Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial: Day 9

Device set on P2-6* to P2-7*

Day 9, Sleep improved slightly again, I do think the difficulty sleeping is largely due to the incision and the binding. By the end of the day my incision area is tender and feels swollen, it feeling like I’m lying on some sort of hard object like there is a rock in my bed. I started the day on setting P2-6* with the intention of changing it in the evening to P2-7*.

I sat again this morning for breakfast with Lindsey I made it for 35 minutes and then I needed to get up and was able to sit again a short time later for another 30 minutes. This is a pretty big improvement over my durability without the device. Mid-morning I drove, my gym is a 10 minute drive from home and usually a difficult drive and about the limit of what I can drive comfortably. It provided a good measuring stick to test my driving. I made it there and back driving for 20 minutes then I drove around the neighborhood too, adding on another 5-7 minutes. I was able to keep my foot on the brake pedal during stop lights and traffic, that is a huge improvement. Normal I pull the park brake at every red light.

When I spoke with the Nevro Rep, he informed me that the longer we went into the trial the more likely I was to have the leads move. We are at Day 10 which is typically the end of a trial. And it is entirely possible that the leads move and my improvements I am feeling end. I got the impression I was approaching the limit of programs and results I could expect. There are a limited number of programs that can be used during the trial from both a time perspective (12-18 hours per program) but also the number of programs the device can hold. That kind of took some of the wind out of my sails, I thought we would start fine tuning the results and improve things even more.

I am still firmly sitting on the fence. I hoped for more. But there have been improvements and depending on how you look at them they can be impressive or not. I have now sat a few times for 40-45 minutes, that’s a 400% improvement which sounds impressive until you realize it’s only 45 minutes. Is that worth another surgery? But, I’ve had 4 what’s one more? How do I say ‘no’ to any improvements?

My drive time has more than doubled, but it’s still only 25 minutes. On one hand that’s a 250% improvement on the other it’s still only 25 minutes. Is it worth a surgery, I needed to lay down for an hour after driving for 25 minutes. The surgery is a minor one compared to the fusions, but it’s still a surgery; and and with a recovery that lasts 8 weeks. At the end of the day I just hoped for more, I hoped for a crystal clear answer. I wanted to be blown away by this thing so there was no doubt that this device was for me. I haven’t gotten that.

As the evening approaches I change my setting to P2-7* I don’t notice any real change until I’m lying in bed, there is more intense nerve activity is in my leg. I try to see if it will just settle down, but after an hour or two it’s clear that this is going to keep me up all night so I turn it to P2-6* again, it takes a while longer to fall asleep.

SCS – Spinal Cord Stimulator

*The Nevro Spinal Cord Stimulator is programmed at the hospital with several pre-set programs. There are three programs P1, P2, and P3. Each program targets the spinal cord differently. Each program also has seven different setting that adjust the intensity or strength of the program. So a program may be referred to as P2-5 is Program 2 at the 5th highest strength of signal.

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