Fay A. Posted April 20, 2005 Share Posted April 20, 2005 I had my second Thoracotomy. Five years ago, at 8 PM, the anesthetia from surgery was wearing off and something wasn't right with the Epidural Catheter inserted in my spine. I had been asking for pain management for several hours, but sometime around 9:30 I dozed off for a few minutes. The following day I was told that the Pain Management Physician came to my room to see me, but decided that because I was asleep I couldn't be in that much discomfort. Around 10 PM I woke up in excrutiating pain. For the next several hours I tried to find a position that didn't feel like I had been cut in half, but I had been cut in half, and the epidural catheter wasn't working. And because I had the Epidural Catheter in place no one ordered any other pain medications. The Nurse kept calling the Pain Management Doc on call, but he wasn't answering his page. Sometime around Midnight I sat up on my knees in the bed and I closed my eyes and I crawled inside my own head to escape the pain. I was like that for about 5 hours. I heard voices that sounded like they were coming from very far away. And I opened my eyes but the room was a big blur. I had had a steady stream of tears running down my face all night long. My face, the front of my hospital gown were soaked. The words that brought me back to the room were spoken by the Nurse who was telling the pain management doc "She's been like that for hours." So he tells me he has to check to see if the epidural catheter is working properly. I don't have any idea what that means. What it means is he uses a Tens Unit. This is a device that can deliver quite an electric shock....a way for them to be able to tell if the epidural catheter is in place and if it is delivering any pain medication to the spine to keep my incision numb. So he gives me a mild shock. I felt it, and I told him so. He says he has to test one more area...this area is evidently right where the surgical incision is located. I want you to imagine having a strong burning electrical current running through an area that has been cut through with bones removed less than 24 hours earlier. It hurt so bad that I screamed and my back arced and the stitches felt as if I were being torn in half again. Because I arced from the pain and electric shock the TENS unit came out of the Doctor's hands, and was hanging by the metal clips to the skin just above my incision, and continued to deliver a strong electric current. It took several moments for him to grab the device, remove it, and turn it off. He apologized, told me that the catheter had slipped out of place. He put it back into the area where it belonged (I think I was in shock by this point), then started loading me with pain meds. I was reminded that there is a way to cope with intractable, horrific pain. I was reminded that I could take it, and come out the other side. I am defiant. And I am protective of others now. I see the negligence...the callus way people are treated. And I try to insure that others do not go through what I did exactly 5 years ago tonight. I take my elderly neighbors who do not have family nearby to their medical appointments. I visit them in the hospital frequently, and I make sure the nursing staff knows I expect these friends to be well treated. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.