"Queen Katherine, what's wrong with you? No blog posts lately, no funny stories, not even any art. What is up with you??"
Don't think I haven't heard the fevered clamoring from you guys. The whispers, sighs, and questions. The pitch is getting quite loud - and being Queen, I couldn't do that to you, my dear, wonderful, lovely, beautiful readers. (Enough sucking up?) I had to pop in, this last day of 2009, and say...something.
Thank goodness 2009 is ending!
HERE'S TO 2010 BEING MUCH, MUCH BETTER THAN '09 WAS!
I'm big enough to admit that I have six posts half written and saved. Not published. To finish them would require me to complete the research for them...which seems like way too much work. (By research I mean putting in the links, finding pictures, blah blah blah.) So I'm starting over, saving those for another day. Maybe.
Let's examine why a spinal headache is so painful. Get out your No 2 pencils, sit up straight, and pay attention. There will not be a test on this at the end. I'm just too lazy at this point. Come on...I'm already schooling you in something you probably aren't the least bit interested in...so cut me a little slack. Lest I remind you I'm the Queen again.
According to THE QUEEN, and what I feel like writing:
A SPINAL HEADACHE happens when one gets a very small leak in the "sheath", or tough membrane, covering the spinal column. Since I'm now realizing what a pain this would be to explain, without getting into a whole anatomy class, this is going to be the short definition. If I do less than a fantabulous job, click the links at the end and get more information. At least I understand what I'm saying.
Any time a needle is inserted into your spine - whether it's to pull out cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), like a spinal tap, or to put medication in the spine, like an epidural - one can end up with a spinal headache. (Spinal headaches can also happen spontaneously, but it's very rare.) The needle has to puncture the protective "sheath" in order to get to the space where the CSF flows, which is the space where medication is put for something like an epidural. If the needle "hole" doesn't immediately close, CSF can leak through this "sheath". I always think of it like bouyancy - and may be totally wrong, but that's how I think of it. Your brain and spinal cord must be bathed in CSF all the time - they float in it. If the CSF is leaking, there isn't enough to keep the correct "parts" bouyant - your brain literally begins to sink, which is why you have such a severe, please-just-kill-me-now-because-I'm-in-hell, type of headache. It's like when you poke a balloon with a needle - the hole is so small that it's almost impossible to see, but the fluid inside the balloon can still leak out.
Now that I've totally confused you, forget it. Just read what happens here. Or here. Or even here. As an aside, very informative videos on all sorts of back pain, conditions, and treatments, can be found here, put out by Spine Health. Some fifty percent of the adult population will have back problems during their lives, and I highly recommend checking out the videos if you're struggling with any of these issues. Anyway...
The only way to feel better is to lay flat. Standing, sitting, or having your head upright at all, is painful beyond words - and if you cough or sneeze, God help you. You honestly think your head will shoot off - and wish it would. But lay down, and relief comes quickly (depending on how long you were upright before laying down).Usually, the hole(s) close without any intervention, and the headache goes away. But sometimes - unless you're me, in which case it happens all the time - they don't close on their own...and you win another fun medical procedure, called a blood patch - they draw a huge bolus of blood out of your arm, then inject it into your spine. The idea is that the blood cells will find the hole(s) causing the leak, and patch them. Having a blood patch is like instant relief...as soon as it's done, your headache resolves, and you return to a human state again. It's a strange thing, going from a headache that honestly makes you wish you were dead, to no headache at all - but if you're the one with the headache, you don't question it.
So that's where your Queen has been, in spinal headache hell. Not a place I recommend visiting. Ever. I wouldn't even say it's a place for the in-laws.
I was supposed to be having a rhizotomy, or radiofrequency neurotomy, today. The follow up to last week's medial branch block - which is what I ended up having, instead of facet injections. Why stop at injecting the facet joints, with itty-bitty needles - when you can go for the whole branch of nerves, with a much larger needle? The medial branch block went alright, unless you consider that I spent the rest of the week flat on my back, in spinal headache hell. Except for the brief periods of sickness I experienced because of some great new medication for something else.
Mine's Bigger Than Yours!
OH MY GOODNESS - IS A BLOG POST JUST A "POST" IF YOU HAVE TO HAVE SUB-HEADINGS??
If you've made it this far, you're at the climactic point of the novel that has become this post. You're on the edge of your seat wondering why on earth I'm not having the rhizotomy right now. So why am I writing you - and not acting as the human pin cusion/electrical conduit? It's all due to my uvula.
No! We don't want to know about your gynecological issues, Queen! Ha - no matter how much it sounds like a dirty word, the uvula is the "punching bag" thingy that hangs down at the back of your mouth, in your throat. Mine is all swollen up for some reason - and you can't have any sort of back procedure when you're hosting an infection. I've had a swollen uvula before - several times. I don't know what causes it - nor do I know anyone else this happens to. I just know the doc won't touch me like this. Is this a minor sidetrack...or a major roadblock?
Who knows. I just know that as the worst year of my life, I'm glad 2009 is drawing to a close...and I won't be sorry to see it go. I hope all of you have a fantastic New Years - but more than that. I hope 2010 is full of love, prosperity, success, great friends, and good health. I mean that. You all have touched my life in ways you'll never know...and I hope your goodness and kindness is returned to you - ten-fold.