"There is increased grinding and popping in the sagittal region." "Sagittal? But I'm a Cancer!"

Life never fails to be interesting for me on the medical front. Wednesday I met my mom in Calgary; my first cortisone injection was bright and early Thursday morning. So we get to the Holy Cross and find the Advanced Spinal Care Centre, which, incidentally, is in the basement and as such I'm fairly certain qualifies as at least one of the many circles of hell. I'm trying to stay up beat and overly Mary Poppinsish in my outlook, so I bound up to the desk and proudly proclaim "I have an appointment at 9:30! Last name Sawisky, first name Kathleen!" (Unfortunately the five piece band I had hired to announce my arrival turned out to be double booked.)

That was when it all went to hell in a hand basket. The receptionist looks at me, to the desk, to the tower of file folders beside her, flips one open and then turns back to me to say "We've been trying to contact you for three days."

Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no no no.

"We don't have your requisition form."

No, no, no, no, no. I can't wait six more months. No, no no.

Let's just save me the embarrassment and say that yes, the water works were turned on, mostly due to sheer and utter hysteria. That's what happens when you're booked for an appointment that really has about as much appeal as a tea party with murderous clowns. An appointment that, despite its horrible, general...ickiness, is supposed to help you in the long run. An appointment that you wait six months for. A very painful six months.

So, yes, the water works came, and everything was very embarrassing and eventually they decided that hey, I'm still booked, so we'll just get it over with while we get your GP to resend the form. Don't ask me how they managed to book me in the first place without my requisition, I have no idea. Apparently being part of the circles of hell causes important papers to randomly flare up and dissolve while tiny naked demons spring out of dark corners and torment the staff with pitchforks.

I was pretty pleased to see that I was going to be able to watch the procedure on the screen (while ignoring the fact that I was under an x-ray beam for at least six minutes, radiating my ovaries and halving my chances of children by another 13%.) The best moment happened when they first positioned the camera over my lower back and noticed that there wasn't a spine there as there normally is.

"Um, your spine is-"
"Yeah, I know. Trying a couple inches to the left."
"Oh hey! There is is. So you have scoliosis huh?"
"And you have a degree in this?"
"What?"
"What? Nothing! Yes! Severe scoliosis! Dandy! Let's do this."

For the most part it wasn't too bad. They froze me good and solid. Unfortunately the area they had to go through was by brick-like muscle area in my left lumbar region, so despite there being no pain there was, and still is, an intensely uncomfortable feeling that went along with them trying to maneuver the tube/needle/piece of spaghetti near the facet joint.

All in all fairly painless, or, at least it didn't make it worse. I'm fairly certain already that there won't be any improvement from this injection, and here's why...

Yesterday I had an appointment with my surgeon (who once again brought me to the edges of hysterical laughter because, seriously, he's awesome.) I had the obligatory x-ray done and after only a couple minutes wait he ambled into the room and looked at the computer screen. The good news, we established, is that the curve has not visibly progressed (which means it hangs on that 49 degree cusp like some sort of small child with sticky fingers!) The bad news, and here's where the injections come into play, is that the arthritis that was developing has become incredibly worse. Right to the point where my x-ray from six months ago looks normal. NORMAL. You could hardly make out a vertebrae under all the white, gunky, arthritic, nastiness that was going on at L3-4. And which was the vertebrae that they injected the day before? L4-5 of course. He made it very clear that I'm to demand they inject 3-4 next week.

I have to say, the arthritis news was very disheartening. Mostly because I'm 21 and, as I said before, it's an old persons disease. Okay, no, it's not, obviously, but sarcasm is all I have left now. On the plus side, I was educated on proper medical terminology. We discussed my right thorocohumpty and he explained that really, that was one of the bigger issues people had. My response? That it's pretty nasty.

"No, no." He says, "The proper term is 'prominent'. It's 'prominent', not nasty."
To which I reply. "Ah, prominent. And here I was using all these four letter swears."
Who'd have thunk? We were wrong, gang! Our backs aren't screwed up, they're simply prominent!

Being a doctor, he couldn't help but ask me if I noticed any difference between the two x-rays from that day and six months ago. As we had already established that there was arthritis there, the only thing I could point out was that one x-ray was larger than the other. Cue three solid minutes of him fiddling with the computer until they were equal sizes (they never really were.)

I'm pretty happy that, despite the fact that my back is oozing arthritis (That's right, I said oozing) my Doc at least as the common decency to have a sense of humor and indulge mine because, really, what else can a person do at this point? Crying won't help, but it will get you appointments!

Later, gang!
Kathleen

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