Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Keep on patching!!

Since the last blood patch things have been better. I get longer periods of time being up without pain. What I really want to do it push it as far as I can and see how bad the headache gets. Unfortunately, my doctors (and Mere) keep reminding me that is not good for healing. It is getting harder and harder to tell if the headache is spinal or secondary to the blood patch. After talking to Dr. VH I found out this is good. The blood that they put in my neck is an irritant and my spinal cord should be compressed (just a little) which will cause some pain. Hopefully, this means the dura is healing. The overall idea is that the blood clot irritates the dura and encourages healing. The result is that I have mild headaches and neck pain most of the time, making it harder to interpret what is really happening!! The big picture: I feel better since the last patch and am really hopeful. This time last week things were looking so much yuckier.

The good news is that we have a plan (more on that in a minute) and I feel better. The bad news is that I'm still on bed rest and driving is still off limits. Now for the plan:

--Tomorrow morning I'm getting another cervical blood patch, this time they are going to aim towards the left side. It will be followed by 24 hours of not flexing my neck and staying in bed except for bathroom breaks. Then some more bed rest like what I'm used to (showering, getting up for little bits of time, etc) for a week.

--If the next blood patch doesn't work, then another myelogram to assess the anterior tears (the tears are anterior and posterior). That will be followed by some anterior blood patches where they actually go through my spinal column to get to the anterior position. I have to admit that sounds a little scary but not as scary as surgery.

--If that does not work, then we do fibrin glue injections. We are all still not 100% sure how this will work. We are hoping that the surgeon in LA will do some consultations over the phone.

--If after all of the above the headaches aren't better, then they are going to shoot me. Seriously, at this point we will go to LA for surgery.

Regardless of where I am, I am hoping to go back to work in December on very light duty. Truthfully, I'm hoping this patch works and I can go back to full duty in December. Right now the question is can I take a Thanksgiving call at the VA? Dr. VH's initial reaction was probably not. But, then I explained that it is only rounding (2-3 hrs or so) and no beeper call at night or after I leave the hospital so I could come home and rest all day. He wants me to wait and see how this patch works and reassess on Monday but even if I'm not 100% better he is not ruling out the possibility of letting me test drive my patches over Thanksgiving, Am I excited about the potential of being on call? YES. Does that make me question my sanity? Hell, yes.

Things I'm going to do when I get better:

--Go back to work. I miss working. Weird.
--Get more patients recruited for my study (I was procrastinating on this before I got leaky)
--Dance more. I even have this delusional idea of maybe taking a ballroom dancing class. I'm thinking that will pass when D.ancing with the Stars is done.
--Ride bikes with the family (even if it is to cold)
--Run (if I can). If not, then spin!
--Moonlight less (this one will be hard) so I can give some time to the free clinic that I have been credentialed at for a year but have yet to work one shift.
--Go grocery shopping. Mere said that most the of they have been remodeling are done. I'm not sure why I'm excited to see the remodels but I am.
--Cook. Anything.
--Go to a game and watch Syd cheer!!
--DRIVE. By myself. Windows down, radio up.
--Get a little more involved in our church. Maybe go back to doing some volunteering at community breakfast. This ties into the whole moonlight less idea.
--Did I mention dancing?


Anonymous said...

Live life to the fullest! Dance, Sing, Love, Laugh & Embrace the journey! You will be a better person due to this challenge, life has it's way of directing our paths & I know this from experience! Don't question why, embrace this & say why not, bring life on I can do this! I'm proud to know you & share a piece of your journey with you!

Your friend,
Caroline :~)

Sonya said...

You sound good! I hope things continue to improve and your next steps bring you healing and dancing.

Jen Jacuzzi said...

You are amazing! The fact that you are blogging about your experience and sharing with others is soooo cool! Kudos to Mere and the girls for being such an awesome family through all of this too. I am going to visualize all of you dancing together and singing and playing! I know things are getting better. I am praying for tomorrow's blood patch. Got you on prayer list at my church and others. Remember, God has got ya. If He brings ya to it, he will bring you THROUGH it. Your experience with all of this will make you a better Doctor, wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend! You have lots of love and support out there. Cannot wait to see you smiling and dancing again soon!! Love you, Mere and the girls! Let me know if I can do anything at all! Have lots more magazines for you if you want them! Talk to you soon!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog in between patients. I miss seeing your smiling face in ER! You are going down a rough road right now, but God, family, & friends will carry you through the darkest of times. You are a beautiful, amazing person Dr. J. You & your family are in mine & Brooklyn's prayers. Take care of yourself. I'll be reading for updates.

With much love,

CJ said...

I hope you are back to all you miss as soon as possible!!

Tina said...

Wow! So glad to hear that you are getting some relief! Hoping that things continue on a positive path.
Rock on!