A Stab in the back

Now I’ve been known to be as stubborn and hard headed as a donkey in many, many ways. Also especially when I have to do exercises to facilitate the recovery and improvement of my herniated disc (Sorry Cornell). For that I am now paying the price, and after the orthopedic surgeon consultation I literally got a stab in the back to kick my lazy donkey ass into gear. My medical aid hates me because they now have to spend the money they have taken from me over the years, my spine is unhappy with me because of a foreign object that had to be inserted into deep dark places.


An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is a minimally invasive procedure that can help relieve neck, arm, back, and leg pain caused by inflamed spinal nerves due to spinal stenosis or disc herniation. Medicines are delivered to the epidural space, which is a fat-filled area between the bone and the protective sac of the spinal nerves. Pain relief may last for several days or even years. The goal is to reduce pain so that you may resume normal activities and a physical therapy program.

The result of the MRI indicated that I had indeed suffered a herniated disc again and all the jelly-like nucleus pushed through the disc’s outer ring and decided that I currently don’t have enough pressure in my life and tactically snuggled up against my spinal cord and nearby nerve. If that is not enough the disc releases material chemical irritants to contribute to nerve inflammation. Happiness.  “When a nerve root is irritated, there may be pain, numbness, and weakness in one or both of your legs, a condition called “sciatica.” There are!


What is an epidural steroid injection (ESI)?

A steroid injection includes both a corticosteroid (e.g., triamcinolone, methyl-prednisolone, dexamethasone) and an anesthetic numbing agent (e.g., lidocaine or bupivacaine). The drugs are delivered into the epidural space of the spine, which is the area between the bony vertebra and the protective dura sac surrounding the spinal nerves and cord

After consulting with the doctor I made a decision after the previous conservative treatment did not yield the desired results to go for a stab in the back, also known as an epidural steroid injection (https://mayfieldclinic.com/pe-esi.htm). NO, I am not in labour!


Mmm, what’s going on here?

So hospital day booked, fiancé sent off to Zambia for some work, lifts organised (Thanks Ev and Nikki), clean and newest underwear on body, cell phone charged I walk through the doors of the hospital to check in on my own. Apparently a 30min procedure and you walk out the afternoon (not allowed to drive or operate heavy equipment (But I am a heavy equipment)) but you have to check in super early and have no food from the night before.


Pre-admission goes smoothly but no bed available yet so hurry up and wait in the hospital lounge area (Fortunately I had the vision to bring my fully charged powerbank with). Waiting, waiting and waiting my name finally gets called. “Do you need a porter or would you be able to find the orthopedic surgical area by yourself?” The Donkey stubbornness kicks in and off I waddle with my pins and needles leg and herniated back.


Sing it! All by my self… The pre surgery wait

Pre-slaughter area found and bed assigned I sit and wait listening to the conversations of the other slaughtered, I mean surgically treated patients and their families present. Dude walks in puts a cup with a cover on the bed table next to me, says that is for your urine sample. Okay, I think (just gone to the loo before I explored the hospital in search of my bed). He starts to walk away and as another female nurse approaches he turns around and says for the first time: “Hallo, my name is (Insert name here), I will be handling you admission. Turns out the other nurse that walked in was there to observe him from a training point of view. I really felt welcome.

He goes nervously through all the processes of taking blood pressure, blood sugar and all the things they have to do before, gives me my incomplete dress that opens up at the back and something that is either a shower cap or something that turned out to be my fancy flimsy surgical underwear. After all this is done with the poor guys so nervous the next one arrives that is super friendly and does what she needs to including an ECG (which means a million little things get stuck to your fairly hairy chest). She is done and I inquire if these things should remain on my fragile body, she is neither here on there so I ask her to remove it. RIPPED off I am happy again. She then walks back into the room with the machine again. “Sorry, there was an error (no paper) and we lost all the data when we put paper in. We have to do it again” I have a bold spot on my chest now.


It is finally time to be wheeled to the slaughter house (I mean surgery). This is quite a journey with an interesting character chirpy and happy and full of jokes pushing me a mile through the hospital and construction site. He did not want to stop for me to get a hard hat for surgery from one of the construction workers. I end up outside surgery lying waiting and the anesthetist come chat with me, get wheeled in eventually next to the surgical table with pillows all over it. Now I had to get myself onto the table and position myself on these pillows with backside facing up. Needle in the arm and chatting ready for a sleep and then I wake up chatting to a nurse. 45min I know nothing of and the recovery nurse telling me I can now have that cold beer. What is she talking about? Chatting along she lets drop that I have an active imagination – I wish I knew what I said in there….


The post procedure selfie

To shorten the story I will skip the conversation with the 80 year old fellow next to me in the hall and as soon as I was told I could go I was out of there…. Needles, I mean needless to say; that stab in my back has motivated me to get my stubborn donkey ass in gear to get do my rehab and specific exercises, lose weight and get back on the bicycle again. No more excuses. The Adventure Whale is back.


Let the new journey begin…



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