Expect Irritability And An Occasional Wail

It’s funny. I lived through the sixties. I inhaled. Yet the thought of taking an opioid scares me. Barring exceptional circumstances I follow Nancy Reagan and just say no! This is some stupid macho gesture from me, right?

My leg’s still killing me. This morning I went to see Dr. Steve.

“Take off your pants, the doctor will be here in a minute,” his nurse said as I settled into an examining room. This is not how you start a conversation on even footing!

Steve asked a few questions while I sat, then asked a few more as he had me twist and contort.

It’s interesting how this works. The moves you expect to be painful aren’t always. Unfortunately, the ones that are painful are very painful!

“L4,” he said.

This is the doctor’s equivalent of “vorticity,” a word I can throw in conversation to make sure you know I became a meteorologist by going to school for it.

Now it was explanation time. I have sciatica, a pinched nerve, probably the lumbar spinal nerve 4 (L4). It goes everywhere!

From Livestrong.com: The L4 nerve supplies many muscles in the lower back region, either directly or through an extension of nerves originating from L4.

So far only bad news, but there is good news. It can be treated! He showed me an exercise I can do while sitting then digitally pushed a prescription to my local pharmacy. I’m on prednisone, a steroid.

Being thorough Steve began to tell me the side effects prednisone could bring. “You might get irritable.” How would anyone notice?

He continued. Sometimes prednisone brings increased appetite, insomnia and a few others unrelated treats. I listened closely for oily discharge or an erection lasting more than four hours. Since prednisone is a steroid I’d already thought about its other well known side effects. I’m not interested in a bloated face or shrunken parts!

Damn! I won’t be able to pass the drug test to participate in the Olympics.

“Maybe I’d be better with the pain,” I said.

Dr. Steve didn’t think so and asked if I wanted anything for that part of the equation.

It’s funny. I lived through the sixties. I inhaled. Yet the thought of taking an opioid scares me. Barring exceptional circumstances I follow Nancy Reagan and just say no! This is some infantile macho gesture from me, right?

If you’ve never taken prednisone it’s more a project than prescription. The dosage is complex and varies by the day. I’m supposed to take one of the pills on one of the days before 9:00 AM. I’m guessing they don’t know when I go to sleep!

Steve is hopeful I’ll be fine sooner rather than later. Some people respond to the treatment within the first 48 hours. Others wait longer before feeling better. I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile expect a little visible irritability and an occasional painful wail.

15 thoughts on “Expect Irritability And An Occasional Wail”

  1. I had poison ivy once so bad I had to take that steroid and I was so mean to everyone. Nobody warned me! Be careful taking too many steroids, my mother-in-law took one for a while and ended up with brittle bone disease, fell on the beach face forward and broke four vertebrae. Something like that, and she is in her 90’s at Martha’s Vineyard. But you got that packet thingy where you take them different each day? Hope you feel better really soon. It’s not fun.

  2. I can understand your pain…I’m only 30 years old, with a 6 year old and a 6 month old to run after, and I have 2 herniated disks, my C2 in my neck and my L5/S1 along with localized fibromyalgia and in my experiance with medications, the side effects outweighed the pain…everyone is different but hopefully you can find some relief with the steroid, we need some smiles with this nasty weather heading in for the end of the week!!!

  3. Hi Geoff! I hope this does the trick for you. Can you describe the exercise he recommended? I’m sure many of us would like to try it. Thanks!

  4. Prednisone is a catabolic steroid, not an anabolic steroid. It breaks down muscle, not builds it. So it won’t affect your Olympics performance at all!
    It also does a bang-up job on inflammation. Just watch your blood sugar if you are prone to hyperglycemia at all, as it can wreak havoc with your insulin resistance.

    Good luck and feel better. Maybe you need a little “Doppler Therapy”.

  5. Geoff, sciatica is without doubt the WORST pain ever!!! ( other than childbirth) I have had 4 back surgeries and a spinal fusion, I understand what you are going through!!! I hope you get some relief soon!!!!

  6. A chirpractor can help relieve the pain without meds.
    Good luck with your recovery, I know the pain you’re in. I have sciatica in both legs and the chiropractor is a big help.

  7. Mine is L4 too. Actually L4-L5. Sciatica. In my case a herniated disc. Not fun, but hopefully it will be better soon. We’ll be watching for the irritability. Geoffrey the Grouch…

  8. I took Prednisone last year for a flare up in my lower spine L5,S1. I felt like the energizer bunny which is rather far from my usual sedentary state. During that time I could have cleaned the entire White House by myself. I’m not sure that’s a usual reaction, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. It works quickly and within a day I felt like a million bucks. With the exception of migraines, lower back pain is the most debilitating pain there is. I hope you feel better soon.

  9. I know a great Chiropractor if things get out of hand. At least the doc gave you the prednizone and exercises. That should make a big difference. Keep smiling!

  10. The geek in me comes out – I made myself an Excel spreadsheet the last time I had to take prednisone. It was the only way I could keep track!

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