Well I did it. I had my flouroscopically guided epidural injection today. It sucked.
I apparently have deep-seeded issues most likely stemming from my childhood of getting anxiety in medical situations. It’s not the pain or the needles at all…. it’s the idea of being left in a vulnerable position (in a little hospital gown), and having no way “out”. Strangely, if I could go in fully clothed, lay down on a table, and have my shirt pulled up, and they stick me with a needle, I would be absolutely fine. There is something that has been incorrectly manifested in my head somewhere that says you are humiliated, vulnerable, and are trapped….. RUN. It’s some sort of self-preservation — flight mode.
The minute I walked into the surgical center, I started breaking down. Again, I hate this kind of thing. I generally think of myself as a strong independent person. But I broke down immediately. As I was being led back to the prep area, I was told I would have to give a urine sample. WHY? to see if you are pregnant – but I have my tubes tied. Doesn’t matter. Right off the bat, that kind of thing sets me off. The “procedures” that make zero sense. Knowing my insurance company, they will probably not pay for that urine test because my tubes are tied – they did that before. But I had no choice, had to do it.
The next thing that bothers me is the total disregard to your dignity that most places have, and I’m sorry, there are some really great nurses out there but many of them, because this is their job, they lose touch with the idea that some people don’t like being stripped of all of their dignity. I’m one of THOSE patients. I’ve had hand surgery that they made me take everything off, even my underwear. Why does that bother me? It does. It totally bothers me. I do have to say, this surgical center allowed me to keep my bra and underwear on. That was nice.
The nurse looked at me like I was weird for being upset. I hadn’t even met this doctor yet, I have no idea who he is or exactly what we are doing. She said, “we don’t sedate for lumbar injections.” Wait, what? My doctor’s office said I was going to be sedated. I looked at the nurse and said look – if you guys would have let me eat this morning, I would have taken two Lortabs and been absolutely without a care and wouldn’t be freaking out right now. She did talk to someone and they agreed to give me some Versed. I said – I don’t care to be put to sleep because I really can’t stand that, but just something to take the edge off… that’s all I want. So she gets the idea that it was because of pain, and she said “we are going to have to start an IV” like that would upset me.
Nope, I didn’t even flinch. I don’t care about IVs….. what I care about is being trapped, humiliated, and vulnerable.
Well, to top things off, they got backed up because one of their procedure rooms was unusable….. I then got to sit there, in tears, for two hours. TWO HOURS, while they took everyone else, and I was last one, AND the only one that was completely freakishly anxiety ridden……. I dunno, I would think maybe you want to get the freaker-outer out faster, wouldn’t you?
I really have a problem when my feelings are not acknowledged (one of my young “medical” memories was of being taken by my grandmother to get blood tests and her lying to the doctor and telling them I was 4 when I was 2 years old – my grandmother was trying to get my mother for “neglect” by lying about my age so the doctor thought I was malnourished…. I cried and cried and even made my brother cry. Another memory was of this doctor I hated. I was 5. I was going in for my Kindergarten checkup, and I was made to strip down to my underwear, and I panicked and cried, and everyone treated me like I was stupid for being upset, and the doctor got shitty with me. – I don’t know, I’m not psychiatrist, but maybe that is where this all comes from, who knows?)
So back to the procedure. They had me walk into the room and made me lie face down on the table. I couldn’t wait to get my Versed…. I have to say, they gave me just enough. I wasn’t totally out of it, it just took the edge off. I will not do this again without it. It took that edge of anxiety off, I still felt all the pain. Oh the pain… yes, they fail to tell you how much pain you will feel. Haha. Oh we will numb you really well. No they don’t. They numb the surface so you can’t feel the stick, but oh you feel them hit the nerve and I felt it all the way down to my foot. OUCH. It was excruciating, but I prefer that feeling over the feeling of being humiliated, vulnerable, and trapped…. go figure.
The rest of the day went without incident.
Do I feel any relief? Not a bit. Hurts just as bad as it always has. They said it could take a few days to work. Okay. I hope so. I’m scheduled for two more of these awful things.