Facing my fear..me, a friend and a spinal tap-oh my!

Nurses General Nursing


Ok...I want to be a nurse. The only thing I fear is watching a patient have a spinal tap. Ugh......Anyway, a friend of mine was having double vision and had an LP. LP results came back and she had viral meningitis(BTW, is that contagious?). Well, now her right side has gone numb and she has to go for another LP this week.

She is going to Boston for it and I offered to go with her for moral support. I know that if I was in her place, I would be super scared and want to put aside my fears to help a friend.

That said, I have not discussed with my friend how she wants or needs support. Will she want me in there while the procedure is being done or there afterwards? What normally happens during an LP? What can I do to be the best support to my friend and be respectful of the medical staff and their job?


295 Posts

Being an observer of someone you know getting a Spinal Tap may not be the best idea for the first time. You may not even be allowed to be there but: she will need to be on her side curled into the fetal position. If you are allowed in the room, your best bet would be facing her, holding her hand and just talking to her to try to distract her, reminding her the most important job she has is to lay (lie) very still and try to relax! Good luck


414 Posts

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend's condition,meningitis is such a terrible disease.Bacterial meninigitis is ten times more contagious than the viral one...I think there shouldnt be any problems with letting you watch the procedure being done,it is not so bad as it sounds,I had the opportunity to watch doctor doing thoracentesis (it is a similar procedure to spinal tab) you basically stick the needle in the intercostal space....well good luck!

Jules A, MSN

8,863 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

Derailing a bit here but have they considered MS? (if you don't know now is probably not the time to ask her) Did she have a MRI? Hope she is better soon.

You know, when she started having the numbness, I thought of MS as well. I did not mention that to her though.

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