A Spinal Tap removes a small amount the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal chord by using a big scary needle. The spinal fluid is like the brain’s smart food, it has proteins and nutrients and microscopic Cliffs Notes books in it. By analyzing this smart liquid my doctors would be able to determine whether or not I had meningitis.
I was terrified at the idea of a needle being poked from the outside world to the inside of my spine.
All I had ever heard about spinal taps was how painful they were. But for me, the procedure turned out to be more uncomfortable than painful.
Luckily, my back was numbed with lidocaine and I had another human’s hand to hold to keep me connected to real life. The doctor warned me that he was essentially going in blind; driving a car with a blindfold. I had to be his eyes. So when he hit my vertebrae I had to say so. This was not hard because whenever this happened an involuntary ‘eek’ ‘ack’ or ‘ayiyi’ blurted out of my mouth. After several of these expulsions, my foot started twitching. Suddenly, I turned into a puppet. Slurring my words I said “Whas going on, my FOOT!”
Which foot? The doctor asked. It was so hard for me to think. I remembered, the left hand makes the letter L, but my arms were crossed, and I was laying on my side, so my legs were crossed over one another too. Plus I was sedated, and drooling a little bit, which was distracting. Twitching away, I realized it was my left foot. Feeling confident in my decision, I proudly said “Left!” After my final answer, the doctor reassured me, he was almost there. Almost there meaning he went too far and hit my spinal chord, but I couldn’t blame him, he was driving blindfolded.
Once my brain food was collected the doctor told me I might experience some Spinal Tap Headaches. The little bit of fluid that was removed from my spine changed the level of fluid surrounding my brain, as well as the pressure of the fluid in the spine, causing intense headaches when you sit up from laying down, stand up from sitting, or sometimes just turn your head. The headaches were maddening. But eventually they went away, and I turned back into happy Heather once again.