Thursday, May 5, 2016


I got the results back of the MRI - which, by the way was a form of torture as my nerve was compressed during the entire 20 minutes which seemed like an eternity. So it turns out that I do have a slipped disc. Actually, it is not a herniated disc but rather a protruding disc (slightly between C5 & C6 and more "voluminously" between C6 & C7) which is pressing against my nerves. So I have been prescribed a course of corticoid injections for which I have to present my bum to a nurse every morning for the next couple of weeks. I'm also on anti-inflammatories (Enantyum) and have a follow up appointment with the spinal column specialist at the end of the month. I hope that the combination of the meds and the rehab prod the disc back into its little space and that I can avoid surgery.

It's been a difficult time one way and another. At work there is a dour mood as about 25% of the workforce will be cut in the next couple of weeks: we are just waiting for the axe to drop. If its not you, it might be a friend or someone you count on to be able to do your work. Also, my mum has been in hospital for over two weeks, recovering from (her second) bone fusion in her lower back to conserve the discal space lost to degenerative disc disease* and to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. It's funny that I should have a similar (less serious) problem at the same time as her. When she had her bunions operated I was having problems with mine; she had problems with Morton's Neuroma at the same time as I did. I wonder if I am suffering from some form of maternal stigmata.

Still, when patience is called for, I can be patient, and this is one of those times. My wife gave me a course on Mindfulness for my birthday which requires a fairly serious commitment (I am meditating for almost an hour every morning). I have to say I don't feel like taking anything else on right now, but I think it is helping. It's time to look after mind and body.

I got a new chair at work, which is much better for my back than the previous piece of crap. I had to go through some bureaucracy to get assigned one and, by a strange coincidence, the whole floor got given a new ergonomic chair (worth about 700 euros) the day before. This at a time when we are wondering whether we will be moved to another office or shipped out of here altogether. Unfortunately I found this chair (a Steelcase "Think") to be worse than the chair I had before, as it is impossible to block in an upright position, so you end up leaning backwards. Looking around the room, not a single person is sitting with good posture: some are leaning back with their necks craning forward, while others are slumped down in the chair as if they were watching the TV. I had to make an extra special fuss to get assigned one of the other orthopedic chairs - a Karnapps - which I think is much better.

I mentioned in my previous post that I had ordered a "Shoulders Back" brace to try to help with my posture. It hasn't arrived yet due to a peculiar limitation in Spain whereby individuals are not allowed to take delivery any item that is classified as "for medical use" - even if it is just a piece of cloth - instead, you have to order through a pharmacy. As I understand it, the pharmacies in Spain operate under a slightly communist regime in that you can only open a pharmacy where there was one before or, in rare cases, if the local government decides there is enough demand to open a new one. So, in practice, they get handed down through families and are a bit of a monopoly. Once I get my money back for the two failed attempts so far, I'll have it delivered to the UK instead.

You may remember that I bought a little device - the Lumo Lift - some time ago, before the problems with the pinched nerve were noticeable. This gadget buzzes every time you slump in your chair or while standing. I've just realized that the pinched nerve has exactly the same function, although it is a good deal more effective: whenever I lean forward or assume a bad posture, my thumb and first two fingers on my left hand go to sleep and I get referred pain in the triceps and the lats. It is doing wonders for my posture, I can thoroughly recommend it. The only difference is that I can decide not to wear the Lumo Lift but I can't turn off the pinched nerve just yet.

Having said that, the steriods (corticoids) I am taking are already having a noticeable effect. On the plus side, the symptoms from the pinched nerve have retreated to where they were 2-3 weeks ago after just one injection. On the minus side, I was totally hyper last night (and in fact, still am this morning) and only slept 3 hours. The best (or worst) thing about it is that I don't even feel tired. I feel almost euphoric, like running a marathon which, of course wouldn't be a good idea right now.

* I discovered in that place of all true knowledge more commonly known as the internet, that "degenerative disc disease" is neither degenerative - in the sense that there is no reason why the discs will necessary degenerate further - nor is it a disease. It just means that your discs have degenerated, but you already knew that.

No comments:

Post a Comment