Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ahhh...MUCH better!

Okay. Take a guy with lots of arm hair, partially shave SOME of of the hair, cut his arm open, put lots of tape on the incision, wrap it in a thick, fuzzy cottony substance, and then wrap an ace bandage just a teeny-tiny bit too tight on the area you're operated on. The result is a combination of intense pain and itching in your "victim."

So it was with me and my recent arm surgery. I believe I made things worse by not taking the pain meds as prescribed. "Bad, Rob. Bad!" Relax. I wasn't taking MORE. I was, in fact, taking less. The doc had prescribed only 40 tablets of the lowest dose of percocet. (That's the 5/325 tablets, in case you were wondering.) According to the bottle, I could take one or two as needed every four hours. I managed to reason, however, that I was already on some strong stuff, and needing that many tablets probably wasn't going to happen. Besides...if I took them exactly as prescribed, what with the initial pain of surgery usually requiring two at a time, I would have less than four days of tablets. I wanted to make them last.

Thus, I made myself suffer the first 48 hours after surgery. I would not pop pills as often as I could to get relief. I would find a comfortable position in bed and rest. I brought up the sweeling in my hand in my post-op post. Well, I was given the simple solution of elevating my arm above my heart to fix that. This method helped, but only slightly. After that...Well, there was no such thing as a "comfortable position in bed." Elevated, not elevated, across my chest, across my stomach, lying on my back, lying on my stomach, doing something, doing nothing...I was in absolute AGONY!

I finally succumbed to the pain, grabbed the prescribed meds, and popped two. I got some relief, and managed to sleep for all of two hours. (Go me!)

Upon waking up, however, I discovered an old problem that seemed to be getting worse. I had an absolutely maddening itch under the dressing. Because my pain seemed to be everywhere, I didn't know where to scratch if I were to try and get something inside. (Not wise to start with, but I was in a pretty bad way.) So now I had a new issue, and drugs wouldn't help. Should I unwrap it and scratch, then redress the wound? Or should I follow instructions and leave the dressing on until Sunday? My internal argument toward unwrapping was only strengthened by the fact that I now have my own little wound care kit right here at home.

The itch won the fight. Off came the ace bandage, (and was stunned by all the padding that was put into this thing). Off went the fuzzy, cottony stuff. (Enough padding, I think, to stop a bullet.) Off came the gauze on the incision.

And in came the nausea.

Many, many moons ago, I visited Mush in med school. He brought me down to his gross anatomy lab and showed me the cadaver on which he and other students were learning. And after viewing another human being splayed open like a Christmas turkey, you know what bothered me most? The smell of the formaldehyde. That I could see deep into his chest cavity was okay. The stink of the preservative chemical is what made me want to leave quickly.

That said, I can handle many things visually. In "Sean of the Dead," I believe it's when the character of David is killed, I was most impressed by the seemingly anatomically correct rending of his torso. That was pretty neat. But show me any significant amount of my own blood and my stomach does a few flips...and not the kind I get when talking to Becky.

Ah, but the bandages were off, I could see where the incision was, and I SCRATCHED! Praise, G-d, I was able to get some relief!

And then it hit me that I'd received another kind of relief. I wasn't in nearly as much pain. In fact, I was in almost NO pain! Oh, I can understand that the pressure dressing was there to stop bleeding and such, but if I had known to loosen the bandage a bit to get some pain relief, I wouldn't have spent 48 hours with so little sleep, or trying to keep my moans of pain to a bare minimum. (Yes, Becky...I did some moaning when I wasn't in earshot of anyone. It's not...manly.)

I re-wrapped the incision after I was done tending to the maddening itch, then set about marveling at how much better I felt without the pressure on the surgical site. My marveling included six hours of sleep. Interrupted sleep, but sleep nonetheless. (It was interrupted by a particularly gory nightmare, ending with me being killed by a pair of psychopaths. (During the second round of my mini-sleep-fest, I dreamt of an explanation as to how mythology, history, and current theology all fit together and remain true. (The Earth was, in fact, flat until Columbus went on his sailing "vacation." That's when G-d fixed it.)))

Strange dreams and sufferings now in the past, I feel MUCH better. I still need to be careful about what I do - no bending the hand at odd angles or the like. Although it's kind of late, I've actually felt safe taking a Xanax, knowing I'll be able to sleep comfortably and won't be waking up to fumble with pain meds in the dark (That last bit can be a tad dangerous.) So it is that I am feeling so much better that my mind can focus on a few extras.

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Like the fact that NO ONE commented on my post which featured a picture of my sweet, beautiful Becky. That's my lady, folks. Do what you all do on GitP and say nice things about her, even if you're LYING!

No...Don't lie. Be truthful...and say nice things about her regardless of your honest opinion. =P

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I'm not sure if Susan has had her surgery yet. I imagine it would have happened by Friday, at the very latest, but I could be wrong. Meanwhile, my prayers remain with her on as speedy a recovery as possible. And if you or your husband is reading this post, and the pain/itching is incredibly high, just loosen the bandages a bit. =P

Seriously, I hope all is as well as it can be. For me, a nerve was relocated. For her, the entire right side of her hip is being removed. The quest for recovery will likely be long and arduous, but one can always pray in the hopes that G-d can lend a divine hand in her trials.

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