Needle Fiddle Faddle

Until my epidural, needles held no fear for me, but trying to stay completely still whilst being racked by labour pains is no laughing matter. I swore off needles for life, there and then. Ha! Now it seems needles feature quite a lot in my life, another side-effect, brought to me courtesy of MS and yesterday I was off to the surgery for another blood test.

Last year, on the basis of a suspect MRI, I was whisked off for a lumbar puncture. People are divided about these. Some have great experiences and sail through them, tutting loudly and wondering what all the fuss is about at us lot who scream their way through them. It wasn’t the doctor’s fault that he’d never done one before. The needle (huge, vile thing) kept hitting bone. No words could possibly begin to describe the pain.

Over an hour later, I loosened the grip on my mum’s hand, tears pouring down my face, in absolute agony. And if I thought that was horrific enough, worse was to come. The skull-crushing  lumbar puncture headache. It lasted a week. It literally (and I don’t use that word lightly), felt like my brain was being squeezed. Probably the most painful experience of my life.

This summer, whilst in hospital having Alemtuzumab treatment for MS, I had a cannula inserted and it was to stay in my hand for a week. A week!! I managed four days until it fell off in the shower, recreating a massacre scene, blood spurting everywhere. As part of the monitoring process, I have to have a full blood count taken every month for five years, plus I’m due my second and hopefully last dose of Alemtuzumab next year.

I’m an old hand at this now –  every time I see a doctor or nurse, I automatically roll up my sleeve.  Is it slightly sad though,  to be disappointed not to get a sticker for being so brave?

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4 thoughts on “Needle Fiddle Faddle

  1. Sue says:

    I actually feel a bit queasy at the thought of your l.p. it sounds horrendously awful compared to mine which just made me feel a bit queasy. I was lucky he had done quite a few before which did make it easier for me to stay still which in turn made it easier for him. I didn’t have much of a headache either so I reckon I was lucky – well sort of, obviously it would have been better not to have one at all!
    I did get the most awful panic attack that evening which was utterly horrible, it’s the first and only one I have ever had, dear god I thought the world was coming to an end!
    I don’t like the sound of that thing in your hand, it sounds pretty nasty to have stuck in there, the flesh is quite thin there too.
    You do indeed deserve a sticker! ♥

  2. stumbling in flats says:

    Hi Sue!

    Thank you for your comment – maybe they should make special stickers for brave MSers, lol.

    Yup, lp was pretty horrendous. An experience never ever to be repeated!! Am glad yours was a bit better. Panic attack sounds a bit scary though, touch wood, I’ve not had one (yet!).

    One good thing about the lp headache though – I never complain about headaches now. If you’ve had an lp one, anything else is a walk in the park!!

  3. Sian says:

    The lp headache experience was one I’m very familiar with – never ever known anything like it. And like you it went on and on for just over a week. Vile.
    I too share your dread of the needle now.
    Whenever I have to have a canula, I insist (despite some medics trying to convince me otherwise – it’s got to be in me for days not them so it’s going where I want it!) on it being put in my arm just above the wrist joint on the top of the arm to stop it being caught on everything which seems to happen when it’s put in on the back of the hand – might be worth considering?
    Hope you are doing OK.
    Sian x

  4. stumbling in flats says:

    Hi Sian,

    Isn’t the lp headache just indescribable?? I never thought of asking them to put the cannula into the arm – have already made a note for next summer when I have to go back to hospital. The skin is so thin on my hands that it hurt like hell, even just picking up a book or eating.

    I’m doing well – MS nurse said I was having a pseudo-relapse brought on by all the recent stress (gah!). She said it was highly unlikely to have a relapse so soon after having Alemtuzumab, so that’s excellent news.

    More importantly, hope you’re well on your way to recovery in time for Christmas!

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