Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Art of Waiting

Sometimes I feel like a border collie.  Anxious to work.  Does that sound a little crazy? 

Sitting around - taking it easy - being careful - not bending over (ha!) - walking only on flat ground (ha!) - not jogging - not lifting much of anything - sleeping only on my right side....all the physical therapy rules.... it just isn't much fun.  Waiting for my back to get better makes me imagine what it might be like for Riff to sit at the startline of an agility course, waiting for my "Okay." 

Let's go!  Let's go!  Let's go!  Let's go!  Let's go!  Let's go!  Let's go!  

So I went ahead and had an epidural spinal injection on Thursday afternoon.  I purposefully stayed somewhat ignorant about the procedure, because looking stuff up on the Internet (particularly medical stuff) can be Really Scary.  And I hate needles.  The doctor and my physical therapist thought it would be good for me.  My only question was: "Can I take Ativan for it?" 

Ativan is like Valium.  I've heard that some agility folks take Valium to dull the nervousness they feel at a trial, so that they can run their dogs better.  Which is fine with me - I'm a "whatever works" kind of girl - but I wouldn't take it, because I like adrenaline.  But it's not good to be "nervously excited" and "ready to run" when you're supposed to lay perfectly still for a shot in the spine.  So I dug around in the medicine cabinet and found an old bottle of the Ativan my husband needed a few years ago.  It had an expiration date of 2006...but beggars can't be choosers.

The whole thing - from Outpatient Surgery registration to discharge instructions - took less than three hours.  I felt a little floaty going in.  (Perfect!)  I forgot to ask if I could take a cellphone picture of the x-ray machine they used to guide the needle....oops....but I remember seeing a big gray machine off to the side, with a young lady at some sort of control panel.  The doctor spoke to her throughout the procedure, saying things like "A little more to the right..."      I never wanted to see the needle (pretty sure it was the approximate size of the Empire State Building), so I avoided looking at all trays, and kept my eyes closed during the procedure.   Basically, they shot some Lidocaine and Prednisone directly into my back. 

Like your average cold medication, this does not cure the problem.  It only masks the symptoms.   It's designed to "allow the patient to more quickly improve her spinal condition with physical therapy and an exercise program."  And it doesn't work for everybody.  I think the success rate is around 50% or so. 

Happily, I already feel better.  The nerve pain shooting down my leg has almost disappeared.  My back still feels anywhere from aggravated to awful, depending on how I treat it, but it's such a relief to have the leg feel better!  Now I need to get it back into shape.  My right thigh is now noticeably smaller than my left.  Noticeable to me, anyway. 

They say the effects of the shot can last anywhere from a few days to a year or longer.  I vote for 10 years!  I was instructed to avoid physical therapy exercise for one week, even if I feel well.  But right now feels like a great time to exercise!  But NO.  Okay, I understand.  I'll be good.
I started a new journal:

....and ordered a few books:
NERVE: POISE UNDER PRESSURE....  by Taylor Clark.  (It's supposed to be both helpful and funny.)

WITH WINNING IN MIND  by Lanny Bassham  (We do like to win - hopefully with a calm, happy, fun attitude.)

(Because I want to see if there's anything there that I can combine with the Derrett system that might make running agility easier on my back and knees.  And two books by the same author are often better than one.)

...and I'm researching phrases like "pre-cue" and "off arm" and "forward motion front cross."  So much to learn. 

Ever onward!

1 comment:

vici whisner said...

Hey! I'm so glad you got the shot. I sure hope that it allows you to move around, which will allow you to start to build up your core to prevent this in the future.

I know that I spent almost 3 months in constant pain for my wrist. They FINALLY gave me a shot of cortezone and within 3 days the pain was much less. Within a week, it was gone...but all the stuff around my wrist was incredibly weak and I've been working at building the strength back.

You will too. I'm thinking of you and hoping to see you at trials later in the summer! :)V

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