Sidelined Today By A Migraine - Thank Goodness For My Neurologist!
Friday, September 27, 2013
I knew that I would have to lay low this afternoon, so the puppies and I took our walk early today. I had a neurologist appointment today, in Tampa, for several blocks in my head and neck. My neurologist is very gentle and caring as well as brilliant. I understand that she is the exception rather than the rule. Today, I saw both her and her "fellow" (a doctor studying under her). Since I had the king of all migraines yesterday, I eagerly awaited my appointment. I even arrived about 45 minutes early. :)
The nurse took my vitals and commented that I must be in a lot of pain. This is what I told her that happened yesterday:
I woke up, from a deep sleep, writhing in pain The pain went up the left side of my neck, into my ear, behind and in front of my ear and up across the top of my head. The top of my left shoulder also hurt . I gave the pain an hour to subside or I was going to go to the emergency room. I used all of the techniques that I learned as an out patient when attending my neurologist's pain management program and the pain subsided somewhat. It took 45 minutes for it to back down but I didn't have to take the pain medication that flattens me. I felt satisfied that I had it under control and got out of bed. I drank 10 ounces of water, ate breakfast and took my normal medications. After an hour, I tired and a bit out of sorts but okay. I decided to go to the next step on my pain plan and I went to deep water exercise. I skipped the shallow water workout because the movements may have been too jarring for my head and neck. The exercise indeed made me feel a bit better but I felt very tired after my workout.
Flash forward to today.............
The nurse stressed that I needed to describe everything to my neurologist because I had a spike in the top number of my blood pressure with a low bottom number and a pulse of 63. The nurse explained that this is indicative of someone who is in a lot of pain - I guess she made a note of it on my chart. I told her that I could take my pulse in my left ear and in the back of my head but there was no urgent pain. I was shocked when she told me that that was actually considered to be pain that needed a call to my doctor, but I'd gotten used to it so I didn't feel all of it. That was scary to me because how can I gage the amount of pain I'm in, if I really don't feel all of it.
I discussed my situation with the "Fellow" (a practicing anesthesiologist studying under my neurologist) who I saw initially during today's visit. He listened carefully and asked lots of questions. He wrote lots of notes in my chart. Since I was there to get trigger point and occipital blocks today, he administered them very carefully. He was very gentle and explained everything he was doing before he did it. I felt instant relief as soon as my head became numb at every injection site. The doctor wasn't too pleased with how hard the muscles were in the left side of my neck and head. Consequently, he injected every place where the muscles felt hard. I won't lie about how it felt. The injections were painful and then I felt giddy with the relief from the pain. When he was finished, he had given me over 20 injections. (There is a limit as to how much medicine the patient is allowed to have in her body, so some of the injections were very small. The doctor pre measured before he started the procedure) He initially told me to come back to be re-evaluated in two months (on November 25) but my neurologist changed the plan.
My neurologist was concerned that the pain was so bad; just as her nurse had predicted. I am now scheduled to have another round of injections on October 25 and I will still be re-evaluated on November 25. I think I will call my neurosurgeon next week and fill him in on what has been happening over the last 6 months. Since I have a progressive type disease, I think I need an updated MRI and my yearly check up with my neurosurgeon. The area that gave me the pain yesterday is the area that the neurosurgeon and I have been watching for the 15 months. I would feel a lot less anxious about my condition if I knew he was updated, especially in the event of an emergency. I don't forsee any real problems but you never know. He told me the last time that I will most likely require more surgeries on my spine and I don't want to let things slide. Fear can be very motivating!
Now that I'm home, I feel very relieved. I ate a healthy lunch, took the medication that my doctor gave me, as planned and took a very leisurely walk around the block. I will relax on the bed and read (or perhaps go to sleep?) for the remainder of the evening.