Thursday, October 11, 2007

"I'm only lying here because I lack the strength to stand."

I hate the question "on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst pain of your life, how bad is your pain?" It's so subjective. I mean, I've never given birth, never lost a limb, never broken a bone. . . I know that there are pains out there are are more extreme than any pain I've felt to date. So how on earth do I answer that question? I can't really ever say more than an 8. Even last Wednesday a.k.a. Day #3 of my migraine, with pain pounding so hard on the left side of my head it made me want to cry, I couldn't muster more than an 8 to my neurologist.

Still, she suggested trigger point injections and another injectible medication for the migraine. I said "sign me up" and then she did: 1 tpi in my right shoulder, 2 in my left. And then, it happened. My ears felt clogged, I felt dizzy, sweaty, nauseated - basically not good. I told her I thought I should lay down. She then explained I had had a "vasovagal reaction" and that there is nothing I could have done to prevent it. It's an automatic response, and for me, it's apparently triggered by needles. She asked me if I was done for the day or if I wanted the migraine meds. I asked her where it would be injected, and she said in my butt/hip. I figured I could take it, given my history earlier this year. I was wrong.

The injection stung like crazy, then turned to burning, with the nurse trying to "rub it in" to make it go away sooner. I felt ill and sweaty all over again. I told the nurse "my stomach doesn't feel so good. I need to drink some water." And I proceeded off the table where I had been lying down to get my water bottle - after my doc had just told me that when I have a reaction like the one I had just experienced, I needed to lie down and pull my knees up above my heart to get the blood flow back as soon as possible. So, I collapsed in a chair and it happened all over again - ears clogging, nausea, dizziness, sweating - but this time it was worse. I thought I was going to die. I literally didn't know what was going to happen to me. Then, I passed out.

It's only happened one other time: when I went in for sinus surgery and expected the anesthesia needle in my arm instead of the top of my hand. When they prepped my hand for the needle, I felt dizzy and a little sick, but I attributed this to pre-surgery fasting. And, this was all BEFORE the needle poke.

Mind you, this year, I've had more needle pokes than I can count - what, with two injections of meds in my butt/hip in January, weekly blood draws between January and April, and a blood donation in May. So, my reaction to these 4 pokes was just not expected. And, frankly, it scared the crap out of me!

Apparently, this can be a pretty serious, albeit common, thing. If you have this reaction to needles or injections, it's best to warn your doctor - who hopefully will take you seriously enough to watch you and help you through it.

All I can think is that my body is just not as strong as I thought it was. Today I get a flu shot and, believe me, I have my doubts about how that will go.

[Title quote is from "The Princess Bride"]


Jen said...

that is so funny! not for you i am sure but i am laughing!! I hope you are feeling better though!

Nichole said...

no fair laughing!!! ;)

CaROlInE said...

Okay, you are scaring me. . . I know you have migraine problems and all, but seriously! Are you sure you're alright? I don't like this business of the doctor being all "It happens all the time". . . I'm just not okay with that answer. And I do hope you're very brave for your flu shot!

trina said...

as ur future nurse i'd like to point out that the pain scale IS subjective and whatever the number is taken to mean exactly what u say it is, then used to eval and proceed accordingly to the next step of care based on that # (along w/ other data provided).

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