Friday, October 7, 2011

Q-Tips are a girl's best friend

Pain.  Oh, the pain.  Upon waking on day two, I was in pain.  The oh so special bed was proving to wreak havoc on my back.  Though it sounded like it would be a lovely and comfortable thing, and maybe it would be if you had a foot infection and weren't cut open, for an abdominal patient it killed.  I'm cut from about an inch above my belly button down to my pelvic bone on the front, with muscles that have been detached and rearranged.  I'm also cut on the tush.  This bed is very similar to a water bed in its fluidity, and thereby provided absolutely no support for my back.  Though I had an abdominal binder on (think large, Velcro girdle) it didn't do much to support me.  The binder did a great job of keeping my incision together but wasn't stiff enough on my back.  The bed allowed me to sink so far down in the middle that I couldn't get comfortable.  I was flat on my back.  As in flat.  Staring at the ceiling.  No pillow.  No way to roll, prop, even move.  To make matters worse, my 'pain button' aka the pcs, which is supposed to give me a jolt of the phentanol, doesn't appear to be working.  I press it, and continue to feel the pain getting worse. 

Barbara and Adam were my daytime nurses.  Barbara asked me to roll over to look at my incision on the backside, and i broke down in tears.  Not only was the pain getting worse and worse, but I couldn't move.  I felt totally immobile.  She kept arguing with me and I flat out refused.  She called down to the surgical unit to see if there was a way to get me to do it, and a representative came up and said I didn't have to if I didn't feel up to it.  I kept trying to convey to them that it wasn't a matter of me being belligerent, but if they could get me in a NORMAL bed and get my intensifying pain under control, that I'd roll over and show them.  They tried a bolus of the phentanol, which did absolutely nothing.  When Barbara and Adam realized that I wasn't just being difficult, they called down for the pain team to see if there was any way to better manage my pain.  For five hours I laid in the bed, unable to move, unable to do much of anything except whimper.  I was brought a basin and soap so I could get washed up.  I just stared in disbelief.  If I can't move, can't roll, and am in a severe amount of pain, do I REALLY care if my skin smells pretty? 

Well, 5 hours later, the pain team arrived and adjusted the dose of ketamine.  I went from being in extreme pain to in very little within 2 minutes.  Amazing.  I became a completely compliant.  Well, not completely, since I still was having a dickens of a time trying to roll over.  And since I was cleared of having to roll over until I was ready, I pretty much passed back out. 

I woke a short time later realizing I wasn't breathing too well.  All along, I was in a panic over breathing and the risk of vomiting, coughing, all of it.  Should any of that happen, I couldn't manage to lift my body up enough to clear my mouth or throat.  It's such a crappy feeling.  To help me from feeling like I was going to drown in bodily fluids, I asked Mom to pass me my Q-Tips.  I can't extol their praise enough.  See, one thing I don't think patients realize is you lose your ability to blow your nose when you're 1), cut open and 2), flat on your back.  Diamonds hold nothing over Q-Tips for me.  I was able to finagle the Q-Tips enough to clear my nose.  Truly, they are a girl's best friend.  Well, at least this girl.  Or any other ones who have been cut open for any particular reason.  Passing back out and breathing better with my oxygen still up my nose, it felt good to be pain free, if only for a few hours.....

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