My friend Wes Castro accompanied me again on this trip and he is really great company. Thanks again Wes. We always leave early enough to give us some room in case of traffic. On Feb. 6th, no traffic. Keeping it at a reasonable 5 over, we got to SF in 3 hours. We had an hour to kill, so we went to Fisherman's Wharf so Wes could have some lunch and eat it in front of me. They told me not to eat or drink for 6 hours before the procedure. That was in case they needed to do general anesthesia. More about that later. So I'm going to give you some pictures from around FW first. It was a beautiful day, by the way.
We found a nice little Japanese sushi restaurant. Wes ate a big seafood noodle bowl right in front of me. I can't show it because it was too pain for me to just sit there and watch him eat it. But it looked great.
OK, here we go. Now for the procedure run down. Ready, set, zap!
I asked if they could get permission from the UCSF legal department to take pictures while the procedure going on. With the needles and things IN my back. No go. So we'll work around it as best we can.
Here's Dr. Naidu ready to go. The pictures on the screen are not me. Don't you just LOVE his prom dress. That bright green just really just brought out the color of his eyes. Dr. Naidu graduated from the U of Wisconsin at Madison, got his MD there, did his residency at UCLA, now doing his fellowship at UCSF. Great guy.
So here's how the whole thing goes... After they deaden the area and stick the needles in their fun begins. First they ask you to let them know when you feel the spot get "warm" This is how they figure out that they're in the right area of the nerve they are targeting. Then they turn up the juice and, well, it's not like having someone put your hand in a bucket of warm water while you sleep, but it is an interesting sensation. From how much juice they have to turn the machine up to they can tell if they're near or at the right spot. So they move the needles in or out to find the "sweet spot" on the nerve. Times three. Then they change the zap-o-meter to a different setting. This time the sensation is an electronic pulse. Kind of a junior taser. My left leg would really jump. That was a good sign for them. It kinda of feels like the throbbing of a thumb that gets hit by a hammer. Times three. Of course they have to move the needles in and out to find the "sweet spot" here too. Then, when they have the right spots figured out they pull out the probes and stick in a needle with the magic juice to deaden the nerves. Wait 2 minutes for it to take affect. Then, they stick the actual ablation thingy down the hole, crank up the juice on the machine, and it's over. The ablation takes less than 30 seconds each and it's over. Kind of anti-climatic.
In and out in less than 2 hours. Had a great visit with Dr. Naidu. Dr. Melanie Henry, the big boss, slipped in and out without getting her picture taken. Either that or she was in a hurry to get back to the tollhouse pan cookies Dale made for them.
There you go. It took a week before the pain in my back from the procedure subsided enough to let me know that the pain in my back wasn't so bad. 2 weeks and the pain was mostly gone and the back pain is much less. It makes the end of each day so much more enjoyable without the throbbing pain in my back. Thank you to all of the Drs. and staff that did that made that possible for me.
Wes drove home and stopped in Gilroy at Applebees and had a rack of ribs each. Oh yea. Because I DIDN'T need any general anesthesia, I could have eaten up to the time of the procedure! So I made up for the lack of breakfast and lunch with the ribs and mashed potatoes. Ta ta for now. Thanks for everything.