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The sharp end of the dural puncture

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 08 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:127
  1. Evelyn C Weir, lecturer
  1. Edinburgh

    As the pain of a sudden onset dural puncture headache was searing and spreading like hot molten metal I forgot what I was there for. The pain of the contractions disappeared into the head pain. Three failed epidurals, two spinal blocks, and a few incisions into a caesarean section the head pain was all consuming, the lights surreal and too bright, and the only sound that I could hear through the ringing woolliness was my own screaming. My head. Please help me. “Patient not coping. Converted to general anaesthetic. Delivered of female infant.”

    Recovering from the anaesthetic I forgot that there had been a baby, only remembering the headache, which seemed to have gone. In morphined confusion I cried a bit and turned away from the baby, and the headache came back. “Patient lying down. Unable to care for baby. Not coping. Very upset.”

    Four days and two painful blood patches later the headache resolved enough to allow me to stand up and let light and life back in. The anaesthetist sat on my bed and stroked my hair. Tears …

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