Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Post-Surgery Pain

After I made my first post about my surgery and all of the pain I was in, several people asked me how it is that I can feel pain given the fact that I'm a quadriplegic. When you're paralyzed it doesn't necessarily mean that you lose all sensation from your level of injury on down. Some people do, but others don't, or they may have partial sensation. I, personally, can still feel head to toe which has its pros and cons. The major con is obviously experiencing pain.

When I met with my new urologist at the end of January we talked about doing the procedure to remove all of the tiny, sand-like kidney stones. I asked her what to expect as far as recovery time from the procedure since it was a more invasive way of removing stones. She said to expect a four week recovery, which really surprised me. I thought I would surely be healed and feeling back to normal in a week. The surgery was on a Tuesday and I naïvely thought that I would feel well enough to go to church the following Sunday. I definitely wasn't up for that since I'd just been released from the hospital the previous afternoon. I seriously underestimated just how much the surgery would take out of me!

When I came to after the surgery I was in a lot of pain. For the next several days any time I had to be moved (whether it was the doctors turning me to see how I was healing, or me having a bath or being repositioned) it hurt so badly! Every bump and jostle caused a surge  of pain. I tried several different pain meds from morphine to norco to oxycodone to toradol. Some of the drugs worked better than others, but nothing worked as well as I would've liked.

When I wrote about going to interventional radiology in THIS post I didn't write about how painful it was. (They removed the nephrostomy tube from my kidney and inserted a chest tube to drain the fluid from my lung.) They gave me some fentanyl to mildly sedate me, but I was still fully conscious the entire time. Every time they did something that hurt, my body would react to the pain by flinching or spasming. Sometimes the spasming/shaking would go on for a good 10 seconds before my body would relax and stop shaking. Then a minute or two later I'd feel another jolt of pain and the whole thing would start all over again. The next day the resident radiologist who had helped with the procedure asked me if I'd been experiencing a lot of pain during the procedure. I said, "Yes!" He said that they'd been surprised and had even given me extra fentanyl and pain medication, but I told him that it didn't really do much good. It's a good thing I have such a high pain tolerance and that I'm not a lightweight when it comes to pain.

Today marks four weeks since my surgery and I'm still in pain. The deep, internal pain has mostly subsided, but I still have a considerable amount of superficial pain on the surface of the skin which surprises me considering the fact that it's been a month since the surgery. My left side has been hypersensitive ever since my accident, but the surgery's just made it worse. When I first got home three weeks ago I would wince in pain any time my skin was touched while being bathed or dressed. Things are slowly getting better, but being touched is still quite painful. I guess the doctor was right on when she said to expect a four week recovery!

I hope this helped clarify everyone's questions about my pain.


jamie @ [kreyv] said...

Oh my goodness! So sorry you are in so much pain. I hope you feel back to normal asap!

Elaine said...

This just makes me sad. So sorry you have been experiencing so much pain. Hope it ends soon.

Julie said...

Thank you for explaining the pain thing, I didn't understand it before but do now.

I hope the pain from your op eases soon.

I'm a person who isn't very good with pain. I used to get very bad period pains which sometimes made me cry. They seem to have been replaced by painful migraines.

Take care.

Julie said...

Whoops, I didn't mean to write the word pain so many times!

Webster said...

Thanks for the explanation of your experience with pain... and why. Knowledge is a terrible thing to waste.

sadia said...

Makes me sad hearing this hope you get well soon !

Mary M. said...

That's good to know about the pain you feel when being touched. Sorry if I hurt you touching your arm last week. Hope you are feeling back to normal soon.

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