Monday, October 27, 2008

My Stupid Neck

Today I had a test done where the basic testing mechanism was for the doctor to ask, "does that hurt?" You'd think in this day-and-age the verbal response technique would be outmoded. What he did, the doc, was stick some 4-inch needles through the front of my neck, just to the side of my trachea, into the discs between C4/5, C5/6, and C6/7 vertebrae. He then pushed x-ray contrast material in to the discs to see if they would contain the fluid under pressure, and while he was doing this, I was under instructions to let him know when it hurt. Interestingly, each disc should be able to stand up to about 100 psi of pressure. Mine failed in this order:
  • C4/5 - 23 psi
  • C5/6 - 56 psi
  • C6/7 - 19 psi
Give or take a psi, since I was a bit sedated at the time I looked at the chart. The point is, I had contrast material leaking out of all three discs, which is bad. Right now I feel like I got rear-ended into a head-on collision earlier today. Just so you know, C6/7 hurt the worst. Felt like he'd pumped it up to that 100 psi mark, and both my arms went numb and all that manner of thing. I was fairly discouraged to see the 19 on that one.

What's next? Well, assuming my insurance plan doesn't call it experimental and refuse to cover it, I am going to have C5/6 and C6/7 discs replaced in December. Otherwise, I'm going to fight an insurance company for the next 1.5 months until they will cover the procedure, because the other option is to fuse the vertebrae together, and that doesn't sound good at all.

What's the lesson, here? Mama's don't let your babies grow up to play football. Too, if you're ever uninsured and you find yourself lying on the ground in excruciating pain after pulling a stupid downhill stunt on your mountain bike, suck it up and pay to have a real doctor treat your injury.

Can't believe I'm only 33 sometimes...


DGH said...

your only 33? Dang that's old!

Tyson said...

Cool blog.
Bummer about your neck; I've been dealing with the same thing (mostly). Oh, I came here via Michael, so if I creep you out, blame him.

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down "happy." They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life.
-- John Lennon