After a sterile prep and draping, local anesthetic is placed to numb the area where the Epidural needle will be inserted. The needle for the Epidural passes between the vertebrae of the Spinal column to the Epidural space. Once the position is verified, a very small catheter(tube) is placed via the needle. The needle is then removed and the catheter remains in the Epidural space. The catheter is then taped to the patients back. Local anesthetics and narcotics are given epidurally via this catheter. The procedure usually takes 10 - 25 minutes.
How do I feel about getting an Epidural?
Initially, I was upset. I always thought the procedure sounded scary and painful; but, one thing you learn with cancer is nothing is as bad or as easy as you anticipate. I didn't think I could ever stand a foley catheter, but after minor complications with my first surgery, when I had no choice but to get one, I realized it wasn't that bad.
One of my favorite artists is Kate Bush, and I'm reminded of her lyrics from "Walk Straight Down the Middle" that sum up the reality of anything tough in life, including my next surgery:
But he thought, he was going to die
But he didn't
And she thought, she just couldn't cope
But she did
And we thought it would be so hard
But it wasn't
It wasn't easy, though.