Tales From A T-Shirt Collector

In about 6 hours I’ll go under anesthesia again…I can’t offer an accurate count due my lack of keeping count. Around 7:10am, I’m scheduled to undergo what’s called a “Medial Branch Block” or “MBB”. I’ll receive a cocktail of anesthesia drugs injected into the nerves running down my spine to the left and right of the spinal cord. These nerves are the ones that provide the sensation in your spine. For example, if you were lifting a 50 lb. bag of dog food…those nerves would tell you to put it down if the weight was too much to handle.

In my situation, the MBB procedure is just a phase of injections to determine if the locations offer a short period of pain relief along the injection sites. If the MBB injections prove effective…the next phase is called “Radio Frequency Ablation” or “RFA”. The same nerve locations from the MBB will now be heated (well…cooked) in order to prevent pain signals in the target areas from ever reaching the brain.

The MBB/RFA procedures must be repeated about every six months…as the nerves heal and the pain sensation returns.

Today, my new pain management doctor (more on that story later) will be injecting the nerves between levels L3 (lumbar) down to S1 (sacral). If the MBB is successful…sometime between 10~14 days later I’ll go back for the RFA procedure.

All of this work is performed using a fluoroscope…kind of like a real-time X-ray. From the time I walk in the door…until I’m wheeled out to our vehicle…an hour has typically ticked along on the clock.

I’m given a little lidocaine and Propofal via IV for a little nap while I’m having needles stuck into my spine. That part I appreciate dearly. I can’t imagine being able to remain still if I was conscious.

My thoughts are on the blessings I have access to this level of medicine. I’m a very blessed man and husband. If not for the incredible amount of work my wife performs…this incredible pain relief mechanism would never exist. I thank you Heather and my God for these blessings.

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