Occipital Neuralgia, neurontin, and the joy of disability

So, I’ve been out of work on disability since November 5th. I was getting severe headaches on the left side of my head for a couple months with the pain getting worse by the week. On the 4th I drove into work and couldn’t get out of the car. Bossman saw me sitting there and asked if I was ok. Nope, not ok. I told him I had to go home, don’t even bother paying me for the day. I had enough and decided to finally go to the doctor. Aleve and the like weren’t cutting it anymore. I told the doc about my head and to also check out my right shoulder as I have had trouble with it for the last decade so he sent me for an MRI on both body parts. Now, I hate the MRI machine. It’s not the claustrophobia, the technology of it bothers me. Something about all the protons in my body being manipulated freaks me out. After a general anesthesia the MRI was done.

Turns out I have a herniated disc in my neck between C3 and C4 and is pinching the nerve on the right side, which is weird because the pain is on my left. More on that later. Also my shoulder has three separate tears, I think the rotator cuff is one of them.

I’ve been to three different doctors now. Orthopedic doesn’t want to do anything until I have an EMG test done to make sure all the nerves are working properly before he operates on my shoulder. Ok, fair enough. Have to see the neurologist for that.

I also have to see a neurosurgeon for the neck issues. When I told him about the pain being on the left side of my head he was a bit puzzled. Turns out I also have occipital neuralgia, which is a set of nerves that run under the scalp to the eye being squeezed, irritated or whatever. He doesn’t know what is causing it so he wants to start off with a cortisone shot in my spine to see if that alleviates the pain. Start from the inside and work our way out is what he told me.

The pain isn’t consistent, today is not so bad. Yesterday was a nightmare. The helplessness can be overwhelming. There was nothing I could do to escape, no comfortable position, no respite. I think the oxycodone a friend gave me is helping. Normally I don’t like drugs, including antibiotics and such, but I really really don’t like the opioids and the Neurontin the neuro prescribed for me makes me twitchy and clumsy.¬†Had to make an exception for the oxycodone, I can’t deal with this everyday after all!

So here I am, home waiting for the next appointment. I can get stir crazy pretty fast, I actually spent an entire day talking to the dogs like Captain Jean Luc Picard. lol

It’s not all bad though, I caught up on the laundry, I go to the RC track when I’m not hurting too much. It’s nice to see all my track rat friends again. Dishes are all clean and I even swept the living room. I do miss the guys at work though. Not the commute or the fact I work in the city but my coworkers are a good bunch of folks.

What I miss most is my beloved fire department. Because I’m out on medical I am not allowed to any dept functions. They had the Santa ride on Saturday, that’s when one of the members dresses up like Santa Clause and rides the truck around the neighborhood with lights and sirens handing out candy canes to the kids. My company went out of their way to stop here at my house. Of course I was on the bowl when they showed up, lol. But there they were, 3 fire trucks outside¬†and 15 firefighters piled in my house. It’s a brotherhood few experience and it’s one of the most wonderful feelings one can have. I’d follow any one of them to the depths of hell (to put it out of course) and I know they’d do the same for me.

There I go, off on a tangent.

Can’t wait for all this to be done. I just pray that I get cleared for full duty in the end.

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