Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sweet, sweet relief!

Yesterday I went to see the nurse practitioner over at Mercy.  She is the sweetest thing ever, and she's also the only nurse they have in the Sacramento area that can do an occipital nerve block.  Before getting started, she came in, gave me a big hug, and asked how my family was doing.  She spent a few minutes talking about my pregnancy and how that was going.  THEN we went into the headaches.  Now, how often do you get that kind of bedside manner?  I know that I'm a bit of a "special" case with such a rare condition, but I am SO happy to have caregivers that CARE.

The injections go into my scalp, near the occipital nerves.  Spasms and rigidity irritate the nerves, causing me to get raging migraines.  Right now we're trying to take the safest route, and injected steroids pose MUCH less risk than narcotic painkillers.  Only about 1/1000th of a dose (or less) crosses the placenta with steroids.  They've also been around for ages, so the safety in pregnancy is pretty certain.  Anyways...

The nurse injects a mix of Solumedrol (the steroid) and Lidocaine (an anesthetic) into the muscle that covers the occiput (the back of your noggin).  I get a muscle knot near that area, and it has been huge lately.  We chose to inject 2/3rds on that side, and the other 1/3rd on the other side. It actually hurts a lot less than you'd imagine.  It isn't any worse than a flu shot...if you have a good nurse.  She warned me that I might bruise a little more this time because of the extra blood pumping through my system.

I went home and iced my head, and looked forward to the sweet relief.  After having a migraine every single day for a month, anything was better than nothing.  I just realized that while my head is sore and bruised today, I haven't gotten a migraine.  Not even a hint of one!  As much as I hate having to take medication to feel better, I have to love that. 

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