Well, I had my prehospitalization visit today with my neurologist and learned a little more. As you may know, lidocaine is primarily a cardiac drug, used to combat arrythimias. So this means that I'll have a detailed heart monitor set up to me throughout my visit. I was told that the general side effects tend to be sedation and, in some cases, visual hallucinations (but oh well, even though I haven't had a conversation with a chair since I stopped taking Ambien, I feel I can handle this ).
I go in to the hospital on Monday and I'm told that the typical period of treatment is 5-7 days, with the discharge goal being to have 24 straight headache-free hours (unheard of!). As I think I mentioned before, I don't feel all that optimistic going in, as I was told before my last inpatient hospital stay that most cases crack during hospitalization and, of course, mine didn't, even as the stay approached two weeks. But apparently the lidocaine really does work for a lot of people who haven't responded to other therapy in the past. If I don't respond within two weeks, then I'll receive my "dishonorable discharge" (as it were...sorry, I feel oddly inclined toward bad jokes today) and we'll consider other options.
Before I mention those other options, I want to let you guys know a little about what happened in my last hospitalization. I was admitted and treated with the same 24 hour goal in mind, but administered a general cocktail of DHE, Toradol, Benedryl, and various anti-emetics. Soon after their ideal 4-5 day window passed, they realized that I wasn't responding to these drugs and threw in a bunch of neuroleptics: thorazine, haldol, etc. Again, no response. After 11 days it was time for university classes to begin and I was discharged. The reason I mention all of this, other than for its own sake, is that I will be treated with these drugs in addition to the lidocaine I receive in the hospital starting next week. So a lot is going to be going on; I think they're trying to blitzkrieg my head and hope it folds.
One final thing: about a year ago I tried receiving nerve blocks in various areas of my head, face and neck, as many of you may have tried as well. Unfortunately, I did not receive any lasting relief from this treatment. However, I was wonderously headache-free for about an hour and a half. This wasn't considered a success, since they look for days, weeks or months of relief, but it's something that gives me some hope in remembering it. As I'm sure is the case with many of us, I can barely remember what it feels like to not have a headache, so I told my neurologist that there must be some significance in the (temporary) relief I found. So we're trying to do a series of nerve blocks as well, hoping for longer results, maybe from repetition. This also brings up the next treatment we may consider if the lidocaine fails, which is an implanted nerve stimulator in my head (most likely on the occipital). Anyone have any experience or stories about this treatment that they can share? Although I'm not there yet, I feel that it may be my best hope.
To anyone who read all of this: wow. thanks.