I decided we’ll take a short interlude in the Wedding Daze trilogy to visit today’s bone marrow trephine and aspirate. This one differed from my previous two in three ways:
I had a definite appointment on the horizon as opposed to being in hospital and knowing one would happen but having a ‘surprise – we’ll do it know’ non-appointment,
Having spent quite of lot of time at the day unit over the past months I’d seen/heard a fair bit in relation to bone marrow biopsies (BMB) – extreme nervousness, crying, one patient stopping part way through, a lot of tranquilisers requested and one time tranquilisers in conjunction with the bone marrow transplant co-ordinator travelling down three floors to carry it out, and
I felt it.
In light of my other two being only unpleasant scrapping sensation and nothing I decided the best way to distract my thoughts away from ‘Sooner or later one is going to really hurt’ was to drive myself there. Yes that’s right, take B’s car to a busy city centre for the first time ever (on purpose, I once skirted it my accident when I missed a turn off for the motorway) and park it possibly on a multi-storey car park if there were no spaces left on the nice flat car park we had seen several weeks ago. This car park was 10 minutes walk from the hospital but you can’t have everything. Look at it this way, I figured this would be a bigger worry than the BMB, and it was except it added to it rather than replaced it. Plus whereas B has never been with me for a BMB and has no comprehension that to some people they can be excruciating so he wouldn’t have worried, he had no trouble at all comprehended me and his precious car in Liverpool city centre – so overall it added a whole new layer of tenseness.
However in the end, and after B offering to take me himself and probably having to restrain himself from calling round at the neighbours to see if they were available, it came down to a matter of pride. I once read about my star sign (Aries) that we see the saying ‘Pride goes before a fall’ as ‘When your pride goes you fall’ and certainly this is the way I felt this morning. Thousands of people drive into Liverpool every day, that said – not in B’s car – why shouldn’t I.
So I got a grip and got in the car with the little map from Google Maps, something crafty for my half hour lie down after the BMB and a Linkin Park Hybrid Theory CD and off we went. And of course it was fine – well okay it took about five miles before the fineness of it kicked in but it was so fine that I found the car park with no trouble and even reversed into the parking space perfectly – this being a bit of an Achilles heel at the best of times.
I may have said before B is usually in bed by 9:00, 9:30 at the latest. As I was walking up to the Royal at 10:10 my mobile rang. It was B checking I had got there okay – yeah right ‘I’ – okay, he did say that but it was swiftly followed by ‘Where did you park?’
I arrived at the day unit and after some light banter we got down to business. The anaesthetic going in was fine but I felt a sharpness from the aspirate and a bit of a shooting pain down my buttock which was okay but which I pointed out. I think just because this was a new to me sensation. Then we got down to the trephine bit (which is the actual marrow sample). I did feel this but the nurse clinician counted down from five to zero on both occasions of pain, so overall there were 10 seconds of pain and it wasn’t that bad and stopped straight away when she stopped tweaking. Unlike last time the aspirate sample was a good one and the trephine sample looked like a large white and red rat poo in the fluid. It’s really tiny considering. Overall it should take 20 minutes but felt way quicker than this possibly because the nurse was really chatty and funny. Having experienced pain this time I won’t be concerned about next time – I know that sounds odd but it’s not the thought of pain so much as the thought of unknown pain.
While I was lying on my back for the next half hour I mentioned the pain I’d had (and still do a bit) in my shoulder region. I thought about not bothering but since I was there any way I thought I might as well get peace of mind. While I waited for a doctor a guy came in for a BMB which took place on the bed next to me. Now I thought I’d whinged by saying that I felt the aspirate, but I hadn’t whinged during the trephine however ‘next bed guy’ probably frightened seagulls off the building’s roof four floors up. He started at the anaesthetic going in and it just got worse. The doctor came to see me and we both had to raise our voices to be heard. At one point she stopped and said it sounded like a slaughter house. And after it all what did he tell the nurse – wild guess anyone? I’d offer a prize but I’m thinking you won’t get it right. He said ‘That was fantastic.’ I can only think he had some sort of kinky tendency and he did enjoy the soup and sandwich he got after.
So back to me and my shoulder. I said that my concern was that it was referred pain from the loosening at the vertebra at C6. She didn’t however think this was the case and after various questions and movement/strength tests and discussion with a more senior doc I got to have an x-ray on my shoulder and then go home. Well I say AN x-ray it turned out to be five. One straight on and then four goes to get the scapula – apparently it’s really hard to get and isn’t requested that much and every radiographer has their own ideas on the best position of the body and arm to get the best shot. So although I missed my Armchair Yoga as it was three by the time I got home I did get a bit of a work out in the x-ray department and apparently just in case you need a scapula x-ray it’s best to muscle up because muscular men produce the best shots as the muscles push the bone out! So go pump some iron just in case.
I’m a wimp – I’d have been screaming the place down!!
Okay, if I ever have another BMB (doubtful), I’m coming to Liverpool!
Here in Florence you just get the shot of anesthetic, no pain killers or anything else; then, after the procedure (which could be done by an intern…That happened to me once…never again!), you just have to get up and leave. No funny nurses, no smiles…you aren’t offered anything, not even a lollipop.
The first time, I drove to the hospital myself, but I was in such pain afterward that I barely made it home. Nobody had warned me it might hurt (I’m with you on that one: I’d rather have known it was going to hurt). Nobody had suggested that I ice the area, so I limped for about a week. Don’t ever do that again, Paula! Get someone to drive you. Of course, I hope there won’t be the need for another BMB…for either of us! 🙂
I know nothing…….. Thank goodness. 😉
FL has had two BMPs. the first I heard from behind a curtain – as in ” I heard the whirring and the grinding” but not a sound from him because he was completely zonked on morphine that day. The second time, he tried to get off the elevated couch halfway through because he misunderstood the very-pregnant Italian doctor and nearly knocked her over and sent the sample trolley spinning into the corner. As a result it was a failed sample. They haven’t tried again since then! I think thye may be an acquired taste. Not mine that’s for sure.
Never have had to experience this, but I’m with you, not knowing about the levels of pain is far more anxiety producing that having a sense of what it might be… so brave you are! Not about the BMB, but driving into Liverpool!!!!