Recovery — Day 1: The story of pain management

Today has been about pain management for Jenny.

It really started where I left off with the surgery day timeline from yesterday evening at about 9:30 p.m.

Our only goal for the night is to get another way to get pain medication — a way that doesn’t require her to wake up every 10 minutes.

At the time, she was pushing a button to get immediate morphine through her IV. It sounds great, but it required her to push the button every 10 minutes.

That’s no way to sleep.

That was Jenny’s point when she asked the overnight nurse for another option. That conversation did not go well. It ended with Jenny in tears of frustration and basically telling the nurse to go away. The nurse was not communicating the complicated situation clearly, Her body language was bad, and her real language was condescending (unintentionally, I believe — but I’m always thinking sunshine and roses).

Jenny didn’t feel like she was being heard.

She really wasn’t being heard.

At one point, the nurse said …

“… I’m just trying to figure out what you want me to do about it, sweetie.”

I ducked at that point. Jenny was already on the edge, and that wasn’t going to go over well. Hiding my eyes was the only thing I could think of doing. Jenny was really upset.

The bottom line is that Jenny was on a restricted diet. She couldn’t take narcotic pain pills without eating something. The nurse could increase the dosage through the pump, but it still needed to be manually pumped by the patient.

We were at a standstill. Until the charge nurse with better bedside manner came in and explained things a bit better. Eventually, she came back to report they would call the doctor that was on-call.

Thankfully, the doctor took her off the diet restrictions. She took a pill that lasted much longer. And she ate a couple of crackers and drank some juice.

After all that, she was able to get through the night with tolerable pain and a little bit of sleep.

By this morning, she was on her phone and catching up on all the well-wishes she received yesterday.

Jenny was still in pain this morning. But it was much better than last night.

Jenny was still in pain this morning. But it was much better than last night.

Jenny is healing according to plan. The doctors are happy with the incisions, etc.

The goals today …

  1. Hold down a liquid breakfast so she could have a real lunch.
  2. Move to a chair to sit for a few hours.
  3. Walk around the nurse’s station a couple times.
  4. Have the catheter removed (if she does all the above).

The good news is that she made it.

Here she is in the chair in the afternoon. It was actually her second visit to the chair.

She's sitting up. Yay!

She’s sitting up. Yay!

And she walked at about 1:45 p.m. Then she did it again at about 3 p.m.

Here’s a picture of her walking toward Bill.

Go, Jenny, go!

Go, Jenny, go!

(I have to say that the day nurse in this picture has been wonderful.)

Jenny has spent the day chatting with Bill and Linda. I can’t get a word in with that group (that’s just a joke, you know).

She’s been in consistent pain, but it’s the type of manageable pain that she expected after this surgery — not the kind that had her so frustrated last night.

And the catheter is gone, giving her one more step toward freedom.

Things are looking up.

7 thoughts on “Recovery — Day 1: The story of pain management

  1. Glad to hear that Jenny is doing so well so soon after the surgery. She is up and around — and keeping food down. Even smiling for the camera.

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