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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pain Management

I have always been a firm believer in in pain management for my patients. Even more so now that I've been on the other side.

This last weekend my family and I decided to visit friends and family. Early Sunday morning I woke up with some abdominal pain. Like any medical professional I started to try to diagnose myself. It was a sharp pain in center of my abdomen just below the rib cage. It wasn't radiating any where and there was no nausea or diarrhea. My first thought was a gas bubble, but the pain wasn't quite right for that. I then started thinking that it may have food poisoning, but the lack of nausea made me think that wasn't it. After about 30 minutes I woke my wife. I then spent the next hour trying different things to stop the pain. Tossing and turning in bed. I tried Ibuprofen and Tums. Nothing worked. Finally about three in the morning I decided that I better go to the ER. By this point the pain had started radiating to the right upper quadrant and had increased to a point where it was difficult to stand up straight.
Once I arrived at the ER I paced the waiting room while my wife checked me in. I know I was getting strange looks from the other people there but I didn't care. All I could think about was getting the pain to stop. As soon as my wife finished the paperwork I was seen by the triage nurse. When you're in excruciating pain this process takes forever. Thankfully I was immediately led to a bed. My poor wife had to watch me try to cope with the pain. I vacillated between pacing and rolling around on the bed. I figured out how to look on the computer and tell not only how busy they were in the ER but it kept a timer on how long I had been waiting. 28 long minutes later the ER doc came in and asked a few questions. Ten minutes after that the nurse came in and started my IV. I asked her what I was going to be getting for the pain. She said that the MD had originally ordered 4mg of Morphine. The nurse had seen me walk back to my bed and knew that Morphine wasn't going to cut it. She talked the doc into ordering 2 mg of Dilaudid. That was about the point at which I told the RN that I loved her. The first milligram lessened the pain from a 10/10 on the pain scale to 8. The second one almost eliminated my pain.

By this point I had surmised that I had gallstones. The rest of the day was spent getting more dilaudid and going through tests. Between the ultrasound, the x-rays and the contrast photos the conclusion was reached that my gall bladder had to come out.
It's now the day after the surgery and a lot of the pain has subsided. This entire experience has reaffirmed my belief in pain management. Speaking of which, it's time for my meds.

8 comments:

Hydrant girl said...

Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Michelle said...

Hope you get well soon! I love reading you and your wife's blogs!

melaniek said...

Get well soon! Thank God for painkillers and people who understand how necessary pain management is:)

Firefighter/Paramedic said...

Thanks everyone for the get well wishes. This morning I finally made it home (I was discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon but stayed the night at my parents). I'm still really sore but glad to be home.

brian said...

Glad to read you're doing better. I had a ongoing mystery epigastric ailment that presented like an MI and sent me to the ER several times.

Last time (a year ago), they shot me up with enough Dilaudid to knock out Keith Richards.It was lovely.

get well soon...

j cubed said...

I'm glad you are feeling better. You have been in our prayers. We love you and think you are AMAZING!

melaniek said...

How did you feel after the surgery, like how sore were you? Just wondering what to expect so I can try to figure out exactly how to plan this with the three kiddos. And how do you feel now after a week or so of recovery?

Firefighter/Paramedic said...

After my surgery I had to have a drain placed because of an infection. That caused a good amount of pain. Once discharged from the hospital I only used pain meds for the first day. My abdominal muscles are still sore but it's not to horrible. After a week I was trying to get the MD to clear me to go back to work. The toughest part of recovery so far was the staples. Get sutures if you can.

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