so I sign the consent form.

I hop on the bed, all right, I don’t hop, I sit on the bed (jeans undone, seriously, they weren’t the right choice of clothing to wear!) and lie down on my left with a pillow between my knees and my knees bought up as close to my chest as possible, without curving my spine. My shoulder had to be aligned and my pelvis. A straight back.

The nurse then used her pen to draw things on my back, which vertebra to go between, I am assuming. They put iodine on my  back, covered me with a little surgical cloth with a hole in it and then proceeded with the local anaesthetic. I am used to needles, being poked by them but that one made me twitch like hell. Proper spasm. Anyway, it went in, we had to wait for it to numb, then she went a little deeper. When they were happy it was numb, which was a weird feeling like having a black hole in your back. Just a bit missing. They put the LP needle in.

They tried anyway.

The first time it went in, I got a wave of pain down my left side (hip and leg). The second time, again, only it didn’t reach as far. Then it began to centre around the weird black hole type feeling. The nurse said she hit the bone a couple of times, which is common in these procedures, because they have to go in blind and find the smallest gap ever.

They found it eventually and began draining the CSF. The first measurement of the pressure in there was 28. Which isn’t dangerously high, in fact it’s just above the ‘normal’ range. They drew off some samples for the lab. They did another pressure test, this time it was 24. Then they drained some more off so it would be at the lower end of the ‘normal’ levels. It was all really slow coming out. I didn’t realise it was that slow. I thought with increased pressure it would come out quicker, but I guess it doesn’t.

They took the needle out eventually, cleaned the iodine off and then put a plaster on my little hole. I had to lie on my back for a bit. I was asked how I feel and I couldn’t completely describe it. Like my head was empty. The pain is still there. Like a dull ache, but the throbbing and pulsating has gone. Which is nice. It feels clearer. If that could possibly make any sense at all. They then took blood from me, the usual spot on the back of my left hand, by my little finger) for more tests.

I eventually sat up and was given a coffee to drink. Apparently, if I develop a ‘Low pressure’ headache (which can happen because the CSF can leak out of the tiny hole in the spinal cord, I am to drink plenty of water and caffeine based drinks! I am also to take it very easy today, and for the next few days (which has me glad I had my last week of holidays this week!)

So yeah, now I am reclined on the sofa, with my laptop on my support pillow, chilling. Taking in water and trying not to move much because my left side is still sore.

BUT, I am okay. Fingers crossed I don’t develop a low pressure headache. It would be nice. We shall just have to wait and see.

A xx

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