Back from a day at the VA

Wait. Wait. Wait some more. Then wait again. That about sums up my day at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Hospital in Houston. I rode a VA van there to and from Beaumont this morning, a 90-minute trip one way. Then I waited 90 minutes for my first appointment and 2 hours for my second one. There is a really funny story about my first appointment, but unfortunately, I am not quite brave enough to tell it yet. Maybe I will disclose it in “eight feet deep the book.”

I made my initial visit to the pain management clinic this afternoon. A couple of months ago, I was diagnosed with two bulging discs in the C-spine/T-1-spine. A subsequent visit to a specialist revealed that the doctors did not want to operate unless I developed some serious complications from the disc and stenosis. This is because I had two previous C-spine surgeries, the last being a fusion with a piece of my hip bone and metal plate screwed onto my spine. “There just wasn’t much to work with,” was how the specialist put it, referring to my condition being relatively inoperable.

So I was referred to a pain management specialist. What they propose doing is a procedure in which I will be given a nerve root block in my C-spine. They inject the nerves with cortisone after giving me some, hopefully, good drugs. The pain specialist said when the epidural steroid injections work, they usually last about three months. I guess I will do it. It doesn’t look like I have a whole lot of choices about it. Maybe I can get them to take pictures during the procedure and I will share it with you. There, you might see me with a death grip on some nurse’s arm when they shoot me in the neck with a syringe. You know, party photos.

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