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4760166 tn?1398357313

Undertreated postoperative pain.

I have had 25 or 26 surgeries in my 30 years.  Eye, heart, brain, shunts, shunt revisions/replacements ... this past Wednesday I had my VP shunt valve replaced because it was clogged.  I have had issues with morphine not working after surgeries since I was a kid.  I always tell the anesthesiologists and nurses that MORPHINE doesn't work.  I am always reassured that my pain will be managed, don't worry, we will take care of you.

So I woke up in PACU in a lot of pain.  At this point I am silently crying the biggest, dumbest tears known to mankind.  But still relatively calm and hopeful that someone will take care of me, they wont just let me suffer.  They get me to my neuro ICU room and all that was ordered for pain is morphine.  I lose it.  I'm hysterical.  I can't calm down.  I can't stop crying.  They get dilaudid ordered.  But it's .5 milligrams (I've had it in a pain pump at this dose, every 10 minutes) .. and THAT doesn't work that well.  I'm then offered oral tylenol.  I'm still hysterical.  I hyperventilate and can not catch my breath.  There are two nurses that smirk at my inability to calm down?  The pain did not feel survivable.  Or maybe I just wished it wasn't.  The head pain management team member tries a migraine cocktail. (I just had brain surgery, I don't have a migraine) ... he thought it worked because I passed out.  I had been screaming and crying and begging to be discharged for about 4 hours.  I passed out from exhaustion like a child.  From then until I was discharged I was only given oral tylenol.

It will be a week since surgery tomorrow.  I haven't been able to sleep.  Or eat.  Or relax.  I think I need some sort of therapy.  I still can't believe how bad it was.  Why would this happen?  why didn't they care? my blood pressure was a little low.  So maybe they could say it wasn't safe?  but it was low at discharge and I was then prescribed the highest dose of hydrocodone I've ever had in my life.  So versus treating my pain and monitoring me where it's safe, I'm discharged .  They usually give me something for pain before the ride home.  I live about an hour from the hospital and it's always a hard ride. They offered me my last dose of oral tylenol and I refused it.  I'm really traumatized and I want my shunts out.  I'm shunted for hydrocephalus that was a complication of one of my brain surgeries.  I see the surgeon the 5th and I would rather risk untreated hydrocephalus than having to deal with these shunts for the rest of my life.  I have anxiety that I never had before and I can't handle it.
3 Responses
Avatar universal
What happened to you breaks my heart. I'm so sorry you were treated like that. There are several other pain medications they could have tried. Morphine is not the only pain med available. And you had already told them that it does not help your pain.
You need to get this worked out with your Dr, Ask him what other meds are available that you can take while in the hospital. Do you also need pain meds on a daily basis, or just when you're in the hospital?
I truly do feel so bad for you because I've had surgeries myself, There have been a few times where I'm not getting enough meds and the pain becomes unbearable.Once I've gotten the right amount I'm fine.
Another question. Is your Dr saying that you will need to have the shunts for life?
4760166 tn?1398357313

Thanks for the reply.  I have had so many surgeries at this particular hospital, with the same surgeon and his team.  It's always rough, but they usually get my pain under control eventually.  For some reason there was no information about morphine or what does work for pain.  Dilaudid does work ... but not .5mg every couple hours.  I have never been on pain medication long term. I only ask for pain control after surgeries.  

I don't think hydrocephalus ever goes away.  Taking the shunts out would be dramatic and not the smartest thing, but I'm going to ask what I'd be facing if I don't call the next time I know something is wrong.  I've had a lot of surgeries in my life and I've never experienced anything this bad.  I'm seeing my regular doctor tomorrow to talk about it and another small issue.  I feel like I might come across as crazy.  There is ugly crying in my future, but my regular doctor is a good sounding board.  I just need this experience off my chest.
317787 tn?1473358451
Hello, I am so sorry to hear of your awful experience.  I have had a few surgeries, normally they take care of my pain.
The last time they would not give me anything, told me I was responsible for my pain and told me to just breathe through it
It was a nightmare.
I am so sorry, I know what it feels like to have people smirking at you as you cry in pain as if you are a drug seeker instead of someone who just had surgery. While in recovery everyone around me was knocked out.  I was the only one crying in pain.  I hope to never have another operation in my life.
Take Care, D
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