Did you see “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver’s HBO show, this past Sunday? The main topic was prescription painkillers, specifically opioids.
I’ve thought about this topic a great deal as someone who anticipated (and endured) loads of pain from my surgery. I still have 18 staples holding my belly together.
The first few days following my Whipple are a blur. I know there was a button to push for pain relief delivered IV. I’m told there’s a fifteen minute lockout between presses, but basically any time I saw it I pressed it!
How can you tell if it works or not? I was so wracked with pain at that point it’s tough to say.
A few days later I went off the pump but had Ativan and Dilaudid available on-demand. I used an Ativan to sleep one night. I’m not sure if I used the Dilaudid or not. Probably not.
I have been conditioned to be scared of narcotics.
Dilaudid may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Take this medicine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Never share the medicine with another person. MISUSE OF NARCOTIC PAIN MEDICATION CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH
It seemed OK to persevere some pain to avoid them. I’m not that much of a stoic. Judgement call. My intention was to err on the side of caution.
The pain was pretty bad my first night home. A gas bubble was trapped under my rib cage. I popped a Dialudid.
It definitely put me in an “I don’t give a shit” mood. It was too stony — like marijuana on steroids. I wanted the relief without being incapacitated. With the Dilaudid all I could do was lie on the couch and consider using the remote control sometime in the distant future.
We have medical marijuana here in California. I have a doctor’s recommendation as required. I switched and began treating my pain with pot.
Hurt still hurts. Neither pot nor narcotics insulate you from pain. It is just easier for me to control my dose by deciding if I want a few more puffs at any given moment. And I can still function — even write this blog entry.
Over time the pain has gotten less and less. It is now mainly a continuous background feature. It’s there, but you mostly don’t think about it.
My recovery is coming along really well and very quickly. I am astounded.