On June 21st, I told you I was being evaluated for a Parkinson’s study. I made the cut! I reported and settled in on Wednesday. Today, I am cutting and pasting from my report to our children about yesterday’s experience:
Yesterday, they took my husband/caregiver & I to Smyrna Beach, 45 minutes ride away for the spinal tap. I commented that I was surprised that they were taking us so far. Dr ‘D’ explained, ‘The office where we were going was the closest private Physician, who do spinal taps, they had been able to locate other than emergency rooms. They have an exam room set aside for the research group to use to follow the protocols for the specific study. So it was there, where they did pre-medication [ EKG, took vital signs and began extracting vials of blood and finger pricks and collection] Then I was given the morning DOSE. Then, at designated times, they did post-medication [ EKG, took vital signs and began extracting vials of blood and finger pricks and collection] 3 more times. Then two hours after taking the pill I was taken to a different room, where I met the Dr who did the spinal tap. Then, returning to the previous exam room. I was to spend an hour lying on my back. Then once again, [ EKG, took vital signs and began extracting vials of blood and finger pricks and collection] , before then returning to the research clinic in DeLand, where blood pressure, another vial of blood and finger prick collection were taken every two hours. four additional times.
I wanted to tell you about the spinal tap. There were several large rounded pieces of equipment… and attended by three or four additional attendants.. each wrapped in heavy led aprons. I was seated on an exam table encircled by it all… and asked to round my back. You can imagine my surprise, with the doctor’s first words…at first glance, “I see you have had back surgery.” I of course emphatically stated ‘No.. I had not!’ Then, upon closer examination, he marveled that the deep crevice running down my spine was a natural formation! He proceeded to use a local anesthetic and then attempt to thread a probe toward the target. I kept feeling pricks and other sensations on the left side of my spine, but felt nothing on the right side I think everybody (but me) were probably watching the monitor screens… which there were several of. The doctor kept saying ‘Sorry’ then he would poke some more .. then another ‘sorry.” After what seemed like at least twenty minutes, He said. “I’m going to have to try higher up. It is simply too tight, and I cant get in!” So someone cleaned my back, and they sanitized and administered more local anesthetic. After that, it went pretty quick.
Over all, I can’t complain about the spinal tap, because on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say pain was only a 2. But, I couldn’t say my dignity/modesty was intact.