Stabbed in the Back (Part One) – The Ongoing Medical Saga

“On a Mish” #348 Stabbed in the Back – Part One. Southern Cross Radiology. Christchurch City. Canterbury. Aotearoa. 30.9.2022. The title of this story may give the appearance that I have had a friend betray me or I was attacked from behind with a sharp weapon. Luckily none of the above has happened, but on a chilly day at the end of September I did make my way into Christchurch to have pointy things plunged into my back…

Along with the ongoing pain I have also had to suffer with the inconvenience of being injured during the worst global pandemic in recent history. The collapse of the health system under the stress of such terrible times has meant my recovery has been frustratingly slow. Over the last four months I have had several scans (CT, Ultrasound & MRI) and each time I have gone into the hospital I have been able to feel the tension amongst the tired staff who have been stretched to their limits. I have a lot of respect for all of the hard working medical people at the moment, times are tough and they are soldiering on!

Recently I have had the opportunity to get into the private health system after finally being able to see a chronic back and hip pain specialist. Straight away I could tell my recovery progress was going to speed up with the fact that I was immediately booked in for work on my spine. Along with my unique ‘Chiller Door’ hip injury, I also have a debilitating back condition known as ‘Codfish Vertebrae’. Basically my vertebrae are all squishing together leaving very little room for the disks between. The MRI on my lumbar spine not only revealed how bad my vertebrae had got but it also revealed multiple bulges protruding from several disks. After seeing this the doctor recommended having steroid injections into the affected disks and after such a long time without action I didn’t hesitate and immediately agreed to the procedure. So on a chilly day at the end of September I headed into town to be stabbed in the back multiple times.

After chucking on the hospital robe I waited for the doctor to call me into the x-ray room. To locate the places to inject the steroids the doctor has to line up the spot with the x-ray machine and to avoid the radiation both he and the nurse helping have to wear lead jackets similar to flack jackets warn by bomb disposal units! I didn’t know this so I was really surprised to see my new doctor looking like he was heading to the frontline of a battlefield. After getting over the initial shock of his appearance I followed him into the x-ray room where I was put onto a table face down. This rest of the experience wasn’t that much fun. I could feel him lining up the first needle, then came the pain of the spike diving through the layers of flesh which covered my spine. Normally the operation is a simple stab, in and out without issue. But due to my vertebrae he had trouble getting into the right spot and this meant jabbing into the bone a few times and the procedure took twice as long as it usually would. Normally people only get one injection and after the mission of getting the first needle in I was asked if I wanted to do the other vertebrae another day. After such a long wait I didn’t want to stop and come back so it was time for round two. Round two went even worse than round one as along with hitting the bone a few times, the needle also raked its way over the main nerve running down my spine. This made my legs suddenly jump into action, something you really don’t want to happen when you have a big needle stuck in your back! After locating the second and final bulge (for now) the injection was administered and the ordeal was over… so I thought.

Lake Clearwater & Mt Guy(1319m)

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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