Thursday, October 8, 2009

Epidural Procedure

When you hear epidural you think about someone having a baby, no I'm not having a baby, even though I have MILLIONS of little baby stem cells inside of me trying to repair my body. Most people don't realize that in a pregnancy an epidural is just a type of medicine that goes around your spinal cord that makes you numb from the waist down or from where ever they inject it. Well an epidural procedure is along those same lines, except they inject stem cells around your spinal cord rather than a medicine to numb the lower half of your body. The epidural is the layer that surrounds the spinal cord.

I have a lot of anxiety in doing procedures because I am deathly afraid of getting pain again, but it's the one thing I would love to have again. Confusing I know. A little while after arriving at the other hospital called Guatam Nagar, I got an IV and took two antibiotics.
The doctor that was doing the procedure decided it would be best if I moved times with someone else who was scheduled ahead of me to try and calm me down and get it over with. About an hour later I was called in for the procedure. I was put onto a stretcher and pushed into an old school elevator, the kind that you have to close the gates and you can see through them, with one of the sisters and two guys who work in the procedure room, one of them is named Opi. The whole thing went really smoothly, I didn't freak out this time thank goodness. The doctor injected around 50 MILLION stem cells into my back during that 15 or so minute procedure. Crazy. They then helped me back onto the stretcher and took me back up to my room. One of my favorite people working here, Opi, was helping with the procedure, and he was making sure I was okay throughout the procedure and he helped me get back into my bed. I brought five stuffed animals to India with me, and my mom packed all of them with us when we went to the other hospital for the procedure. She lined them all up along the end of my bed and the sisters (nurses) and Opi thought it was the cutest thing they had ever seen. He actually before he helped me into my bed, sat on the far end of my bed to take a picture on his phone of all my stuffed animals, it was the cutest thing I've ever seen. After getting back in bed they brought in the two bricks again and raised up the bed. Opi then moved all the stuffed animals from the end of my bed and placed them all around my head so I could hold them.

Towards the end of the procedure a friend visited, a gecko. As I was watching television, getting really restless for being on my back for so long, all of a sudden I saw this little thing dart through the window onto the wall. I looked over and said "Mom, we have a friend!" She looked over and asked me okay so where is it and what is it. I pointed over to the wall and she saw the gecko and right away got out her camera to take pictures of it. He stayed there til we left.

Since the procedure I've shown really good results :)! I got a couple side effects from it, which in a really twisted way is fantastic. Swallowing is really, really difficult (it's a previous symptom) and my vision is much more blurry than it usually is (I have no idea what that means). Right after getting out of bed, after lying on my back for five hours, I had a temperature (which is your bodies defense to all the stem cells and is normal) and I was getting really bad tremors that have slowly calmed down a little bit. My doctors are really, really excited for all the progress I'm making and are convinced I will go home completely changed. All I can do is believe them and give it a 110% by thinking positively, having a good attitude about everything, doing physio everyday, and doing yoga (no matter how much I hate it).

Elephant Ride

This one is a little late, but about a week and a half ago five patients and their caretakers all went on an elephant ride :). We all piled into taxis, I think we had to take four to fit all the wheelchairs and everyone. My mom and I went in a car with another patient around my age and his dad as we were driving down the highway the driver suddenly pulled over to the edge of the road. Before we could say anything our driver started going in reverse on the highway into straight on traffic of motorcycles, rickshaws, and cars. On the side of the road were six elephants all lined up ready to go. We pulled into this itty bitty little driveway that could barely fit the car and got out. Somehow my mom and I got volunteered to go first so after everyone was out these guys started pointing at us telling us to "go go go." Next thing I know, I'm getting hoisted onto this elephant by five Indian men. I was still in shock that I was sitting on an elephant and that we were actually about to do this. My mom got on after me and I was told to hold onto the "Elephant man" who tells the elephant where to go. After tying us together my mom said she was ready to go. She had told me the elephant got up front feet first, then back. I think she forgot that because when the guy commanded the elephant to get up she screamed. Once the elephant was up we went along this trail and saw a couple little huts down in this super lush area. It was so pretty, I wish we had taken our camera out there instead of giving it to someone at the front to take our pictures. When we got back to where we had gotten on, the same five men helped me back off into my chair and we then waited for everyone else to go. I was definitely in shock the rest of the time that I had just ridden an elephant. After us a quadriplegic rode the elephant with a caretaker, which was amazing to watch how brave she was and trusting she was of everyone to do that. Then another person with Lyme induced ALS went with a caretaker. After he went the two mothers of them went and we got the funniest picture of their reaction as the elephant was rising. It sure was a fun day. I'm still kind of in shock that I actually rode an elephant in that sketchy of an area, but it was an experience that would probably only happen here in India.