When Friday rolled around and the headache did, too, I opened my eyes long enough to phone Dr. O's office. The nice nurse got right on the case and started the ball rolling. She would get authorization from Dr. O (a formality), then talk to the anesthesiologist on duty at the hospital, and call me back within 30 minutes (or it'd be free!).
Thirty minutes later, I had my green light to get a blood patch. Kris drove me to the outpatient surgery center, where a haggy greeter volunteer tried to get between me and the good doctor. Technically, she was probably just doing her non-job, but when EJ rolls up looking like Anna Nicole — nauseated, wearing sunglasses, and clutching a Dunkin' Donuts barf bag — senility is no excuse, lady. SCOOT.
A few seconds later, we were in. I got registered and guess who was going to do my procedure! Dr. Slack! They stuck me in a wheelchair, made me put on one of those sexy, see-through shower caps and threw a sheet over me while I got wheeled back to the OR.
They set me up in an alcove somewhere in the surgery catacombs, with my own nurse and non-stop-beepy heart monitor, like the ones that always flatline on tv. The doctor came in a slapped me on the back and said “we'll git 'er dun!” Luckily, I had by this time 3 nice nurses to balance the Slack in the
They made me sit on the side of the stretcher and put my feet on a chair, leaning forward. They clucked and poked and smacked at my reluctant veins. Then they did it some more. After about 15 minutes, the Slack rolled in, no doubt ready to git 'er dun, and he was not pleased that they hadn't found a spot to draw yet. Evidently, it has to be precisely timed, so that as soon as it comes out of my arm, he can shoot it into my back.
Undeterred, he decided to start the epidural procedure. From the start, he was less friendly and more rough than the lady who did the LP. Pretty quickly, they found a vein and he did the procedure. I just breathed deeply and hoped it would be over quickly.
It was! They helped me lie down on my back, where I stayed for about half an hour. As expected, the relief came quickly, too.
Within 15 minutes, I could take my sunglasses off without pain. Within 30 minutes, I was sitting up having some apple juice and joking with the nurse. One quick check-in with the Slack, and I was free to go home. The improvement was dramatic and fast. Blessed relief!