Surprise procedure & Pain Rating Scale – 16/07/14 23:28

Well it seems like I almost didn’t stick to the Day-by-Day schedule, but there is a reason for doing so!

At 13:20 yesterday I recived a phone call from my local hospital saying that I could come in and have a procedure which I have been waiting for on my back. I’d like to point out that I’ve been waiting for this procedure for weeks, rather impatiently. But there was a catch.

I had to be at the hospital for 14:00.

That gave me 40 minutes to get there. Which, to be honest, was a lot of time, as the hospital was just down the road. I said goodbye to the missus, as at the time I was actually with her on her break at work, and off I went for this procedure.

This procedure was basically a set of six injections of local anaesthetic and steroids, which were done within the facet joints in my back. For those that have no clue what facet joints are, it’s basically the parts between the vertebrae in your spine, and the cartilage “disks”, but behind those. Yeah, it’s complicated to understand, so here’s a picture which shows things better…lumbar_facet_arthritis_intro01

You see those “red bits”? Yeah, that’s basically where I had these injections. The bottom two red parts of the picture above, and just a tad bit lower, towards the pelvis, one more injection was done. So I had three injections over either side of my spine coming to six in total.

It was a strange feeling, because I’d already had a Pre-OP a few weeks ago, and I thought they would have done it then.. But apparently they trust my blood pressure to stay consistant and for me to not become infected with MRSA in the weeks coming up to my actual operation, which of course I didn’t actually get a date for. Hence why I was so eager to get in the 14:00 cancelation slot.

Anyway, it is safe to say.. It was the most painful thing, I think I’ve ever done. In fact, I nearly screamed at the Doc doing it, after swearing multiple times at him, which he gracefully took on the chin as he knew that I knew he wasn’t intentionally hurting me. I wouldn’t mind, but it was the anestetic that hurt first, and then after that, I couldn’t feel anything “externally”, it was inside my spine that I felt the sharp end of the needle, which was a very strange feeling.

He also did a superb job when it came to the joints close to my pelvis. For those of you that don’t know, because of the Ankylosing Spondylitis, the joints in my pelvis have fused together. Meaning I don’t have the normal three bones that you would have. Instead of having two hip bones and a tail bone, I have one big, fused bone.

This of course created complications when he was trying to inject into that joint, and on multiple ocassions, I again explicitly told him that it hurt as I could actually feel the needle, and the contents of said needle, touching the fused bones within my pelvis. I think at one point, the BP monitor that was clipped over my finger actually registered me as dead, purely because I was squeezing my fists that tightly, that the monitor couldn’t get an accurate reading of my BP. rest assured, because of the tensing of my legs and the words coming out of my mouth, my consultant was positvely sure that I was very much still alive.

So, once the procedure was over, and what felt like an excructiatingly long 20 minutes, I was back in the hospital ward after the nurses at recovery were sure that my blood pressure was stable, and that I could still move my legs.

It was strange, because when I was back on the hospital ward, I could feel my back.. Yet it was like I couldn’t.. The anestetic didn’t wear off until a few hours afterwards. This was lovely for me, as when I got up to go to the toilet, to my amazement, I could actually walk without any pain. For the first time in five years, I can say that I was completely out of pain. It was a fantastic feeling.

Yet of course, once the anastetic began to wear off, I began to feel my back again and become very tired and stiff.

Today, I feel “better”. I started the day off feeling very achy. The doc told me to take it easy and try to do as little as possible, so of course, I took his advice. I did go and see the missus on her dinner, which did add a bit of light and excitement, to my otherwise very boring day. Then again, I couldn’t actually do much. My back hadn’t seiezed up, I just couldn’t move it properly. I actually felt like someone has replaced my lower back with a broom stick. I don’t mind of course, because I know that soon enough, It’ll get better.

Now though, as I write this, I am in a slight bit of pain again. I’m still stiff as anything, aching, but some pain has come back. I have to say though, it certainly isn’t anything to what it used to be. Only time will tell as to how I’ll react to this treatment. After having just a normal steroid injection in my bum last year, I had a major flare up soon after. Which is “rare”.. Here’s hoping it doesn’t happen again.

I am feeling confident about this procedure though, I’ve hard many stories of them being a great success. Then again, others which haven’t had as much success. Realistically like anything, it’s all trial and error really. You never know, within the next few days I could have the exact feeling or “lack of” should I say, as I felt when I first got up on the hospital ward to go to the toilet. I could be pain free, for at least a few months.

At least, that’s what I’m hoping for. Optimism is key with a condition like this. I realised that a long time ago. Is it the placebo effect? After going through a procedure like that, I can safely say NO! If the anestetic and stroids work, it’s because they’ve worked. If they don’t, it’s either because my condition is worse than I thougt, or they just haven’t had an effect on me.

For now though, I’m much happier now I’ve had them done, and I’m no longer impatiently waiting for a letter to appear through my door with a date on it. I’ll only get one of those when my consultant would like to see me again, which should be sometime within the next three months. I may have to have these injections again.. Throughout all the pain of having them done.. I just hope that I can say that it was all worth it, but for now, we’ll just have to wait and see.

I’m also going to introduce a pain rating scale, which I will insert at the end of every post, and comment on where abouts on the scale I feel I am on that day. This scale is fantastic, and it certainly puts it into words, and visualises exactly how I’m feeling and how my pain is affecting me on that day.

It’s important to note that my daily pain has NEVER gone below a 4 on this scale. EVER. As far a I can remember anyway. So I’m hoping that I can get below that with the procedure that I’ve just had done.

I would say today, that I am actually quite low for me, but that maybe because I’m stiff as a board and actually haven’t moved much today. None the less, I’m going to end this post here by saying that right now I feel like my pain is a 5 on this scale.

Until next time.

Pain Rating: 5

Pain Rating

Opening post – 12/07/14 3:37am

First off, I suppose I should introduce myself a little.

My name is Jake Gorton, and this blog is my day-to-day diary of what it is like to be in pain.

I’m not actually quite sure why I’m doing this to be honest, it appears that perhaps people just don’t know enough about illnesses that they can not see, or perhaps their understanding of such things, isn’t as good as it should be.

I myself, suffer from a couple of illnesses that can not be cured, and instead, can only be ‘managed’ for the rest of my life.

I say ‘managed’ because whilst I do have full faith in the United Kingdoms healthcare, it does sometimes seem that they’re… yanno… playing me along?

Thinking about it, I can kind of see why.

I’m 20 years old, and I suffer from a condition known as Ankylosing Spondylitis. For those of you that don’t know… In layman’s terms… My bones within my pelvis and spine are fusing / have fused, together. Alongside that, I also have Chronic Pain Disease, a recently certified disease which in my case, is situated in my spinal cord. More specifically, the nerves within said spinal cord. These nerves have been damaged, at some point within my life, and these nerves have took it upon themselves to remember the damage and the pain which was inflicted by said damage, and remind me of it everyday via, well… the experience of Chronic Pain.

As I sit here now, I’m comfortable. I don’t want to move, because if I do two things will happen.

Firstly, I’ll wake up the other half, and whilst sometimes nice, she needs her sleep more than I do.

And secondly, I’ll be in pain, infact, I’ll be in even more pain than I’m in now and as I’m writing this, I can feel the pain in my neck. Therefore, I may have to move soon, and this is how my struggle starts.

This isn’t necessarily meant for anything but a personal diary. I’ve wanted to do this for a while, and in fact, the missus suggested it not too long ago but suggested a journal instead. I thought this would be a slightly easier option and perhaps could be shared and viewed by people interested in what my conditions are, and what it’s like to live with them on a daily basis.

It is hopefully going to be used to track my own personal progress, development, and also see if I can find a pattern between my flare ups and ‘normal’ times.

We shall hopefully see. I just hope I can stick to it this time!