Friday, October 21, 2011

October 21: Day 3

So this has been a great day.

Been doing a lot of this lately
In the morning, I asked about a getting a blood patch to take care of the spinal tap leak that I must have. Dr. Greer told me that it's a very good idea to do a spinal tap and a blood patch at the same time. They really need to check my fluid and make sure that it's clear of leukemia, and they may not be able to do that next week when my blood counts get low. When you don't have platelets to clot nor neutrophils to fight infections, then it's good to avoid even very minor surgery like a spinal tap.

However, he said, that call was not up to him but to the radiology doctor. He said he'd ask.

Later in the morning I saw dry, flaky skin on the side of my nose. Oddly enough, that was really good news for me.

I realized that I had moved from good ol' humid Tennessee weather into arid, microbial-unfriendly hospital air. It's just the sort of environment which would give me sinus headaches after hours of sleeping. Long experience tells me that sinus headaches feel a lot like caffeine headaches which feel a little like low-spinal-fluid headaches. Spinal-fluid headaches, for me, navigate to the back of the head and neck as they get stronger. That doesn't happen with caffeine headaches and certainly not with sinus headaches.

Anyway, the reason that is good news is that I'm pretty sure the early morning headaches are sinus headaches, not spinal tap headaches. This means laying down still relieves the spinal headaches, which I was doubting. I thought I was consigned to having headaches whether I laid down or not.

So, if I get a headache laying down, the treatment is hot water in a cup. Breathe the steam, headache will go away. If I get a headache standing up, lay down.

That will get me through to Monday, which brings us back to what the radiologist said.

The radiologist said he can't do a spinal tap and blood patch at the same time. He said a few days need to pass, and he hopes he can do it Monday. I don't think fast enough to think of asking why Monday's a maybe. I just took that as an answer, as foolish as that is. On Tuesday, they may not be able to do a blood patch.

Oh, if you haven't read already on this blog, a blood patch is where they inject your own blood into or near (I don't know which) the hole from the spinal tap, and the clotting factors in the blood seal the hole.

The problem is that Dr. Greer estimates that by Tuesday or Wednesday my clotting factors will probably be too low to be of much worth.

The sky from Vanderbilt
So Monday would be really good.

Or maybe because I'm doing everything right this time, laying around for hours, the hole (or holes, in case the previous ones haven't healed) will heal up by Monday and there won't be an issue.

Either way, I'm in really good spirits, delighted that I'm not going to be enduring very unpleasant headaches for the next few days.

Anyway, they did the spinal tap this afternoon, in some hope that it would be clear of leukemic cells. I just checked my clinical record, and I don't have those results listed yet. I also forgot to ask when we would know. I'll ask the resident tomorrow morning on rounds. Vanderbilt has a web site for patients to check on their on test results, though not all of them show up. Some don't show up at all, due to being too complicated, and others don't show up until a doctor's review. The spinal tap results do show, but they're either not ready yet or they have to await doctor's review.

On top of the good headache news, I also read through the scrapbook from my 50th birthday. It was only ready a couple weeks ago, and I saved it for when I got in the hospital. I read it this morning, and I'll admit I cried ... a lot. It was, uh ... delightful. Shoot, that's an understatement.

So this has been one of the best days I've had in a long time.

Well, easiest. Dark days are not bad days. You know the scoop ... "All things work together for good ... "


  1. I love you, Shammah! Glad this is going well...keep resting! :)

  2. Your gift of expression does lift me up, every time I've been "with" you, ie, read what you have written.

    The goal may be to provide a sense of first hand expereince, and that is well achieved. But, goal-or-not, your presence in your writting does flame up the embers of Christ's joy in me. I am definetely encouraged when I leave your presence, and more delighted than ever to be part of the Lord's great and gracious family. My prayer is still that you live...and, frankly, that I have access to your life and thought(heart). I am very grateful to have met you. Via internet yet..guess I'll have to change my attitude;I've been quite verbal in the past about the impersonnal culture the internet has ushered into our lives. I'll not say that in the future.

    I know the Lord is blessing you. I'm glad. And rejoice with matter what.

  3. I can't figure out how to post a comment, other than as "anonymous". No secret - My name is Gail Crabtree.

  4. Thank you so much, Gail! Your words encourage me as well.

    I played Little League Baseball with two brothers named Eugene and Charlie Crabtree. Any relation? That was in Taiwan many, many moons ago.