Monday morning I learned a difficult lesson; I didn’t have my pain meds under control!! When trading out the IV clicker for pills the previous night, I underestimated the amount of pills that I would need to compensate. As the morning progressed, I found the pills giving me shorter periods of relief. In my typical fashion, I tried to grin and bear it, but finally found myself with too much pain for too long. In serious need of immediate pain relief, my nurse gave me a direct injection of Dilaudin, a heavy hit of narcotics. This landed me in “Alice in Wonderland” while Shannon wiped the drool from my face. For the longer term, they raised my regiment of Oxycodone and Lyrica which I have since found to work pretty well.
My rough morning continued into the afternoon as Physical Therapy stopped by to start getting me to move around. I immediately recognized my instructor from a previous surgery as a militant drill sergeant with no tolerance for pain. When he smelled fear right at the outset he seemed frustrated already. Three days out from surgery, his goal was to get me standing. My response, “I don’t see that happening today.” I was still having severe nerve pains that would shoot through my body when I moved in certain unknown positions. His response, “if it’s pain you’re concerned about, we can get some pain meds.” I really didn’t want to overmedicate just to force myself to stand a couple days earlier, but as I tried to make the slightest move forward, I realized meds were going to be required in order to make it through this session. We took a short break while I got a second hit of Dilaudin, which soothed me just enough to get me sitting up at the edge of the bed, but not standing. This seemed to fulfill his minimal requirement, so he disapprovingly let me off the hook for the rest of the day.
I was so relieved that the session was over, and my brother Ryan walked in for a visit at a great time as I needed some support. Unfortunately we had no time to talk. Not more than fifteen minutes after finishing PT, occupational therapy came through the door. Ryan left me to fight this battle alone. My designated trainer expressed great excitement about the exercises we were about to work on together, but I couldn’t help but feel frustration as it sounded exactly like what I had just struggled through with PT. I was led through a number of hand gestures that must have made me look ridiculous to anyone looking through the window with binoculars. I sat on the edge of the bed as I had in PT, but with the added challenge of meeting progressively longer time requirements. Occupational therapy, I have no occupation!?
After a challenging day it was great to have several supportive family and friends stop by for some very welcomed visits for the remainder of the evening, as well as help us celebrate Shannon’s birthday. Also, after several months of corresponding by email while on the road, it was great to have Craig and Carolina DeHond visit again. So great to see Carolina recuperating and doing well after her own difficult surgery. Not the birthday party I would have preferred for Shannon, but still a lot of fun of fun under the circumstances. Happy Birthday Shan!!