Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Back story Post 21 Aug 4

The surgery went well or so I was told as I awoke into a deep fog. All around me nurses were whirling, machines were pumping but I did not care. In my hand was a button which I was told was morphine for the pain. All I needed to do was squeeze the button when I felt pain and I would get immediate relief for about an hour. The pain was excruciating. My legs were wrapped in a machine that was pumping and massaging them. This I was told was so that no blood clogs could move up my body. I was numbed, drugged and helpless. It was about 3:30 PM. The surgery had been finished for about an hour. I was told that I would use the morphine button to get me through the night. I could not have any food, just juice for the next 12 hours. I could not get out of bed and every four hours I would receive a shot to keep my blood thin so I would not clot.

The pain was unbearable and every hour I would squeeze the button in my hand for relief. I held onto that button as if it was my only lifeline. The night was long with spurts of drifting in and out of consciousness. The pain would wake me every hour and I would squeeze the button for relief.

The next morning the nurse gave me pain killers (narcotics) antibiotics, prescription strength ibuprofen, something for the indigestion and stool softeners and then they took away the button! The narcotics did not kill the pain. The next day was the worse pain I have ever felt. With over 100 stitches inside the cavity of my pelvis I cried in pain. But the real pain was ahead of me. I had to get out of bed attached to an IV and a catheter. I still rammer the pain of just lifting my legs and swinging them to the side of the bed. I stepped down and fell into the chair next to the bed. The nurse who helped me told me that was a good job and now I could get back in bed. That was equally as painful. We would do that a couple of times that day and then in the afternoon she would help me take a few steps.

I was so fit. I was a fitness instructor. I was strong and here I was not even able to get out of bed! I lay in bed alone crying into the pillow. I was exhausted and as the next night began to creep in the pain and the exhaustion over took me.

I could not sleep. I lay awake taking my meds at 8 PM. The shift was changing and the night crew arrived. I large woman with a mean attitude came into my room and announced that she was the nurse for the night shift. She was so different than the other nurses who had been kind and caring. She had an attitude and obviously was an angry person. Now this part of the story is something I think needs to be told. Patient abuse does happen. I was unable to fend for myself. I was so vulnerable and so dependent upon the nursing staff. The pain intensified as the night wore on. The last traces of the morphine wore off. At about midnight I rang the nurse’s station and asked for the nurse. No one answered. It was time for my medication and the pain was intensifying. I called again at 12:30 AM. I was to receive the pain medication every 4 hours. It was now almost five hours. I called again and this time the nurse came into my room. She asked me what I wanted. I told her I needed the medication. She told me she was busy and would get it when she had the time. She left me in the bed in pain for another hour. When she arrived with the meds she threw them down on the table, kicked the bed and left.

I had a roommate who heard me crying and moaning in pain and assured me that she would be witness to me telling the doctors the next day about the abuse. I did report her. Abuse of patients does happen. I swore I would never be that vulnerable again. I would get out of bed and march right up to the nurses’ station and demand care.

So I said to myself – if you give into the pain and give into the fear you’ll never get through this – you need to move forward one step at a time and make a comeback. And so I did. Each day for the next five days, I got out of bed every 2 hours and I walked the length of the hall way in unbelievable pain as I shuffled one foot in front to the other but I was determined and each day I did a little more until on the fifth day I could walk three times back and forth the length of the hospital ward. I was determined. I was going home.

Doctor Lynn

No comments: