Elvis Costello might have suggested that we pump it up until we can feel it,
I’m talking about an intracathal baclofen pump. The idea, for someone who has never had surgery before, makes me, in a phrase my daughter coined,oogly. Having a little machine implanted into my belly, with a hose running around to my back ending with a needle stuck into my spine doesn’t make me giddy with excitement. But I’ve been taking oral baclofen for years, and while it’s worked pretty well to deal with leg spasms, it seems lately to have lost it’s effectiveness. I have been waking up several times a night with my legs feeling like lead pipes and aching with spasms. So, much as I would really rather not, I think it might be time to give a better consideration to the pump.
The trial test, which I’ve already done, involves an inpatient day (at least) in the hospital, where they inject a hefty dose of baclofen directly into the spine, and observe the results – both to see how the drug effects you, how fast it works, and how fast you recover. In my case, it required an over night stay and – this is way beyond oogly – three “straight catheters.” (I was going to add a link to a page describing the procedure, but, trust me, they are all horrifying.) I will say that what happened to me was that the baclofen made my bladder unable to empty itself, though an ultrasound proved that it was full to the brim. And if the “contents” won’t come out on their own, someone has to go in and get them. Do I need to say how astonishingly painful it is? And three in one night is something i would not wish on my worstest enemy. Something I will do everything in my power to never have done to me again.
Anyway, my neuro said to let her know when the oral baclofen wasn’t doing it’s thing any more, and we would talk about the pump. Despite all my fears – irrational and rational – it think it is time. As the Cowardly Lion said, “There’s just one thing I want you to do – talk me out of it!” If any of my faithful readers have any experience with one of these gizmos, I’d be interested to hear about it. Just leave any mention of catheters out, please. And stay tuned to see if I do indeed go through with it.