On Tuesday morning I’m getting a nerve block. A Ganglion Impar Block to be more specific. The pain specialist ordered it during my last visit to the pain clinic for hopefully better pain management. The closer I get to the appointment, the more nervous I become. I know the intention of the procedure is to reduce my pain – although temporarily – but the process that’s been described to me along with the odds that it may not work are starting to play on my nerves.
I have instructions to start fasting at midnight tomorrow night because I will receive full anesthesia as if having a big surgery. Then I will check into the Outpatient/Ambulatory Surgery department at the hospital at 8:30 AM on Tuesday. Once I strip down to nothing but a blue hospital gown and my vitals are recorded, an orderly will wheel me down sterile corridors while making small talk with me about the weather. The destination will be an even more sterile room with scrubbed, masked strangers who will be predictably cheerful as they organize trays of instruments and measure precise quantities of nerve-numbing medicines.
As described, the procedure will require me lie face down on my stomach “with a pillow under the pelvis to help flatten out the lower lumbar spine’s natural curvature. Your lower back and intergluteal cleft [that’s ‘butt crack’ in layman’s terms] will be prepped and draped in a sterile manner before local anesthesia is administered at the point of entry of the needle into your skin. When your skin is adequately anesthetized, the needle will be advanced under fluoroscopy guidance until correct needle placement is obtained. Its correct placement will also be confirmed by administration of contrast dye. Once position is confirmed either a diagnostic block (to determine if your perineal pain is visceral or somatic), or a therapeutic block will be preformed.”
I think the best part of all this will be my lack of consciousness as I lie on that table with my naked butt in the air when they penetrate my tailbone with the needle. With that wondrous image in my mind, my hope is that when I wake up I will have better pain relief. I hope I don’t experience a pain flare up before that relief arrives as the pain specialist has forewarned. I hope I can have a few months of better pain relief before the next wave of intense pain arrives when I have the big surgery at the end of the summer. I know I’m hoping for a lot.
Pat Benatar – Anxiety (Get Nervous)