18 days post surgery: Pain!

Warning: this may be more honest and blunt than you want to read. But to be dishonest would not serve my readers, nor would it be helpful to me.

I had every intention of blogging daily once I returned home from surgery. So much for good intentions. I also had every intention of being off pain medications and feeling a lot better by now. Not so much. My biggest impediment – PAIN!

Pain is defined by McGraw-Hill as: Pain, especially in its acute form, is usually a reflection of a tissue-damaging or potentially tissue-damaging stimulus. There is a transmission system that conveys this information to the central nervous system. This phenomenon is called nociception. Pain is more complex than other sensory systems such as vision or hearing because it not only involves the transfer of sensory information to the nervous system, but produces suffering which then leads to aversive corrective behavior. Acute pain such as occurs with broken bones and other significant injuries is almost inevitably accounted for by the phenomenon of nociception and is probably a purely neurophysiological event. However, the more pain becomes a chronic phenomenon, the more such influences as psychological factors and behavior become part of the expression of pain.

According to my physicians, my surgery can cause a broad range of pain experiences from minimal to excruciating. Sadly, I am closer to the latter category. I fully intended to be on little or no pain medication 2 1/2 weeks post surgery; yet I am still on the maximum dose of Percocet (one of the strongest narcotics). Sometimes my dose leads to relative comfort (as in now – the reason I am sitting here typing). Other times, it merely takes the rough edges off of the pain.  It does not help that I am experiencing broken bone pain, muscle pain, and skin/nerve pain. To make matters worse, I inflamed an intercostal muscle (muscle between ribs) and this makes it painful to take sudden deep breaths and to cry.

Crying is a result of the last type of pain, emotional. I feel tired much of the time. I also feel moody, impatient, bored, and at times (brief times) hopeless. I do know that I am doing better. My walks are considerably longer – I am walking 3 times per day for 21 to 25 minutes and am covering a much greater distance and have added an incline. I get up and down, in and out of furniture, cars, etc with ease (hint – SQUATS are a must in preparing for heart surgery). While I do not have an appetite, I am eating at least twice per day and am eating relatively healthy foods. I dress every morning. While I cannot do my hair (I am not supposed to lift my elbows higher than my shoulders), I comb it and wear a headband.

But the pain has made it impossible to concentrate on anything for very long. I have watched a lot of mindless television, some movies, and have flipped through a couple of magazines. I had hoped to be reading books, napping, and enjoying my healing time. So far, not so much.

I had a very long (and, of course, painful) cry today and feel a bit more peaceful now. I have decided that, starting tomorrow, I will try to keep a more structured schedule. I will continue my walks, meals, shower, etc. But I am also going to return to blogging. I have a lot to say about this experience and need to say it before I forget.

While today’s post may not be my most well written, it is a start back. Even though I have not been writing, my readers and the blog have been on my mind. You have been very good for me and I can only hope that I have touched, amused, educated, or entertained some of you. For now, I will close. I want to take advantage of this rare respite from pain.

6 thoughts on “18 days post surgery: Pain!

    • Sadly, just miserable most of the time. But I won’t give up. I know that continuing to put one foot in front of the other will eventually take me out of this and on to the next (hopefully less painful) thing. This is the worst pain I have ever experienced – much worse than childbirth.

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