Thursday, August 17, 2006

Paralysis or Death?

Tomorrow afternoon I will don the ubiquitously humiliating gown of the patient and undergo a spinal injection to my L5-S1 joint where I have a growing nerve root cyst.

Apropos of this pending appointment, I told a doctor with whom I work about the injection and wondered aloud about the risks of paralysis from said procedure, especially since it is so low on the spinal column. His unequivocal response:"Don't get me wrong, I love my wife and kids, but I'd take death over paralysis any day. Paralysis is a miserable way to live." Hmmm.

I next spoke with another doc---of whom I am also quite fond---about my back pain and the injection scheduled for tomorrow. I also told him what the other doctor had said (they've known each other for years.)

"I'd take paralysis over death hands down. I'd much rather be paralyzed and alive, no matter the circumstance." With that, he handed me morphine scripts that I had requested for a patient.

"Thanks, _______. Can I have one of these scripts for myself?"

So, paralysis and death as two viable options. I think I'll choose a third option: maximum function, decreased pain, and a positive outcome. How's that?
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