Posted by: Thixia | April 20, 2008

Spinal Tap – Bonnie’s Experience 2 of 2

When I was booked for my lumbar puncture the neurologist’s nurse said “Drink a lot of coke during the day before your lumbar puncture, as well as on the day you have your lumbar puncture, in the morning before you actually have it”.  She continued, “The more coke you drink the better it will be afterwards.”  She also told me not sit up for several days afterwards and to have someone drive me home after the lumbar puncture was performed.  I was to stay as flat as possible, for as long as necessary. 


I kept thinking that ‘Lumbar Puncture’ sounded so ominous.  I knew that lumbar meant the spinal cord and that puncture meant hole.  I wondered who would knowingly want to have someone create a hole in any area of their spinal cord.  Then I suddenly realized that I was one of those crazy people, I wanted that hole, I wanted that diagnosis.



Drinking coke at 7:00 AM in the morning was difficult.  I arrived at the hospital at 8:00 A.M. and went to the day surgery department.  I was directed to a private room.  I was given the usual hospital gown with the opening gaping in the back.  Of course I was told to change into the gown ‘with the opening toward the back’.  Further instructions stated that I was to wait on the bed and the doctor would be with me shortly. 


Then the nurse proceeded to get out a sterile pack wrapped in green material.  She donned vinyl gloves and carefully and methodically opened the pack and spread the contents on a metal tray that had also been in a sterile green wrap.  She cautiously arranged two large syringes with very long needles, two small metal bowls, one large metal bowl, a pair of tongs, some gauze, and various other items on the tray.  I kept looking at those syringes.  I couldn’t take my eyes off them.


The neurologist breezed in and donned his rubber gloves and confused me by directing me to sit on the edge of the hospital bed.  When I was perched on the edge, the nurse rolled a hospital food table in front of me, and put a pillow on it.  The doctor instructed me to lean across the table and hug the far side.  It was all very bewildering.  All accounts that I had heard involved the patient laying on the side, curled up in the fetal position.  I also heard horror stories about experiencing a great deal of pain when they felt the needle being inserted.  This was very different.


In my odd position I felt the doctor’s cool fingers on my back, followed by a cold sensation of solution of disinfectant on my back.   While I waited for the needle insertion the nurse gave me sips of coke.  The doctor and I carried on a conversation of small talk.  I kept wondering when he was going to put that long needle into my back.  After a short time the doctor said, “Okay, all done.  Please lay down on your side for a few minutes.” 


I hadn’t felt the needle.  So I said, “Are you really finished.” 


He chuckled lightly and said, “I do it differently than most do.”  He took off his gloves and said, “Phone and make an appointment to see me in the office, when you get home.  See you then.”  And he walked out the door.


When I arrived home my children had brought the TV upstairs and had arranged the living room as a temporary hospital room.  They had also rented a few movies to be viewed during my recovery.


For the next few days I lay around watching TV, reading, sleeping, and sipping coke.  I seldom had to get off the couch.  When I did I received a piercing headache for my efforts.  One of my children held a glass of coke and a straw for me to drink until the headache waned.  I was served all my meals on the couch.  I slept a great deal.


I did experience some dizziness when I stood or sat up.  I am sure that the bad experiences that I could have had were diminished because of the coke and not having to get up too often. 


The caffeine in the coke helps to dilate the blood vessels and the vessel containing the spinal fluid.







  1. Bonnie, I know you posted a long time ago about your spinal tap, but THANK YOU so much for doing so. I’ve been scared sick about this, and you completely relieved my fears! Bless you!

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