blood patch

So you know how that last post made it sound like my life is one big bowl of warm milk and cookies?


Holy crap, could one more thing go wrong with this old body of mine? I am here to tell you that an almost 32-year-old body has nothing on a 24-year-old body. This version of me spends too much time in the mechanic shop letting people tool around trying to plug up the leaks.

I have been to the ER twice this week because I’ve been sporting the most miserable, painful, resistant to pain meds headache you’ve ever heard of. It’s the kind where you lay in your chair and leak tears and talk in a slurred voice because maybe that will make the pounding stop.

NOTHING MAKES THE POUNDING STOP. (Especially not a two-year-old who’s learned she gets a lot of naughty attention for jumping on mommy’s wounded lap. Kill me now.)

So the other night I went into the emergency room. We were suspicious that my throbbing bee’s nest was due to a leaky spinal block, the kind that doesn’t heal up and trickles spinal fluid all day long. The doc on call dismissed it and was certain I had blood clots in my brain and I was going to die. We needed an MRI, ASAP.

Okay, I know I’m all about dramatics and theatrics, but this sounded a little far fetched even to me. Isn’t the other way more likely? But he was insistent that I would be leaving this earth way early if we didn’t load me into the tube and scan my already foggy brain.

In order to take the pain away, they came up with this brilliant headache cocktail.

“Now,” the nurse said, “the medication we’re going to give will take the pain away, bit it makes you feel really jumpy and horrible.” Nice. “So, we’re going to give you a heavy dose of benadryl first to relax your body and counteract the effect.”

Here’s where you’re supposed to listen when the Spirit says, “Don’t Do It!” I was skeptical, but she talked me into it. Let’s just say I felt like a slug with ants running all over my body and no arms to brush them off. Once the drug started to wear off, I insisted they let me go home and stop poking me. I also refused the MRI and told the doc on call that I’d take my chances with death.

So three days later the headaches were so bad that we had to go in again. This time, the doctor agreed that it was a leaky block and suggested we patch it up real quick like. They  made it sound so simple: we’ll draw a little blood from your arm and put it in your back to patch up the hole.

I will spare you the intricate details of the procedure, but it was rather miserable and involved getting an epidural while someone  else simultaneously drew five gallons of blood from my arm. Talk about a needle party. They then pumped that blood into my back to stop up the drip, which felt nothing short of icky and painful.

But my headache was gone in ten minutes.

Just thought you might want to know what I’ve been up to. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m getting a breast infection so I’m going to wake up the baby.


  1. You looked good on Saturday! I would have had no idea. I still can’t believe you made bread. Love you, my friend.

  2. I DID get a breast infection (currently on antibiotics…dreading the thrush that is surely to come next) and you still have been out-tortured! (Of course, we’ll ignore the fact that the only problem I have had so far is the mastitis. But I wanted to make you feel really validated in your complaints!)

  3. Holy cow, woman! (First off, congrats! I’ve been absent from blogland a bit–yay for baby Georgia!)

    SOOOO glad you finally got the patch. Stupid doctors.

  4. My goodness, Annie. Your mom is still there to help, I hope? So sorry. Post-partum healing can be treacherous. I’m praying for you that you don’t have a breast infection because I’ve had one and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

  5. OH MY GOSH!!! Annie! What the heck!

    I was freaking out reading this!

    Birth is suppose to be natural and beautiful and then after words so is breastfeeding… but it’s NOT. It’s horrible and painful and recovery sucks… and your recent crap and you’ve one upped anything I’ve ever been through.

    I love you… hope you recover quickly now.

  6. WOW! That’s really scary! I’m glad your headache is gone and that you’re not dead..who else would shake things up in Ogden with your Standard articles?
    Take care of yourself!

  7. Annie! I’m so angry at that first doctor I could spit nails–but I suppose that wouldn’t help anyone feel better. Except for maybe future patients of his who might get listened to a little better while the doctor was cowering waiting for the crazy lady with the nails in her mouth to appear.

    I’m so glad the 2nd method, although miserable, WORKED.

  8. Sorry your back was leaking spinal fluid and making your brain hurt a bunch. Hugs! Nothing I can say or do, but as a headache getter myself, there are people who don’t know what a headache really is, and I empathize. Gotta poopy diaper now to attend to. Get better old mama.

  9. Oh I am so sorry!! As someone who gets migraines, I know how horrible a headache can be. The one you had is even worse because you get no relief until they do that proceedure. I hope you are feeling better and that this week goes better than the last one.

  10. Awwww Annie,
    My prayers are with you! Get better QUICKLY!
    HUGS, tina

  11. Sadly we know a girl who, after having her third baby, had a horrible headache like you described. She went to the ER and they thought it was her epidural as well that was leaking spinal fluid. They sent her home with meds and she ended up passing away the next day. She did have blood clots in her brain and it caused an aneurism. I guess it can happen after you have a baby.

    I’m sad the Dr. didn’t check BOTH things out, you know, just to be sure. So sorry you had such an awful time.

    Glad your headache is gone!

    • annie valentine says:

      Laurel, I am now sick to my stomach. So glad the doctor was wrong, and next time I’ll try to be a better patient.

  12. I am so sorry, hope things go better soon!

  13. Holy Crap! This sounds like a bad sitcom. I’m sorry friend. I need to come and see you. When is your Mom leaving? I’ll come then. When you are having a meltdown because there is no one to play tag team with during the day.

    You can tag team with me.


  14. Oh Annie, miserable! I hope everything keeps on getting better and NO MORE HEADACHES!

  15. Oh, Annie, how awful. I mean, good that the headaches are gone (and the pounding!) but bad about all that blood drawn, what an awful mess. And you knew what it was before the doc even got it figured out.

    Rest, take care of yourself, have some chocolate (triple dark, on me), and recoup. Sending love & hugs & mushy good vibes to help you heal.

  16. lol. your humor certainly brightens even a scary week’s experiences like the ER. had a friend recently who’d had to have a spinal tap, and wound up also in excruciating-headache-ville. few days go by and the ER docs finally got their a-ha moment and administered the blood patch. same thing for her, relief was so quick. too bad it takes them days to get to the obvious conclusion. have a better week. ::hugs::

  17. I wondered how things were REALLY going. I am kinda glad I didn’t know how bad it was until it ended up all okay. Take care of yourself-now I am still worried though. Geez, hope Grandma is still there and that Jason is really taking care of you and making you sit still. Love you tons.

  18. Oh honey I’m so sorry you’re going through this! I’ve seen that procedure done in radiology and it’s unpleasant at best.

    There is NO QUESTION I was in my thirties when I had Harley and in my twenties when I had Avery. My body reminded me every single day.

    Can’t wait to see you and Little Miss!!

  19. You should try an exorcism.

  20. Denys Gallentine (Brumbaugh) says:

    there are no words for your misery…I am so glad you are still alive though. Honestly, how many brushes with death (and total misery) are you going to go through. Please take care of yourself! Can you ship Junie out to the neighbors? Make sure you print out all these details you are writing down and put them in a guilt (I mean “scrap”) book for Georgia to read one day 🙂

  21. I have had one of these!!! When we lived in SoCal I was really sick, and they tested me for meningitis. No meningitis, but RAGING headache that miraculously disappeared if I laid down. I was totally horrified at the details of a blood patch, I can only imagine how you must’ve felt after having gone through such a rough end of pregnancy and now this!

    Glad you’re feeling better and that you’ve got your hubby home for a few weeks. Take care!!

  22. Ok, so the past week-ish I’ve been all “poor me, kidney stone, wah wah” but clearly YOU WIN. I’ll take kidney pain over that kind of a headache any day/week/year. (And it’s not like you can’t rival the whole kidney thing anyway…)

  23. Holy goodness! I’m so so sorry! I hope there’s no mastitis, and I’m so glad that your headache is gone.

  24. Oh Annie, I hope you are doing better by now. Thankfully, I haven’t got a horror story to share, but you are one tough woman. Delivering a baby is tough work and to have complications on top of that is intense. I hope you are feeling better and are able to relax more and enjoy your new little girl. Take care. I’ll be thinking of you. 🙂

  25. OMGOSH!!!! ANNIE!!!! i know Jason is home, and that must be wonderful – but please tell me that your mom is there, too, and maybe a couple sisters, and you are just laying in bed doing nothing all day! besides breastfeeding!

    YIKES!!! i’m really glad your headache is gone, thank the Lord!

    this, however, is exactly one of the things that keeps me from getting pregnant again – i am past those easy years…