This month is Health Activist Writers Month Challenge, put on my WEGO Health. I’m getting a really late start, and since I’m having surgery on Tuesday, I probably won’t get many of the prompts done, but I thought I’d try to complete as many as possible.
I wrote the following story about the day I had to have my first lumbar puncture. It was a challenging day to say the least. I got through it because I researched it, and I trusted my doctor. Now, I’m not saying to put all of your trust in just any old doctor. This doctor had been seeing me for a while and deserved my trust. Not only did the research and the trust of my doctor get me through this challenge, but he support of my husband helped me so much. He was there with me every step of the way. Having that kind of support really helped me through this challenge. It also helps me to think about others who are going through the same thing I am at the same time and send out love and compassion to all of them, this will include myself.
This story was written about a procedure I had on November 3, 2010.
Wendy sat in the waiting room, waiting for her name to be called, waiting for another test, waiting for one of the scariest procedures she could think of having done. Her husband tried to make small talk, and he held her hand. She knew how lucky she was to always have him by her side, he always made things better just by being there. Could he possibly know how terrified she was? She wondered if she could be as understanding and supportive if the circumstances were reversed? Could she be so selfless? Could she simply do what was right? For him, she thought she could do anything.
Looking around the room, Wendy wondered how many people were going to have the same test she was having? How many people were unsung heroes like her husband? How many were there because they felt they had to be?
“We want to do a lumbar puncture.”, the doctor had said. “We have found that some patients with your symptoms have abnormal cerebrospinal fluid pressure.”
“Alright,” she said. Why did she believe this doctor so much? He is a specialist in vestibular problems, but it was more than that, he gave the impression that he really cared. She knew deep inside that he would never ask her to do anything he would not do if their situations were reversed. She quietly asked, “Is it painful?”
“A Lumbar Puncture is a Spinal Tap. However, your procedure will be done under a live CT scan, and you will be numbed. It is not scary like it used to be. Not when it’s done under such a controlled environment.”
The only words that Wendy heard were, Spinal Tap. When she was a small child she was scheduled to have a spinal tap, but the doctors decided to try different testing to see if they could find out the answers they needed without putting a small child though such a “painful” procedure.
This memory came flooding back. She could taste the bile in the back of her throat, the tears forming that she refused to let fall, she would not show the terror she was experiencing. She nodded, as the doctor spoke, hopefully at the proper times. After leaving the exam room and making the appointment, she couldn’t make it the car fast enough. She broke down.
She had been through so much this past year. The vertigo attacks often lasting hours upon hours, many days each week. The surgery on her right ear that helped the vertigo caused by that ear, but now the left ear was causing just as much trouble. The profound hearing loss. She’d simply lost so much, would this test help? Could it actually provide any answers? What if she refused? Could they do something else?
Her husband patiently listened, and told her, “You can always change your mind. Just give it a few days and see how you feel about it. Do more research. I know you. You don’t want to make a decision based on emotions, you will want to find out more, much more, before making that kind of decision.”
Of course he was right. A spinal tap! The fear stayed knotted in her stomach for days. She read as much as she could about a lumbar puncture performed under a CT scan. She also found out as much as she could about the doctor who was going to do the lumbar puncture. She found that a lumbar puncture preformed as hers was scheduled should not be a painful or dangerous procedure. She also found that the doctor performing the procedure was very highly respected.
She also found that many times a lumbar puncture is performed just like they always have been. This brought back all the fear. The poor patients that must undergo this test. It’s painful, it’s scary, and it’s dangerous; but she understood sometimes people cannot have a CT scan but need to have the procedure done, or it has to be done quickly. Relief swam over her knowing she would not have to undergo that type of procedure. She silently sent out love and compassion to all who were having a lumbar puncture that day.
“Wendy?’ Her husband pulled her from her thoughts….. “They’re ready for you.”