April 16, 2014

The Pain (part 2 of my hip replacement) ...including more graphic images *this is your warning*

When we last were together, I was comfortably ensconced in my private hospital room awaiting my Pain. Up until this point I had jokingly referred to this as my version of a spa retreat...no kids, getting to lie about, have food and drink served to me, opiates...

My surgery was not done under general anesthesia. I had a spinal block, which wore off slowly, ostensibly to allow a gradual introduction to Pain and a timely drug-related intervention.

Around 8:55 p.m., I began to sense some tingly pain-like inklings in my leg. As I had decided to listen to all advices and get the meds early and regularly DESPITE THE CONSTIPATION FACTOR and FORGOING POSSIBILITY FOR THE MED-FREE GOLD STAR, I buzzed the nurse to bring my first go-round with synthetic heroin. MMMMMmmmmmmm....

"Hi! I think I'm starting to feel Pain. I'd like my pain medication now please :)"

"Okay! She'll be right there :)" yes...there were smiley faces in the tones of voice.

At 9:10 p.m., no smiley face had arrived with my medication and the pain-like inkling had been correct and had bloomed into a giant fucking bright-red chrysanthemum of Pain. So I buzzed again...

"Hi...so...yeah...ummmmm...Pain is here. Could I please get some pain medication...now?" *whimper*

"Oh! Okay :) She'll be right there!" she could still smile because she wasn't sitting with Pain.

By 9:30 I was a caged, desperate animal caught in the jaws of PAIN. I was seriously ready to yank the IV shit out of my arm and somehow drag my sorry, post-op ass down the hall in search of "she" who had yet to arrive with my GODDAMNED HEROIN. But the whole falling thing kind of scared me so I tried buzzing again...

"HEY! SO IT REALLY FUCKING HURTS NOW! IS SOMEONE COMING? OR IS IT A LIE? BECAUSE I AM REALLY IN SOME SERIOUS FUCKING PAIN NOW AND I REALLY DON'T WANT TO WAIT. YOU GUYS ALL KEPT TELLING ME TO STAY ON TOP OF THE PAIN OR IT'S REALLY HARD TO GET RID OF. WELL, I FUCKING TRIED THAT AND NOW I AM REALLY FUCKING HURTING. SO WHAT IN THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO? WHEN IS THE HEROIN LADY COMING???? AND DON'T LIE TO ME!" I really said all of this and I really did say it in all caps...meaning I was shouting. Loudly.

"Oooo...oh...she's...ummmm...on her way right now. For real. You were right to ask for the medication earlier. She's coming now." that's right...no more fucking smiles. I felt so badly. I had just ruined everyone's night :(

The nurse came bustling in, totally apologetic and almost in tears. She gushed profusely about how horribly she felt and that I had every right to be super upset and she had been detained by a very needy patient that she couldn't just bail on...Of course I started crying and apologizing for being such a bitch. I liked it that she shushed me and then squirted the dilaudid into my IV thing.

As the pain melted away, it filled my stomach with nastiness. I threw up.

Then they gave me anti-nausea medication and all was right with the world again.

Every pain med dose was accompanied by vomiting and anti-nausea meds. It wasn't as much fun as it sounds.

The thing that made it even less fun was the constipation that accompanied the pain meds. By Thursday night, things were really bad. We had even transitioned from IV pain meds to pills, thinking that might help. Nope. They had even been giving me stool softeners since I had arrived. Nope. As I've mentioned previously, my system is 'sensitive' and I had not taken a shit since Saturday. We tried Miralax. Nope.

The nurse asked me if I wanted to try prune juice. Fuck it, I thought.

"Bring out the big guns," I told her.

Suffering the indignities of suppositories and enemas made NO difference. By the next morning, I was desperate. Seriously...what's left???? So I did the prune juice and the Phillips Milk of Magnesia. That took the edge off. Barely. *spoiler alert* I'm still constipated...almost TWO WEEKS LATER.

Part of the need to get me properly medicated wasn't just for "lolling about" comfort. They wanted me up and walking within 24 hours of surgery. THAT was fun. Getting out of the bed was the worst of it. For some reason, the shifting caused a white-hot nerve pain on the whole front of my thigh. If you watched the video linked in my last post, you'll see why...they retracted a nerve and it gets really pissed when you do that. This was scream-like-a-skewered-human pain. And it stuck around for a few minutes. Once I was up from the bed, I was good. But that Thigh of Fire made it really hard.

My first few walks were from my bed, out of my room and about 15 feet down the hall and back. I was also given three bed exercises – ankle pumps (alternate flexing and pointing your feet), thigh squeezes (tighten your quads) and glute squeezes. Believe it or not, it was all exhausting.

Needless to say, I am now 2 weeks post-surgery and things are a little better. I no longer take narcotic pain meds...just ibuprofen. I'll give more details on the rehab soon, but I have almost graduated from my walker to my cane.

And my 10.5-cm incision is healing nicely...

Day 3
Day 14

And the best thing? My kids' Spring Break is almost over. Yes, I've had kids crawling all over me since I got home from the hospital. And yes, it's about as restful and healing as you are imagining. And I wonder why I'm constipated.





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