I am writing this while waiting for today’s instalment of treatment on my problematic lower back and spine.
I’ve been having increasingly constant and aggressive pain in my back and sciatic pain in both my legs over recent months. I cannot sit, stand, or lie down without pain, which is both affecting everything I do and depriving me of sleep.
My neurosurgeon has prescribed an epidural injection of steroids into my back, done under CT scan guidance.
I know it is a treatment a lot of people have, but that doesn’t stop me feeling anxious about it. I am looking forward to the respite from constant pain, but it’s not a process I am looking forward to.
So, I am filling in the time by wondering about the meaning and origin of the word ‘epidural’. It’s a frequently used word in relation to one of the kinds of anaesthetic used during childbirth, and people generally understand that is blocks pain from the waist down, but that is not my circumstance. I’m definitely not giving birth today!
The Macquarie Dictionary definition, while accurate, was not entirely helpful.
Having looked up ’epidural’, I then had to look up ‘dura’.
Just like that, I’m already learning things I didn’t know.
So, I can deduce that I am having an injection through the tough outer lining of my spinal cord.
To be honest, this research isn’t really reassuring me about the procedure at all.
According to Etymonline, the prefix epi- means on or above, and came into English from Greek.
The term dura mater dates back to about 1400 AD, coming from the Medieval Latin ‘dura mater cerebri’ which translates to “hard mother of the brain,” a term which was borrowed from the Arabic ‘umm al-dimagh as-safiqa’, which means “thick mother of the brain.”
And so I wait, informed and still apprehensive of what is to come.
All I can say is I really, really hope this works.