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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Squirrels, spinal taps and shots - my life this week

This has been a really, really strange week so far, and it's only Wednesday.

Monday afternoon, I heard things crashing on my porch. My porch is an arctic entrance with a screen that's always locked if I'm home. 

I peeked out cautiously, and there's this little brown furry streak of Destruction and Doom knocking over the boxes from Amazon I've saved to mulch my garden with, the flower pots that we've taken in for the season, the box of work stuff that for some reason my husband has never brought into the house. Zip zip CRASH zip zip. It was trapped, it was angry, and it was *scary*. When I first saw it, all I saw was the little rodent face, which was freaky. Then it ZIPPED up the wall and I saw it's tail. I slammed the front door shut and locked it, like this thing was somehow going to open the door locked or not and called my husband.
"You have to come home as early as you can." 
"There's a SQUIRREL on the porch."
"I don't want it coming in the house and someone has to let it out and it's not going to me."
"A squirrel?"
"Yes. A crazy squirrel. Possibly man eating. I'm not taking the risk. It's a Squirrel of Doom."
"Really? I didn't know we had squirrels in the neighborhood."
"Oh? You were talking about hearing them the other day, and we are surrounded by woods. So..."
"Oh, I forgot about that."
"Just get home when you can." *crash* 
Then in my best Dean Winchester imitation, I said "That was scary." which was apparently the funniest thing ever. 

By the time he got home, I realized that someone had to unlock the screen for him to get in, and the porch had been quiet for a while, so I slipped the door open, and used my cane to flip open the lock, then darted back in slamming the door shut.

So that night, while we were going to the store, he starts his iPod in the car. Playing Mississippi Squirrel Revival by Ray Stevens. 

Tuesday- My spinal tap is scheduled. Now, one thing I have to say about my neurologist, he's just radiates comfortable competence. He answers all my questions, which any good health provider should do. Some of my questions tend to be questions my doctors have never heard before so occasionally they have to do some research. Which he did right there on his iPhone on some super serious Doctor app and website or something. My husband was very amused that with a computer behind him, he did the look up on his iPhone.
Anyway, I was nervous, both for me, and for my husband. I wanted him there to make me feel better, but my 350 lb, 6'2" ex-cop, ex-EMT big tough husband has real problems watching me get blood drawn. So I was nervous about him too. The doctor and his nurse were amazing, calm and professional. 

If you're curious about spinal taps, AKA lumbar punctures from a completely non-professional personal point of view, the competence of my doctor was very relaxing. He had me pull down my skirt and pull up my shirt to show the area (I wore loose easy clothes to avoid the hospital gown fashion). He had me lay down in a fetal position, knees tight against chest, shoulders straight, on my side. Then raised the table. He covered my legs in a nice warm blanket and made it as comfortable as possible. Then cleaned the area well and draped it with a surgical drape. Then he injected a local anesthetic. The needle is put in low in the back between the lumbar bones. When the area was well numb, he inserted the needle for the spinal tap. It's a hollow needle, just under 1 mm in diameter. It was numb enough to just feel like some pressure. He took pressure readings and confirmed the diagnosis of intercranial hypertension. He also decided that since he was getting the spinal fluid anyway, he would have the lab run some tests on it to check for infections and other things. He doesn't think there are any, but hey, he was doing the spinal tap for other reasons, let's just be sure.
Bandaged it up and prescribed Motrin and lots of coffee. I can do that. Also prescribed something to lower the pressure in my head. As we were leaving, the doctor said "Thank you for being so brave." My husband replied "Thank you! I didn't pass out!" 

That evening, Dad called, apparently William had stepped on a clean nail at work and Dad wanted to know when his last tetanus shot was. We decided it had been long enough to justify a booster shot, so he went to the ER to get a booster and some antibiotics. He's fine and working today. His big disappointment was that by the time he got there, the cafeteria was closed. The hospital we go to has a killer cafeteria. Actually edible food. 

This morning, when I woke up, my left hand tingled. Then my right, then my lips and tongue. Then not my lips and tongue but both hands. So I went to the ER. Turns out an uncommon side effect of the drug I was prescribed is that it can lower your potassium levels. Which can cause the tingling. It's uncommon enough that the doctor who saw me did a consult to come up with that possible reason, then did some blood work to check. Apparently it usually works itself out after you've been taking the drug for a while, but for the next week, I need to take a potassium supplement.

The spot where I had the spinal tap has a nice, perfectly round bruise about 2 inches in diameter which is normal, but uncomfortable.

And as crazy as it's been, I'm so very grateful for my friends and family. Otherwise, I think I'd just stay in bed for the rest of the week.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my Darling, no wonder I have come to love you so much - you have weeks like mine!!! We call them "Anything Can Happen" weeks after the old Mickey Mouse Club TV show we watched as kids. Wednesday was ACH day on the show - my ACH days are never as predictable. LOL Be well and feel better soon...
    My thoughts and prayers are always there...


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