Got That Chronic (Pain)

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This is off-topic for my blog (which is my super adventure into creativity and living my dreams!), but pain is a big part of my life.

Today I got to experience a medial branch block in my cervical spine. This involved injections at six sites. But not just any injections – oh no – they were needles slowly injected into the nerves at facet joints in my spine.

First I wait for an hour in a waiting room full of people over 70… then it seemed to be exclusively people over 80… and my husband and me (I was required to have a driver). Then I was taken to a room with a nurse and my pain management doctor (a lovely blonde woman only a few years older than I).

My back gets sterilized. Then sterilized again. And once more for good measure. As we speak, it’s still pretty sticky (I can’t bathe until tomorrow, sorry world). Lidocaine gets injected to numb my skin. Contrast dye gets injected as there’s a constant x-ray happening (I also had a CT scan last week, so I’m fantastically radiated). Then the actual needle goes in and an anesthetic is injected directly into the nerve.

Have you ever had a needle in a nerve? In your spine? No? Yeah, me either. Well, you can totally feel it. Especially as the needle is quickly pulled out of your back. That feels weird. The injections feel bad. But my doctor hums Christmas songs, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

This happens three times on my right side. Then I turn my head and repeat the entire event on the left. To complete painting the picture for you, I’m face-down on a table with my grey cardigan draped thoughtfully across my back.

It was actually over sooner than I thought it would be, but it was still like thirty minutes. I then get wheeled into the recovery room where I sit and assess my pain. I’m instructed to try to cause myself as much pain as possible. No problem. To paraphrase Ralph Wiggum, “Oh boy, pain! That’s where I’m a Viking!”

I did, however, get some relief. It was kind of magical. I get to go back next week and do this all again. And if that also goes well, I will be undergoing a radiofrequency neurotomy. This is a similar procedure, but my nerves will actually be burned! Fancy websites call it a “heat lesion.” My doctor just straight up calls it burning.

So that’s what I’ve got going on. Pain (mental, physical, whatever) is often thought to foster creativity and help create great works of art. We shall see!

Thanks for reading. This was just a very strange experience and I felt the need to share it. Cheers!

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