Monday, May 03, 2004

Health, cont'd

Every doctor, nurse, and paramedic at the hospital on Wednesday night asked me to rate the pain of my headache on a scale of 1 to 10. When I got in, it was around 7, it dropped to about a 3 after the percocet kicked in. As the resident was prepping me for the spinal tap, I turned the tables and asked how much the procedure would hurt. He assured me that I would feel no pain, just pressure. He was right.

What he wasn't entirely clear about was the lingering effects over the subsequent days. He mentioned that I'd be in some pain and by Saturday I was pleasantly surprised that I felt (and still feel) no pain around the spot where the procedure was done. Some time later on Saturday, it occurred to me that since the headaches and neck aches I was experiencing weren't identical to the initial nasty headache, maybe it was related to the extraction of cerebrospinal fluid. Discussions ensued and a google search for "lumbar puncture neck pain" found this description of the procedure with these notes about side effects:

You may experience side effects caused by the removal of some of your cerebrospinal fluid. The most common side effect is a headache that persists for several hours or up to several days. Symptoms that may accompany a headache include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or tightness in the shoulders, base of the neck, or lower back.
(emphasis added) A doctor in my neighborhood confirmed that this sort of headache can last four days (or more!). As of Monday morning, I can remain upright for about an hour and a half before I need to rest my neck again. I see my doctor later today. We'll see what he recommends.

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