Friday, November 2, 2012

Surgery likely...and how dwindling FMLA determines when I can have it

Today I went to the surgeon to discuss where I am in terms of relief and place on the timeline of recovery from the situation with my spine.

This doctor is in the orthopedic department, not the same medical professional who is handling my epidural steroid injections (ESI), that's a good thing. I want to keep these practitioners and their philosophies separate. The latter doctor is an anesthesiologist who specializes in non-surgical treatments for spinal problems and pain, in this case mine's a bad herniation at L5-S1. After my second ESI, the doctor was cautiously optimistic given that my MRI showed my herniation was bad. He said if I had signficant relief by mid-November I could get shot #3. If that third shot doesn't get me to 90% back to normal, that I need to think about surgery.

This was not much different than the conclusion that the surgeon came to today after I told him about my level of relief (acute pain down quite a bit) and reviewed what has transpired, but I:
  • still limp, dragging my left leg, which is weak;
  • have pretty annoying dull tailbone pain, which he said makes sense based on what the steroid shot has accomplished so far in terms of pain reduction at L5-S1. This is painful particularly after driving;
  • have an inability to sit comfortably for very long (I have a desk job) without getting really stiff and in pain. I've been toughing it out.