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Old 09-06-2006, 11:25 PM   #5
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 1,497
CancerDad HB User
Re: Hubby has question about pain treatment post surgery....

Hi Sherri:
You can look through and find my old posts regarding pain treatment...but I will type the gist of it here.
They will try to talk your husband into an epidural saying that it does such a great job numbing him up since it's major surgery and all. They talked me into it...worst mistake I made. First of all, they put the needle in your back, and then run tubing that they tape in place and remove the needle. This is to deliver a "lidocaine" type medicine into his back and numb him from around his ribs down. Like him, I was not fond of having anything in my back, but they said it was best.

Well I woke up from surgery and felt intense pain on my right side, but my left side was numb. So they made me "roll" so the anesthesiologist could readjust. They did this about four times in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit. It seemed to get better, so I was brought up to my room. Then, I was in and out of sleep, and it must have been about 4 or so hours later when the pain was SO intense again (it had been slowly building, but I wasn't that aware) on the right side of my body, I had the nurse call anes. again. He can up and when he suggest that he just "readjust it a little again," I demanded that he take it out and put me on a PCA (Patient Controlled Analgesia). The machine attaches to your IV line and delivers a narcotic at a constant level. FINALLY, RELIEF!! You also have a button with the machine that you can push to get an extra dose each period the machine you will never overdose. Make certain IF he decides to go the PCA route (my recommendation is don't even try the epidural, and I didn't for future surgeries,) that he push that button whenever he is going to move, or try to get up, or WHENEVER he feels pain. They will look at how many times he pushed the button on the log when it's time to change the narc bag in the unit, and will program his standing dose lower than before if he doesn't push that button. I say this because the second day is when the pain REALLY peaks, and if they lower his dose before that happens, he won't be as comfortable.

Also, as stated... WALK as soon as possible (which depending on when you get up to the floor might not be until the next day). But walk with Sherri holding onto the IV pole (and you CAN unplug the machine and nothing will turn off, it just switches to battery power). Walk up and down the hall, letting the nurses see you (they do write it down!) And if you are like me, you heal better being in your own bed at home. Seriously, walking helps move gas in your colon, speed of functioning, prevent blood possible blood clots in your legs, and DOES impact how well you are doing and when you can get out--to an extent!

It's REALLY important that you let them leave your cath in for 5-6 days so you won't have problems peeing. It's uncomfortable and a pain in the butt, but if they take it out too soon, you won't be able to pee, could cause more damage and they will just have to put it back in... not pleasant at all!!! Mine was in for 4 1/2 days and when they took it out, I couldn't pee for the life of me (my tumor was so low in my rectum, some nerves got permanently damaged). I still can't pee to this day-- two years from initial surgery due to nerve damage, so I cath myself 6plus times a day since surgery...I am sure you won't go through this, but don't be in too big a hurry, and let things heal... It does take longer to heal if you had radiation which honestly I can't recall if you did. Expect to be in the hospital about 6-7 days. I was in for 5 days or 4 days AFTER surgery.

BTW they will get you over to oral pain meds as soon as possible. Most patients keep a PCA for about 2-4 days. For rectal surgery, you can expect an incision from just above your navel to just above your pubic hair-- a little less for colon cancer.

I wish you luck. I'm sure everything will go great. My advice between now and surgery is to enjoy your time with you kids, and definitely enjoy spending quality time with Sherri . For me, when I had surgery at 31, I took things like this for granted, expecting ALL to be well after rectal surgery. There is a small chance of problems-- like the peeing, you can also have problems below the belt with rectal surgery (again, I can't recall if you are getting treated for rectal or colon cancer). In any event, just ENJOY things, don't take anything for granted, and EXPECT that everything will be fine because the likelihood is it will!

My Best to you,
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