Pain Medication

You’ve successfully come through the surgery, now comes the recovery period.

To get through the first few days, you’ll be offered a variety of pain medications, of which you will need less of as you recover. Hydromorphone, morphine, Tylenol 3, Demerol – these are just a sampling of what was offered to me, either by pump, pill or poke. Some I tolerated better than others.

Post-surgery, it is important not to let the pain get away from you. Take what is on offer, bearing in mind how you react to what you are given. If it doesn’t suit you for whatever reason, be sure to let the nurses or doctor know. For example, immediately post-surgery to fuse C – 1 and C – 2 (Cervical vertebra), I was given hydromorphone. I didn’t do well with this drug; the ability to communicate was doused and seemed to smoulder like a poorly extinguished bonfire. I knew what I wanted to say, but I couldn’t verbalize it. That is frustrating enough on its own, but coupled with the pain at the back of my head and on my hip (where they removed bone), it was a situation filled with angst. I did finally manage to ask for morphine later that same day.

I found that I was able to use less medication as a result of doing the stress techniques, which is a form of heart, mind and body work. I remember the Pain Doctor—yes, the hospital had a doctor dedicated to dispensing pain medication—remarking that he was surprised to see that I hadn’t used very much morphine. I attributed it to practising my stress techniques. “Well, I don’t know about that,” was his comment.

I think he missed an opportunity to discover why what I was doing was helping me heal, which could be of benefit to other patients.

For more tips on preparing for surgery, please visit the Surgery category on this blog. If you would like to learn about a program to help manage your pain, and increase your feelings of health and wellness, please click here.

Image courtesy of Sergio Roberto Bichara.

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4 Comments to “Pain Medication”

  1. I don’t ever want to take morphine again after surgery. My dog was on the second floor of the hospital chasing squirrels. Now, I knew and could tell you that there was no second floor. And I knew my dog couldn’t be up there because she was home and hospitals don’t allow dogs. I could also tell you that I knew I was talking crazy. But one part of my mind was still convinced that that is what was going on.

    • Oh my! What an awful experience you had with that.

      Reminds me of when my mom was on Haldol. She was so convincing when she told us about how her oncologist snuck in to see her wearing a disguise. It was a bit of gallow’s humour for us during a very trying time. When she was taken off of it, we all had a good laugh, even the oncologist.

      As I began to read your comment, I was wondering what the heck your dog was doing at the hospital. Thankfully, there are other options available.

  2. Oh, wow – Marianna, I didn’t realize that you had your surgery already. I’m hoping that it went well and that you have as quick and as smooth a recovery as possible.

    The mere fact that you were able to take less pain medication than normal due to practicing your anti-stress techniques is a good sign and I totally agree with you that the doctor should have kept an open mind and inquired further…

    Wishing you all the best,
    Dorlee

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