Spinal fears

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Hi there, I had a spinal for my hip replacement back in Dec 2014. Just a spinal. No sedation. Listened to Simply Red on my MP3 player.


Whilst I know we have to be totally numb for the op to be able to go ahead, I found it frightening, more frightening than the actual op! After all I knew I would feel no pain or see anything. So the op didn't worry me much. Yes I heard the drilling etc but that didn't bother me either as I didn't associate it with me.

Whilst I would much rather have a spinal than a general anaesthetic, I'm scared of the strange sensations you get with a spinal as well as the degree of numbness of course. I was dizzy on sitting up for quite a while after the op and also going round corners in my bed when they took me back to my room. They were going "Too fast". Told them to slow down but they didn't really. Didn't like it when they moved my legs to insert the catheter. It was like my legs were someone else's. Didn't like it when the staff turned me on my side and I couldn't feel them touching me! Also had a brief feeling of " Liquid" running through me, even though I knew there wasn't. It's all these issues that scare me more than the actual op.

I could try light sedation but my friend recently had a bad reaction to sedation so I'm scared of trying that now too!

Anyone had any issues like me with the spinal? Any fears, worries or concerns? Any ideas that would stop me from fretting would be great.

Thanks for listening.

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  • Posted

    Oh dear! We do fret about the unknown especially when it involves our bodies.

    I can't give you any direct advice because I'd never had a spinal, but I'd ask them to give you a sedative to reduce the fretting part.

    And remember, we fret about what we don't know. So once you know it and realise no harm has come, look on it as a exploration of new body sensations, an adventure into the unknown.

    There must be something rather intriguing and novel about being turned around on your side without feeling the hands that turn you.

    It's strange how we seek man-made bizarre physical sensations in the form of recreational drugs, bungee jumping or fun-fair roller coasters, but get scared when it's something in a hopsital.

    I think your feelings about it will change.

    Good luck!


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    • Posted

      Hi Light, Thank you for your message re my spinal fears. Much appreciated. Yes maybe I will ask about light sedation and see what they say about my friend who had a bad experience recently with it. They may be able to put my mind at rest.

      That's true though, no harm came to me last time though I suspect that although it's fear of the unknown, it also about me fearing getting into a panic and loss of control, though it didn't happen last time.

      Yes I know what you mean about seeking bizarre physical sensations in the form of recreational drugs, bungee jumping and roller coasters etc but personally speaking, I have gone out of my way to avoid all these things because I've always been frightened the sensations would overwhelm me.

      Other things that have scared me are, taking off and landing in a plane. The dizziness at these times is really really scary, so much so that I will only fly long distance as there is a long time between take off and landing so a good break between the two. And usually if you are flying long distance you are at your destination for at least a week or two, if not longer, so another break from take offs there too. Sadly I've not dared to fly to Europe from this uk or anywhere of similar distance because the take offs and landings would only be an hour or two apart. So too much too close together.

      Another place I struggle is on ships. I love ships, but even when there is a swell on the sea, I feel awful dizzy walking round. In fact so much so that I go back to my cabin and read etc till things come back to normal. There is no way could I walk round the ship feeling so bad. Strangely I don't feel sick with it and if I sit or stay in one place I'm fine. On a Norwegian cruise 18 months ago I was quite happy in the cabin. Got my meals in there and as soon as we got out of the swell, I was able to carry on as normal. So the ship dizziness is easier to handle than the plane dizziness. Unless I was 12 decks away from my cabin when the swell started. In that case I would never get back to my cabin till it stopped!

      I am wanting to book another cruise once I have got over the hip replacement but the only thing that is holding me back is knowing I would have to use one of those covered gangways again, perhaps one that climbs quite high up the side of the ship. That's how we had to get on the cruise ship at Dover last time. And I didn't like that either. I have suffered anxiety a lot over the years and part of that is a feeling of "Unreality". Really scary stuff. Like you know you are there physically but you are sort of mentally distanced from everything. Like you are in a dream state or drugged up or something. And that's how I felt on that gangway. If it wasn't for being scared of this again I would have booked a trip on QM2 or a P & O cruise liner before now.

      So you see, I'm a person who can't cope with strange sensations and feelings, apart from it being a bit easier on a ship of course. And as you can imagine I've never been one for fair ground rides either!

      But yes hopefully when I get to the hospital on April 14th and speak to the anaesthetist he or she will put my mind at rest. Though how I will get to sleep the night before, I don't know. I have to be at the hospital at 7am!

      Thank you again for your reply. :-)

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    • Posted

      Gosh, Im so sorry you are sensitive to all these things. I can see how all this must bother you.

      I take it there's never been a sedative for the ship and plane dizziness then? How awful not to be able to fly to Europe. (We have to keep reminding ourselves in the UK we are actually still Europe – until we vote otherwise, that is!)

      I wonder what the doctors say about this kind of dizziness? Somehing to do with your inner ear, probably.

      So I'm wishing you well for your 14 April appointment. Sometimes we do have to give ourselves that little bit of extra help with a special pill.

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    • Posted

      Hi Light, Sorry for the delay. I only just saw the notification for your post as it went into my spam folder.

      Hope you are well today. Yes I get fed up of struggling with these things. Only plus is I have been to USA 3 times and into Canada, also Barbados. All long distance flights from Heathrow etc you notice.

      You mentioned a sedative for ship and plane dizziness. Well as it happens, my Doctors have been no help over the years. So I sent a message to Dr Hilary Jones at a magazine he writes for. And he came back and said there is a patch I can use behind my ear that may help. So if I can get a doctors appointment before we go to Jersey in the summer - August, I'm going to ask for this patch and try it when we sail to St Helier. But yes I think I have got an inner ear problem.

      Yes we are still in Europe I agree. But I've never felt able to fly to Paris or Majorca or Italy or anywhere of that sort. Instead I always travelled on Wallace Arnold coach trips. But I had a fab time and coached all round Europe. I was in my element. I always loved my coach trips but I feel like I miss out and can't take advantage of cheap rate flights across the channel etc or weekends in Switzerland and such like.

      Soon be April 14th now! Only 3 weeks tomorrow. I suppose that basically I am scared of the side effects of the spinal. Or the side effects that I get anyway.

      But I coped last time. I will speak to the anaesthetist and let him know how apprehensive I am. I will just have to grin and bear it all till I get to the recovery room.

      Going to.sort the dinner out.

      Shirley :-)

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    • Posted

      Sounds like you know how to adapt to your handicap, which is great. We can all learn from that. Coach trips are probably a heap more fun than planes anyway.
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    • Posted

      Yes, love or hate flying, I loved coach trips regardless. . So coaching was no problem to me. I had a fab time on coaches. Would get on one at Bradford Interchange and go right down to Spain or the Italian Riviera or Austria, even Yugoslavia once. It was great fun, a real adventure. Did about three trips a year for perhaps 12 years. That was in the 80s approximately. These days I don't know if I'd have the confidence to all that on my own again. Been married 24 years, got two kids. A lot of water has gone under the bridge and I feel like that confidence has gone. Hubby would never go on a coach trip so wether I will ever get the chance to do it again or not, and if I would find the confidence or not, remains to be seen. One thing that puts me off coaching these days is the thought of going through the channel tunnel! During my days of coach travel, there was no tunnel so it was a ferry every time. Anyway we are off to Jersey in August. Drive to Poole then across to St Helier. Might go on a day trip to France from Jersey, we'll see. Where are you going this year?
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