Thursday, September 28, 2006

Does THIS sounds scarey to you?

I had what I thought was a "nerve block" done on August 30, 2006. It was to help relieve my pain, but it just made it two-fold... The whole experience was not good and I hope the feedback I provide to the hospital helps them to "rethink" the setup for this procedure. I have decided from this point forward I am going to follow my "intuiative" instincts. I know I have them, just gotta listen. If you wish to read the cycle of events, here is what I'm sending to the hospital.

Chaotic Nerve Block Experience

~ Upon arrival at the hospital I was told I needed someone to take me home after the procedure. Since I wasn’t told this when the appointment set up, I asked for the procedure to be fully explained to me. When making the appointment at my doctor’s office, I was given no information other than it was an injection involving some mild sedation and done under x-ray since it was close to the spinal cord. I have had several injections elsewhere on my body over the past 3 years. No one told me the sedation would be so strong as to prevent driving. I had to call my husband to come to the hospital once I got there.

~ Once I was settled into my room Dr. Ford (not sure this was his name, but he assisted Dr. Mathai with injection and looked a little like Benji on this year’s So You Think You Can Dance) came in and began explaining the procedure. Dr. M came in a couple minutes later and I introduced her to my husband, who was there by that time. Then she was called away. I was going to continue with the explanation of the nerve block with Dr. F, but he was immediately called away also. He never came back to finish the explanation. All I had been told to this point, other than what I already knew, was that I would be positioned in a chair massage unit, resting my face in a cushion. I am familiar with those units as I have gotten massage for over 20 years. Dr. F’s explanation went no further than that.

~ I was taken to the procedure room waiting area. While there I asked to go to the bathroom before the block. As a nurse was helping me to and from the bathroom she noticed my consent form had not been covered. She quickly had me sign it.

~ I was taken to the procedure room and transferred to a high narrow bed. I had to sit rather lopsided, however, because of openings in the table, so my posture was uncomfortable. A chair massage unit was rolled next to me. There were approximately 4-5 staff in the room, none of which knew how to position the head cushion. I knew more about how to do this than they did just based on my experience with massage. Some did mention they were "used" to lumbar injections. To me, this indicated a cervical procedure such as this wasn't often performed, The process of events led me to believe it...

~ Each time they positioned the unit, it collapsed. At one point they covered the face cushion completely with a towel. There was no way I could rest my face in the cushion and breathe with the towel placed like that. With my level of frustration and fear at this point, I just took care of it myself and fixed the towel so I could breathe. I kept trying to work with them and this unit. At this point I was uncomfortably sitting on a table with openings beneath me and trying to precariously balance my head on a massage unit that often collapsed and wasn’t steady. I finally refused to use it. My unease grew.

~ Next, someone rolled in a bedside table tray and placed a pillow on it. They asked me to rest my forehead on the edge of the tray, which was very uncomfortable, let alone the fact the tray rolled everywhere. I was close to tears and about ready to say “STOP”, get me out of here.

~ At this point, Dr. M walked in and questioned what they were doing. She at first told them to get maintenance to repair the unit. Then she actually repaired the massage chair herself and got it somewhat steady, although I still did not trust the device. Even she was not certain how to position the cushion. As I was feeling no effect whatsoever from any sedative they had given me (and problems had been arising constantly since I’d arrived that day and I was feeling like walking out of the hospital at this point), I asked for another shot of sedative hoping it would calm me. I was trying to stay positive and hoping it would go smoothly the rest of the way. I had so much hope for this nerve block...

~ I was allowed more sedative. However, the X-ray equipment didn’t work. Dr. M immediately told someone where to get another machine, which they did.

~ Finally, while trying to get positioned for the injection, Dr. M wanted the chair unit closer to the table. I assume it was so I wouldn’t be leaning so far away from her. They struggled with the unit for a minute. However, due to the table legs interfering with rolling of the unit, I don’t think they ever got it close enough to the table. After a brief struggle with the massage chair, I was asked to move closer to her side of the table. Again, I must mention I was sitting rather lopsided over holes in the table and it was difficult to maneuver. She then had to stand on a stool and reach over my back to my neck while I leaned to the other side of the bed, resting my head on a potentially unstable chair massage unit. I was definitely not in a relaxed, comfortable position. I don’t see how she could have been either as some of her weight was resting on my hips.

~ After the procedure one nurse asked me repeatedly if I had any allergies, to which I responded no. Her repeated questions didn’t actually connect with me until later when I remembered after the procedure I noticed both of my arms were red down into my hands to the knuckles, where the red stopped and my fingers were white. This went away by the next day. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the block, but feel I should mention it. Perhaps this is what the nurse noticed and was the reason she kept repeatedly asking me about allergies after the procedure. Another thing I noticed while waiting in recovery was that blood had seeped out around the needle. Perhaps this is common. I haven’t h ad that happen with IVs before. But since I really never felt sedated at any point, perhaps the needle became dislodged from my vein while I was bending my arm and trying to adjust myself on the uncomfortable table.

~ The pain levels in my lower neck have increased tremendously since that injection. The pain for which the nerve block was to treat has persistently increased. My migraines increased in severity. Hopefully, the return of such burning shoulder/arm pain, neck pain, and increase in severity of migraines is a temporary set back. (note: It’s 9-27-06 and my pain levels have not subsided,)

I have written all the above and am submitting it to you so that perhaps you will review your procedures for cervical nerve blocks at Southview. With the return of persistent high pain levels, it has to make me wonder if this procedure had been performed under optimal conditions, would my pain levels have returned with such vengeance? I believe the staff and equipment could have been better prepared. The procedure was also potentially dangerous. What if the unit had collapsed while she was injecting a needle close to my spine? I know I wasn’t comfortable resting the full weight of my head on the apparatus based on the “quick fix” Dr. M performed.

Frankly, I feel Dr. M was just working with what she had at her disposal. It was a chaotic experience where staff did not seem knowledgeable or prepared for a cervical procedure such as this. Hopefully, no other patient will have to go through what I did that day.


Post a Comment

<< Home