Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Let's do shots! (cortisone shots)

My day started off with a field trip up to UMass Memorial in Worcester, MA for a cortisone injection in my hip socket.  The hope is that this will provide me with some relief while I wait for surgery, and although I was looking forward to the temporary relief, I knew there was a good chance there would be some initial pain.  This is the same hospital where my surgery will take place, so it was a nice little dry run to scope out the hospital.  I’m glad I got this chance too, because I realized that the hospital isn’t very convenient for people that have trouble walking.  Part of the problem was parking in the parking garage, which had a series of stairways, elevators, and odd annexes to navigate through to get into the hospital.  For the surgery I’m splurging for the valet service, which will give me straighter access to the building.
                I walked into the Radiology waiting room at precisely 8:45 (the time of my appointment) and was immediately escorted into the back room.  The room resembled an ER, with a long row of mini-rooms separated by individual curtains.  There were probably 10 of these mini-rooms on each side; each occupied by someone waiting for a procedure or recovering from one.  As I waited in my little curtain area, I had to listen to the lady in the next room over who I’m guessing had spent a good 50 or 60 years cozying up with the Marlboro Man.  Her voice was deep and jagged, and she coughed and wheezed incessantly.  I had to listen as she responded to the list of potential allergies, pointing out that she didn’t know if she had a shellfish allergy.  It was a strange conversation, and I couldn’t help but wonder how a lady this “mature” could go through life (especially in Massachusetts) without knowing if she had a shellfish allergy.  After the nurse left, I heard Mrs. Crab repeatedly swear under her wheezy breath, and then apparently cough/sneeze/gag up something putrid.  She then swore some more when she realized there were no tissues in her little mini-room. 
                The nurse left Mrs. Crab and came into my room to take vitals.  She seemed so relieved that I didn’t have any allergies, issues, or smoke breath.  She took my vitals and expressed outright joy, saying “wow, you don’t get better than that!”  Well, you do get better than that in my opinion, but I’m guessing she spends a lot more time with people like Mrs. Crab than with runners.  But for the record, blood pressure was 120/65, pulse was 60, oxygenation was 100%.  She left me a johnny to change into, and instructed me to change out of my clothes, leaving just my bra, underwear, and socks on.  I did as told, but as usual I struggled with the Johnny.  One-size-fits-all johnnies don’t generally work out too well for me since I’m shorter than the average person, and judging by Mrs. Crab next door, probably a bit narrower than most too.  I tied it as tight as possible but it wouldn’t stay in place.  I started panicking about how I would navigate past all the other patients into the treatment room without giving everyone a show.
                A few minutes later another nurse showed up to ask some additional questions, and when she noticed it was a hip injection, she told me I would need to remove my underwear as well.  I balked at the thought of this.  I explained that the Johnny didn’t fit me very well, and I refused to walk out in public with my bare ass hanging out.  She got a good chuckle out of my honesty, and gave me a second Johnny to wear like a coat.  All wrapped up like a sushi roll, I ambled over to the treatment room with my dignity intact.
                In the treatment room I met the doctor, who was a very good looking man (what is it with movie star looking doctors at this hospital?) and we went over the procedure.  He said I would expect to be in a lot less pain than the last injection I had back in May, which was done in conjunction with an arthrogram.  There were three people assisting him and I was a little surprised at the amount of activity in the room.  He said it was possible that I might have some luck with this injection, but he looked at my films and there’s no getting around it:  I need surgery.  He didn’t have to tell me twice, but it was kind of comforting getting another opinion.  We talked about how I got this injury, and he gave me some interesting information.  In looking at my films, he said that I may have injured it from that one specific accident, but that my hip had it coming and this accident probably just sped up this tear.  I was a little surprised to hear that, but it did make sense since I was told I have those bony hooks (FAI) that create tears.  That leads me to question the condition of my other hip, so I’m going to try to remember to ask the surgeon when I see him, if I can talk to him without drooling.
                The doctor was right.  The injection was still painful, but not nearly the extent of the arthrogram I had in May.  Still, it was no walk in the park, and my post-treatment vitals showed my blood pressure spiked up to 131/84, and pulse was in the 50's. I was able to walk relatively normally after the procedure, although I opted for the elevators to get back to my car afterwards.  My mother drove me home from the hospital, since I couldn’t drive because of the numbness, and I was ok until I tried getting out of the car.  I must have stiffened up a lot in the car, and experienced a lot of pain walking into my house.  For the rest of the day I spent a lot of time sitting in the recliner and trying not to move too much. 

Very unflattering photo of me working this afternoon from the recliner. Notice I haven't given up the running socks!

Tonight I seem a little more comfortable and I’m walking a little better.  I’m hoping that by tomorrow the injection pain will be over and I’ll be experiencing the benefits of the cortisone!  I have a fun camping trip planned for this weekend and I’ll be a real drag if I’m hobbling around on crutches!

One final thought…
Today is September 28.  That means my surgery is ONE MONTH away!
One of my goals on my 5 week plan was to exploit this injury for personal gain.  I’m proud to say this is coming along nicely!
Andrew is painting the family room for me!
Mom made me dinner and cleaned up after!

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