We had to be up very early yesterday morning because I had an appointment at the surgical center in Maitland, about an hour’s drive from us, for the first of two RF nerve ablation procedures to help relieve some of my lower back pain.
Of course, when you do something like this, it’s always hurry up and wait. I was told to be there at 9:30 and then had to wait for over an hour before they finally took me back to get me prepped. In this case, because there were no incisions being made, just inserting probes into the nerves in my back to sever them electrically, the prep consisted of putting a mesh cap in my head, hooking me up to a blood pressure machine and pulse/oxygen monitor, and then sitting and waiting for about another hour.
But at least I had entertainment to keep me awake and from being bored. Basically, I was in a large open bay with several prep stations, all divided simply by curtains on the sides. The first young lady who hooked me up to the blood pressure machine couldn’t get it to give her a reading, so she had to summon one of her coworkers. That one told her that that particular machine had been problematic lately, and she brought another one in to replace it. The machine plugged into some kind of outlet on the floor, and as she bent over to do that, there was a very loud noise that there was no way to ignore. The horrified young lady looked up, her face red, and said, “I swear, that wasn’t me!”
Just then, the man in the station on the other side of the curtain let rip with another one. And then another and another and another. It was like a flatulent symphony. Well, maybe not the whole orchestra, but there was definitely a percussion section. Or, more likely somebody playing a wind instrument, if you get my drift. I’m not sure what the title of the tune he was serenading all of us was, but it may have been Classical Gas. I don’t know what that man ate for dinner the night before, but he needs to rethink his dietary choices. As I said, I was back there about an hour, and he never took a break. Well, other than breaking wind. But it wasn’t all music to my ears. At one point, he was going at it so fast that it sounded like the Jake brake on an eighteen-wheeler going down a steep mountain grade.
I have almost no sense of smell, and sometimes I really appreciate the last guy who broke my nose. This was one of those times. It was funny as hell watching the young ladies working back there trying to remain professional while taking shallow breaths and trying their hardest not to laugh. I think they were very glad for the surgical masks they were all wearing over their mouths and noses.
Eventually, they did take me back for the procedure, and because I opted not to have sedation due to the fact that Medicare would not pay for it, it was not the most enjoyable experience I’ve ever had. But the thing is, they don’t start the sedation until after they have inserted the probes into your nerves because they need you to be able to feel them to know they are in the right spot. That’s the worst part of the whole procedure. Then the sedation kicks in for about three minutes while they burn the nerves, and you’re done. My out-of-pocket costs for that three minutes would have been just over $300, and I can think of a lot of other things I would rather spend $100 a minute doing.
The last time I had this procedure done, it gave me about two years of relief, and I’m hoping for the same this time around. In yesterday’s procedure, they did the nerves on the lower left side of my back, and I get to go back next Monday to have the procedure repeated on the right side. Hopefully not with Freddy Fartsalot as my neighbor in the prep area.
And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.
Thought For The Day – Of course women don’t work as hard as men. They get it right the first time.