It was a whole week and a half before I got to go in to see the neurologist. Why do doctors so that? Why drop a bomb and then make a patient wait for more news? Why not just say go follow-up with the next doctor and say no more?
So for the next week I did what anyone else would do, but that shouldn’t do. I googled it. I didn’t know really anything about MS so I thought I would see what it was I might be dealing with. I googled all the strange symptoms I had, the types of tests, treatments, ect…I can’t say it made me feel better. My husband and I talked about what life expectations we had that might have to change, adjustments we’d have to make, we spoke to a few people about it and mostly asked for prayers. I prayed a lot. I didn’t question why it was happening or why me, only to have God be here with me and get me through this, one step at a time. Help me through this.
The neurologist said he wanted more tests. The MRI showed it could be MS, but it could be something else. There is no one test for MS, only a series of tests to help diagnosis it. Blood work, more MRI’s and the worst fear- a spinal tap.
I have a bad history with needles. My veins don’t like them. My veins are small, and they roll making me a very difficult stick. Not to mention that then the blood d r i p s out slowly. With my second child I had an epidural and then got a spinal headache after. I had to go to the ER for a blood patch to stop it. Bad bad memories.
So the MRI with contrast was scheduled for the next day, and the spinal tap for the day after. The second MRI was fine. It is a tube like chamber where they play loud futuristic techno beat music. The technician comes over the speaker and says “lie still, this will be two and a half minutes”. Click,click,click,dtdtdtdttdtdt,click,click,click,dtdtdtdtdtdtdtd.
One down one to go.
Thursday morning we got all the kids off to their appointed places and headed for the hospital. The spinal tap, or lumbar puncture, was a day surgery procedure. I was wheeled from a small room down to radiology. The procedure is done under x-ray so they go into the right spot with a small needle to collect the spinal fluid. Once in the table is tilted and the collection should go fast. Should. Did I mention it took two nurses about 20 minutes to collect 6 vials of blood just before this? They needed 4 vials of fluid. It took a long time, maybe 30-40 minutes. That’s a long time for me when you have a needle in your spine. I was taken back to the day surgery room for recovery, where I laid flat on my back for 2 hours before I could go home. I spent the rest of the night on my back to make sure the whole sealed.
But it didn’t.
I got a spinal headache. Not common, but I got one. God what are you teaching me? Please let me learn this lesson. It was a rough weekend and by the time monday came every time I stood up or sat down it felt like my head was in a vice grip squeezing out my brain. Almost as if my brain was dehydrating in my head. I barely made it to preschool to drop my daughter off. My husband had to come and get me, bring me home and then schedule me back at the hospital for a blood patch.
That afternoon back in the hospital, back under radiology, I had a nurse drawing blood out of my arm to then place back into the exact spot on my back where the lumbar puncture had been. It took two draws because the first poke for blood broke the vein and I had a 5 inch bruise under the skin on my forearm. But I made it through. There are some great nurses at that hospital who treated me with the utmost care and compassion. Love is an action, not a feeling and that’s how we should treat everyone, through love. Laying on my back, again, I really just wanted to be home in my bed. Home is comfort. I was thinking the worst is over.