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Some dithering about being hospitalized

June 1, 2017


June 1, 2017

I feel like I”m crawling out from under the covers.  Man!  My nurse friends tell me that getting anesthetized for surgery has effects lasting a month or two or maybe three.  Looking back to weeks previous I can see that I’ve been operating as if in a dream.  My head is still filled with a strange smell of povidone iodine that a nurse swabbed the inside of my nose with.  Yet, I’m outraged because my hospital stay was damned unpleasant.

After surgery, every four hours a nurse brought me two pain tablets that would wear off after two hours.  Therefore, I had two hours of pain waiting for the magical three and 1/2 hour point when the nurse said she could give me more.  Punctuated throughout was the overpowering urge to urinate.  I found urinating into a pitcher to seem slightly, er, illegal or something.  Didn’t seem right.  Then I’d ring the nurse and a surly aide would appear to empty the pitcher.  I always ended with some dribbles of urine on me.

After the first 24 hours they had me give myself a shot of heparin subcutaneously in my belly flab.  Twelve hours later I gave myself another.  Then the nightmare started.  I got a new Night Nurse who noticed my discomfort in waiting for the last two hours before I could get another pair of pain pills.  I was in pain, man.

The previous nurse, a young man, had gotten an order to give me supplemental morphine between pain pill doses.  Night Nurse refused to give me the morphine.  She said I’d be sent to a nursing home for IV morphine because it can’t be given by mouth (yes it can.  However, you don’t give the Night Nurse any shit because only she can give you medicine to ease the intense suffering.)

Instead, Night Nurse announced that the pain pills were not strong enough (they were).  She said she was getting a doctor’s order for a stronger medicine, Dilaudid.  The normal time for pain medicine came and went.  Night Nurse came in and announced that she had left a message with the on-call doctor but hadn’t gotten a call back.  Finally after an hour and a half past the normal time for pain medicine, Night Nurse came in with two pills.  One was the Dilaudid, but the other was for cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxer.  Night Nurse was quite obviously proud of herself.  I had to wonder how the cyclobenzaprine, a tetracyclic antidepressant indicated as a muscle relaxer would interact with the three psychoactive meds I took daily, but I said nothing.  I didn’t want to give her any shit because it would only delay pain relief longer.  I got the combination of Dilaudid and cyclobenzaprine twice more before my surgeon came in to see me.  He pinched the leg he operated to replace the knee on.  Apparently finding it swollen, he said, “I’ll stop the heparin and start you on aspirin.”

See?  The Night Nurse didn’t know the source of my pain was probably the swelling caused by uncontrolled internal bleeding in my leg.  The surgeon switched me back to my previous pain med.

I ended up staying an extra night in the hospital eating the strange saltless food.  I ended up going home on oxygen because I hadn’t breathed enough during the nights while I waited for the pain relief meds.

End of my dithering.

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