>[View Baclofen Pump Part 1]

I spent April 14 in the hospital having the baclofen trial. Physical therapists visited me first, assigning numbers and measurements to the spasticity in my legs and arms. Then a doctor (and team)injected baclofen into my spine.

The spinal injection was the scariest part for me. In 1981, I had a spinal tap and myelogram to diagnose my MS. The injection site somehow didn’t get closed. For several days thereafter, I threw up every time I lifted my head. It felt like my brain was scraping against my skull. The nurses this time warned me of the possibility of what they called a “spinal headache.” The injection itself was not a big deal. (They do topical anesthetic first.) The next hour, waiting to see if the spinal headache developed, was the scary part.

Happily, it didn’t.

The rehab doctor checked me about an hour after the injection and I was still very stiff. She told me it was early days and went away again. The physical therapists and doctor returned to check me two more times. At the height of its effect, the baclofen made it so that my legs were very easy to bend and move around. (Not for me to move them, because the MS damage has limited those signals.)

A representative of Medtronic stopped into my hospital room to answer any questions I had about the pump.

The main point of the trial was to see if my body responds to the baclofen, and it did.

I have decided to go ahead with the baclofen pump surgery. (To be scheduled sometime in the future.) I have confidence that I will be in less pain and will be able to sleep better. I don’t know that, overall, it will make our lives easier. It’s impossible to predict how hard transfers will be when we don’t have my stiff legs on which to pivot.

At the moment, my legs are so stiff that I don’t know that anyone who isn’t as strong as my husband could help me transfer. We have to figure out how to get him some backup and making it possible for someone else to do the job seems like a first step.