Friday, March 21, 2008

Last night SUCKED.

Going cold turkey on pain meds is not a good idea. This I discovered last night when I barely got any sleep, was hot-and-cold all at once, couldn't get comfortable, felt irritable, kept waking up, felt like crying without knowing why, my arms ached, my back ached... all this on top of dealing with the pain in my leg (which I've, up until now, been protected from). Burning, throbbing, prickling... all at the site of the hematoma and stitches. What made it doubly worse was that I couldn't move positions; I'm still pretty much relegated to lying on my back, since lying on your side is not advised this early on. The pain I probably could have handled but the irritability and discomfort on top of it all just was too much to bear.

Idiot that I am, I fell victim to the stigma of taking narcotics and started to feel guilty or worried about taking/needing them and, with mant hurdles already overcome in the last week, this was one of the few I had left. This, of course, is thoroughly ridiculous because the only person who knows what I need is me: what's right for someone else and all that. I have never denied that I have a low pain threshold. Plus, I firmly believe that alleviating your pain to a level that is bearable for you, enables you to recover more swiftly, keeping your spirits and energy up, and giving you the opportunity to move around and develop strength/stamina without excrutiating pain. If that can be done without pain meds, great, but that decision should be made based upon your pain threshold not based upon any stigma or guilt about taking them.

I was reminded of this when reading some information I received about pain meds, post-op:

You are taking narcotics because you hurt. When your pain from surgery decreases, your need for the pain medicine will decrease. The fears you or your family may have about addiction could:
• Prevent you from taking pain medicine.
• Result in you "holding off" as much as possible between doses.
• Result in taking lower doses of pain medicine when you still hurt.

All of these result in needless suffering. Unrelieved pain robs your energy and takes away important time you could spend with your loved ones.

• Addiction rarely happens in patients taking pain medicine to relieve post-operative
pain (less than 1% of patients)
• Most people are able to reduce and/or stop pain medicine when the pain decreases
and/or disappears.

Anyway, I learned my lesson at about 4am this morning. For about the hundredth time, Hubby reminded me that narcotics should be decreased slowly and not stopped abruptly. He told me that, even if I was in danger of addiction (which he highly doubted, especially given my indomitable will-power in just about every other area of my life), that I had friends and family around me who loved me and wouldn't let that happen to me. He told me that the withdrawal symptoms I was going through were needless, that I could, would, and should get off the meds but properly and when the time was right. Then he gave me half a pill and, blissfully, I got 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

The one good thing about my little experiment is that I've learned that the level of pain I have right now is not excrutiating and could probably be managed with another type of OTC pain killer. So, all I need to do now is to wean myself off the Norco slowly and sensibly.

Again, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have Hubby as my husband. The last week has made me love him even more than I did before, if that's at all possible.

He's been impossibly supportive both physically and emotionally. He's changed the dressings to my wounds every other day, putting up with my squealing and squeamishness (I still won't look at the wounds). He moves me and my entourage of books, laptops, blankets, pillows, remote-controls, phones, and drinks around the house, so I can sit/be wherever is most comfortable at the time. He put on my socks when I couldn't reach down that far (although this wasn't his most accomplished skill, I have to say). He cooks for me, cleans around me, and watches whatever I want on the tv (ok, he does the latter all the time but he deserves the kudos anyway). He stays in when I want to and takes me out when I want to. He does thoughtful little things like setting out a mug and the sugar next to the kettle, so I can easily make myself a cup of tea during the day. He takes care of the dogs. He's listened to me as I talk myself through and out-of one of the many, sometimes irrational, little freak-outs I've had pre- and post-operatively, never tells me I'm being stupid or to snap out of it, yet always manages to offer words of comfort or logic, as needed. Not once has he made me feel as though I'm a pain or taking up too much time.

I truly am a very, very lucky girl. Thanks Hubby. I love you!


e said...

Yay hubbie! You're awesome.

And I think he makes an excellent point about weaning off the painkillers rather than going cold turkey. You've been on them for about 10 days now, going cold turkey is a shock to the system regardless of addiction.

And you are very strong, so addiction is really not very likely. You're doing really well, and the dosage you're taking is pretty low and decreasing.

I say trust yourself, you'll know if it starts shifting from being helpful to addiction, and you'll know when it's time to stop completely.

Linh and Yogi said...

sounds like hubby is well trained to take care of a pregnant wife...hehe...great to read you're doing fine and progessing back to your normal mobile self :o)

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