Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Little Heart Attacks / Myelogram Update

(Post inspired by Hammer, when he mentioned his life-long paranoia of losing his keys and/or wallet.)

I have no idea how it started.
I don't remember ever losing my wallet or my keys, but I have definitely forgotten one or the other when I needed them.

So when I was a teen, I developed the habit of touching my front right pocket as I walk and my arm swings. Every so many swings, I'll intentionally touch that pocket to confirm that my keys are there.

Likewise, I developed the habit with my left hand that as I walked and my arms would swing, I would let the side of my left hand touch my back left pocket to confirm that my wallet was there.

The result is that I might walk toward the front door without one or the other, but I won't make it to the car without feeling the empty pocket and going back inside to get whichever one I've forgotten.

I might forget things like my lanyard with my work IDs that I'm not in the habit of touching every thirty seconds, and I might misplace my wallet or keys at the house like everybody else, but I guarantee that I don’t get 15 steps without figuring out they're not in my pockets.

With the back problems and blown disks in my lower back, I have permanent nerve damage in a set of nerves that runs down my left leg.

A strange result of this is that my life-long habit of keeping my wallet in my left rear pocket began to aggravate the problem. Especially sitting in a car, and also especially when I had a truck with standard transmission.

I've long ago sold the truck, and will never buy a standard transmission vehicle again, because working a clutch pedal also aggravates my lower back and my gimpy left leg.

One of the most difficult things I've ever done was switching the habit of keeping my wallet from my left rear pocket to my right rear pocket to help with the leg pain.

For about three months, my years long habit of touching my wallet as I walked with my left hand would result in a half-second long heart attack. It was no longer there.

After about three months, I was finally in the habit of using my right hand to check for both my wallet and my keys as I walked. And even after years of doing this, I still sometimes have a mini heart attack because without thinking, I touch my back left pocket and there's no wallet there.

(How's that for most boring blog post since they were called web logs?

But hey, it's my blog, and it's all about ME, right? Right?)

Myelogram Update

Had I known exactly what I was in for yesterday, I might not have gone.

Due to four past surgeries, the radiologist had a tough time finding an opening through scar tissue to my spinal cord.

What normally would have been one set of shots to deaden the area, and one really tough one as he pressed the needle through the muscles to the spine for the tap, turned into 4 sets of shots and spinal taps. He couldn't get the dye to "flow" as he wanted it to until the fourth try.

The half hour procedure took one and a half hours because he had to do four complete procedures until he had the dye in my spinal column, with the dye flowing far enough up and down the column to see what they wanted to see.

After that was a CAT scan and then 4 hours of observation, which amounted to me laying there and the nursed coming in every 15 minutes for blood pressure and to ask if I was getting a headache.

He said I have a big bone spur pressing the nerve that gives feeling and strength in the outside half of my left leg, which is exactly where I hurt. Now it's up to the surgeon to decide what, if anything, he can do. I see the surgeon again in a couple of weeks.

It turns out that they want me (and anyone having this procedure) to be at rest for a minimum of 48 hours.

I'm doing ok, once the procedure was over and they left me alone, I've done pretty good. Just lots of muscle pain from the four places he put that honkin' big needle through my back muscles.

I should be back to work on Thursday, barring the headache they are hoping for me to avoid. The Dr. removes a bit of spinal fluid and then puts the dye in there, trying to avoid a drastic change in the pressure. If the dyes reaches and passes through the blood/brain barrier, one may get the grandaddy of all migraines, if he misjudged a bit, and the spinal column/fluid pressure changes the headache could come then as well. I'm hoping to avoid that more than they do.

Anyway, that's my sad story.


Hammer said...

I'm exactly the same, constantly feeling for wallet and keys and panicing when I have my wallet in my hand during one of my checks.

weird huh?

Hope they can fix that bone spur.

Gudl said...


Qtpies7 said...

Whoa, not fun! Devon had a spinal tap a couple of months ago, and it went well for him, thankfully. I can't imagine having to go through 4 of them and all the other stuff.

photowannabe said...

We are such creatures of habit. i am forever pushing my glasses up on my nose, even when I'm not wearing them. I don't get a mini heart attack from the action but i do get a bit put out with my silly habit.

Angela Marie said...

Okay.. that was not boring, very interesting! It just goes to show you how long to form a habit, good or bad. Actually, good habits probably take longer!! LOL! Now, there is something wrong with that!

I feel for you. My husband would have that done. We had to go to San Francisco to get this done, I had to drive home in that horrible traffic. It was the longest ride home. He would have the worst headaches.

I really feel for you. I hope there will be some healing for you.

Travis said...

Wow. That's a long procedure. The prospect of another surgery can't be fun, but is it possible that by removing the bone spur that it could ease some of the trouble?

I have to take my wallet out of my pocket when I sit, which has resulted in a whole new set of tests similar to yours. Whenever I stand up, I do a head-swivel search while patting down all my pockets. I'll either see where I set my wallet or find it in a pocket because I forgot to remove it.

Of course, if I've forgotten to remove it from a pocket I'll be sore in my left hip.

OK - I've rambled on enough. Good luck with the docs.