skeleton experiencing an electric shock from epidural needle

My Epidural Experience

Epidurals are used in a variety of treatments in the hospital, including TURBTs. I had already had one during my first scraping, so I knew what to expect for the second, or at least I thought I did. The resident who was tasked with doing the procedure was very confident, but when the time came to inject the freezing into my back she made a terrible error. She hit my spinal cord. The pain I felt was like nothing I had previously experienced in my life. It felt like a thousand watts of electricity racing from my shoulders to my feet. I grabbed the nurses arm so hard that I almost pulled it off. He gripped my shoulder to settle me down. The resident saw my reaction and asked what was wrong; I told her, and her reaction left me cold.

“Oh, it happens, nothing to worry about.”

The effects of her error

I was shocked at her cavalier attitude and pretty pissed off. I was quickly immobilized, and next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery. The procedure went off without another hitch. I didn’t feel the effects of her error until I got home. For the next week, I could barely move; my legs and my back were in terrible pain. I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t lie down, I was uncomfortable all the time. Over time, I started to feel normal, but it was a terrible experience. The scrape gave me a three month reprieve, but a pattern was being established. The next cystoscopy I had to determine the effectiveness of the last procedure showed that the tumors had not been eliminated, and they had returned. I was determined not to go through another epidural like the last one.

I was adamant

The next cysto was scheduled, and of course, that meant going through the same pre-op checkup that I’d had before. When the anesthetist came in to go over the plan, I told him that if the same resident came into the room to administer the epidural, I would walk out of the room. He was surprised, but I was adamant. No way was this “butcher” going to get her hands on me again. I was going through enough emotional turmoil without having to worry about a student inflicting pain and suffering for no reason. Up until then, I had never had any problem with the doctors or residents at Mt. Sinai. Mistakes happen, but I was prepared to do whatever I had to do to avoid it happening again, and thankfully it didn’t. I was beginning to realize that I was in a serious battle. My cancer wasn’t going to cooperate; it was going to be a long hard fight.


Find the next part of Jim’s journey here.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The BladderCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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