Sunday, December 13, 2015

Blood patch

Well, I guess I spoke too soon yesterday about Jerry being better. After I'd scheduled yesterday's post, and we were just talking about whether to go to the party, Jerry had another horrible headache--the worst one yet. It was another spinal headache from the spinal tap he'd had on Wednesday. When we went to the emergency room on Thursday for the spinal headaches, the doctor told us that if they didn't stop on their own by Monday, to go back in there and get a "blood patch". Well, yesterday, the pain was unbearable, so we went back to the ER to hopefully get the blood patch.

Here is the basic idea of what it is (at least how I understood it from what the doctor said): When Jerry got the spinal tap, the hole made from the needle didn't close, and his spinal fluid was leaking out of the space where it belongs (it surrounds the spinal cord and brain). Because of that, the spinal fluid level wasn't able to build back up to what it should have been. Spinal fluid surrounds the brain and acts as a cushion, and without it, the brain doesn't have that "shock absorber".  That's what was causing the horrible headaches.

To fix that, an anesthesiologist can draw blood from the patient's arm, and inject it near the original spinal tap site--the blood will then quickly form a clot over the leak, and the spinal fluid can build back up to a normal level again. When I asked why they don't just do the blood patch immediately after the spinal tap, I was told that ER doctors can do spinal taps (which are used for diagnoses), but they cannot do the blood patch; and usually, an anesthesiologist is not at their beck and call to do a blood patch whenever needed.

Anyway, yesterday evening, Jerry and I spent several hours in the ER again. They ended up admitting him to the hospital so that he could get the blood patch first thing today (and keep his pain under control in the meantime). Once they admitted him, I went home for the night.

I couldn't sleep at all last night, and I got up early to go for a run before heading back to the hospital. It was still dark outside, but because I wanted to go to the hospital early, I decided to go run in the dark. It's something I'd been wanting to do anyway. It was really warm this morning--55 degrees at 6:30! I wore a reflective vest and my super bright headlamp, and headed out for three miles.

It was creepy--there is something different about being outside at night versus in the morning, and I definitely prefer the nighttime. I kept seeing the glow of little eyes, and imagined scary beasts (they ended up being cats, haha). My imagination went crazy with all sorts of scenarios. Next time I run in the dark, I'm going to do it at night, and see if I like it better.

Anyway, I finished the three miles at a pretty slow pace (it felt like I was going much faster, but I think that's because it was dark and harder to gauge my pace). Then I took a quick shower and drove to the hospital. Jerry said his blood patch had been scheduled for 9:00. When they came to take him to the pre-op area, I went downstairs to the lobby and had some decaf coffee while I waited. I was told it would probably be an hour or so.

Jerry sent me a text when he got back to his room, and he was already feeling much better. He still had a mild headache, but within the next hour, it was completely gone (and without using pain meds). His back was slightly sore, but that was normal because of the blood patch. He was discharged at around noon, and was feeling a million times better than he had been over the last five days. The whole way home, I kept asking him, "How's your head?" because I was worried the headache would come back; but it didn't!

He still has to take it easy for a day or two, but the doctor said he should be fine to go back to work on Wednesday. I'm SO relieved! If the blood patch hadn't worked, I didn't know what we were going to do. Thank you all again for all of the thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes for Jerry.

With everything going on over the past several days, I've gotten super far behind on everything from laundry to email. I'm going to try and get caught up tomorrow, so I won't be posting a Motivational Monday post. If you have a submission, please send it anyway, and I will save it for next week!

14 comments:

  1. Thank goodness he is okay! How scary!!!

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  2. Glad that Jerry is home. Hopefully you all get a wonderful night's sleep tonight.

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  3. I had to have a blood patch after my epidural with my third child. I'm glad I did it because my doctor explained that if not, it would take 6 weeks for my headache to subside. My headache was causing me to vomit it was so bad and the blood patch brought near instant relief! Hope all is well now!
    I've been reading your blog for a year now and you've inspired me to give calorie counting another try!

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  4. I'm so glad it worked out for him! I hope you both get some rest in the next couple days. Best wishes

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  5. Katie and Jerry, how incredibly scary for you both! I'm so sorry you've been in so much pain, Jerry and I can't begin to imagine how scary this has been for you Katie.

    Many positive thoughts and wishes are coming your way from Rochester, NY.
    Bridgette

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  6. Katie and Jerry, how incredibly scary for you both! I'm so sorry you've been in so much pain, Jerry and I can't begin to imagine how scary this has been for you Katie.

    Many positive thoughts and wishes are coming your way from Rochester, NY.
    Bridgette

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  7. Ahhh, I had vascular surgery last week and I had to go back to get a blood patch done two days later too. So, I know what he is going through...the procedure is tough, but the pain goes away instantly:) I'm glad it worked for him!!

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  8. Great news! (And I had to laugh at your feeling about running in the dark in the morning because for some reason, I love it! I feel like I have the world to myself, and I figure that by early morning, all of the bad guys and drunks have gone home or passed out LOL.)
    Diane

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  9. I'm glad he was able to get some relief.

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  10. Poor Katie. Poor Jerry. Such an awful time you've both had. I can sure identify with your worry--I'm a champion worrier. It could have been an aneurysm or stroke. So glad he is getting better. I remember after I had to have a C-section for my last son, and the spinal block anesthesia I had an awful headache and had to keep my head lowered so it didn't hurt. Health is so important. You already knew that but this sure reminds you. God Bless you guys.

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  11. I am so sorry you guys had to go through this all! I'm so glad that things are looking up. Poor Jerry!! And you are so strong and supportive; you are very encouraging, Katie!!

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  12. All the best wishes for Jerry, you are so lucky to have the support for each other in all the difficult times! You seem like a great couple.

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  13. So glad the patch worked for Jerry! Hope he continues to feel better!!

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