Saturday, September 03, 2005


I just finished my first emergency room shift. Very cool. As expected the variety was amazing. First a pregnant woman stung by a bee, then a man who had just had a stroke, a woman with severe migraines and even a car accident. The pace waxed and waned through the night with times where I was juggling multiple things at once and also times where we just chatted about emergency medicine. Very cool.

I hope to post after most of my shifts this month, so stay tuned! Oh, and I did a spinal tap tonight (long needle into spinal column to sample the cerebral spinal fluid and check for a cranial bleed).



faveauntcarrie said...

Hey, Mike-

Yes, do try to write about your ER shifts - interesting stuff.

Jodi had a spinal tap a few years ago when we were still chasing the MS diagnosis. She ended up with a leak - I think the hole didn't re-seal itself. The only way to fix it was to do another procedure (four days later) called a "blood patch". Very Transylvanian sounding, eh? They took more than a little blood from her arm and shot it into her spine to seal the leak, which would allow the fluid start to refill the spinal cord area. The doc who did it said that essentially her brain wasn't resting in the optimal amount of fluid, thus the unbelievably terrible headache. Took over a week to recover.

She had her spinal in a hospital, scheduled as an outpatient. I can't imagine doing one of those in a busy ER.


sheila said...

Why was the pregnant woman in the ER for a bee sting? Was she allergic?

Leslie said...

OHMYGOD- I had the same thing happen to me in the ER once when I went in w/a severe migraine. After three days of intense pain (even w/great meds and after multiple tests) they did the patch and the RELIEF was IMMEDIATE.

michael said...

The headache after a spinal tap is appropiately termed a "spinal headache." They say the pain is unbearable. Amazing that two different people in our family had one. There is a 3% chance of getting one if a very small needle is used (more like 15% with a medium size needle). The blood patch works just how Carrie said (no surprise). The blood is injected in the space around your spinal cord and it actually clots over the hole left by the original injection.

Thanks for the comments. If you have any medical questions let me know and I will post the answer anonymously.