Monday, 22 January 2018

Pain Clinic - Injection Time

This afternoon I had my spinal 'Trigger Point Injections' appointment with the Pain Clinic. I had them from my T-spine (middle of the back)  upwards and into my shoulders as this has been the most painful part for me in terms of my back and spine. I asked about hip injections but that's not something they offer but when I next have a 1:1 appointment I'm going to ask them if they can refer me for them to somewhere that offers them such as the hospital or my team in London.

Trigger Point Injections are injections of local anaesthetic and steroids into painful muscles. They work to give relief from painful or tight muscles that irritate the nerves surrounding them which causes pain in that area.*

I don't particularly find the local pain clinic helpful. I find them a bit too generic and a bit wishy-washy when it comes to the services they offer in the 1:1 sessions. The other week I emailed Dr Kazkaz, my rheumatologist to see if she could recommend a more specialised pain clinic as an in between until I'm well enough for the programme at Stanmore so I'm waiting to hear back from her on that and I'm also planning on emailing Professor Edwards (my neurologist) and asking him about getting a referral to more specialised pain clinic too.

Going back to today TASL (Thames Ambulance Service) picked me up on time today for a change and as usual the crew where very helpful. I was in the middle of packing my bag when they rocked up (normally they arrive late so they look me by surprise). 

Once I got to the medical centre I wasn't waiting too long to be seen and the staff where great. The injections was slightly painful as local anaesthetic doesn't have much affect on me unfortunately but I just did some deep breathing exercises and it was my third round of injections so I was familiar with the procedure and this time I didn't faint which was a bonus. The nurse who was chaperoning me was also lovely and kept chatting to me to keep me in the room. They also managed to do the injections whist I sat in my wheelchair so that helped not having to do all the moving and handling malarky. My blood pressure went a bit low and I went a little light headed but after a cup of Lucozade it subsided. I've not had injections in my shoulder before, only my back but they helped before so hopefully they will give my shoulders some relief too. 

One difficult part of the appointment was when one of the receptionist asked me why I was in a wheelchair (having seen me walking with crutches in the past); I find this a hard question for a multitude of reasons, firstly because its not a straight answer like 'I was in a car accident' which isn't an easy answer in itself anyway, and secondly because my mobility changes more than I can explain even to myself. Part of me wanted to flash her my 'different mobility aids' Stickman Communication © card at her but her tone of voice caught me, as if she demanded and explanation from me as though 'why aren't you walking today because I know you can' sort of way. I simply gave the best explanation that I could, that my "I have a neurological disorder and my brain doesn't send messages to my legs to walk properly so I lose my balance more and I get functional paralysis and also having the spinal injections I knew I would be in a lot of pain afterwards". 

I then called TASL to let them know I was ready to go home - I explained that I was in pain after having some spinal injections and that I have daily seizures and incontinence and wanted to know how long it would be before I got picked up, the call handler checked with the control room and said if no one came in the next hour to call back. My past two trips with TASL, well the last trip I waited 3 hrs but my seizures started and instead of going home I ended up in an 999 ambulance and took a trip to A&E and the time before that I waited 4 hrs to go home and as a result I made a complaint. After an hour and just before I was about to call TASL the crew that brought me turned up, now I wasn't sure whether that was a) a coincidence, b) a result of my current complaint about TASL or c) my explanation of why I needed to get home as soon as possible. The TASL crews are brilliant, letting me take the lead when I need assistance, helping me put on my coat; even making me cups of tea - it's more the bureaucracy that gets to me and the staff too. So when I did make my complaint I did highlight how the TASL crews themselves I have no fault with what-so-ever. I'd also be pretty stuck without the service and find it incredibly difficult to make it to my appointments without them. I have whats called a double crew - so I have one person driving; then I have someone sat in the back with me should I faint or have a seizure etc. Its written in my notes to keep me talking as if I go quiet it means I'm about to have a seizure!

Anyway, I'm home now, a little sore with a cup of tea beside me and my nice scented heat pack that I got for Christmas around my neck which is very soothing and relaxing. My plan for the evening is just to rest, maybe get some letter writing done, have tea, a nice hot bath and then watch Silent Witness at 9pm. 

And hopefully there will be some guest posts approving soon on my blog! I'm really enjoying blogging at the moment; just sharing the mundaneness of life with complex chronic illness and all the other non-medical bit in-between.

A Guide to Trigger Point Injections

Gratitude list:

  • The NHS
  • TASL and the crew that assisted me today
  • The injections that will hopefully give me some pain relief
  • My wheelchair 
  • Not having to wait long to go home
  • Being well enough to have a hot bath