Friday, October 4, 2013

This is spinal tap

A friend of mine had to have a lumbar puncture the other day (she is fine now) and unfortunately she developed a spinal headache as a result of that puncture.

Her situation brought back memories of my own spinal tap and spinal headache, although her treatment was different than mine. Let me explain.

I had c-sections with both my children and I chose to have a spinal block for the anesthesia. If you know me well, then you already know that I have an extreme phobia of needles and all things related to needle-administered drugs or therapies or really anything. I hate needles. I hate them so much that for the first three of my seven major abdominal surgeries, I refused all pain medication because it was administered by a shot. I’m not sure why my phobia is only about needles because my pain tolerance is actually quite high (see also no pain relief because it came by a shot). There’s just something about being punctured and feeling the drug enter my body that’s horrifying to me. No thanks!

So for me to have a spinal block was a huge act of love. I knew it was best for my babies and I steeled myself to endure those horrible needles both times. But with my second child, I developed a spinal headache. As my anesthesiologist explained it to me, I was leaking some spinal fluid through the puncture, and as a result my poor brain was sort of sagging in my skull and that’s why I was in so much pain. I’ve never been so aware of the anatomy of my skull and my brain pan as I was that day.

He told me there were several options for fixing this leak. He could administer a blood patch at the site of the original spinal block. Um no thanks, that’s a needle. What’s behind door number two? Well, he said, we could restart your IV. Oh hell no, that’s even worse. Are there any other options?? Yes, he said, we don’t know why this works but if you drink caffeine that can fix the problem.

I didn’t yet drink coffee (that love affair didn’t begin for another decade), but I did like drinking Coke so I told him line them up and I’ll slug them down! So I got a bunch of Cokes, slugged them all down and miracle of miracles, it worked.

My friend chose the patch. I’m guessing she doesn’t hate needles as much as I do.


Jeanne said...

Yikes. You should never have a knee replaced, because the standard procedure afterward is to have the patient inject herself in the stomach daily for two weeks to make sure no blood clot travels from the surgery site.

kittiesx3 said...

My mother didn't have to do that three years ago. How weird and unpleasant.