Day 6-8 Pain management

I had a great night’s sleep after the surgery.

The only pain I felt was from the area of the catheter for the nerve block and pump. I still had the pump shut off, since my leg was giving me no pain whatsoever, but the pain from the catheter eventually became so severe that I decided to turn it back on. After only a minute or two, everything was fine and I went back to sleep.

The next morning, my foot was still quite numb, and I was pretty comfortable.

The surgeon’s team called to check in at around 10am and asked what my pain level was. I was happy to answer “zero.”

Shortly after that, I started being able to move my toes again, and started regaining some general feeling in my foot.

Soon, I realized the irony of the timing of the call - the pain started getting progressively worse. When it hit a 3 or a 4, I decided to take my first Oxycontin.

A couple of hours later, I took an Oxycodone (pain level 4-5). The next 24 hours I basically was in varying amounts of pain ranging from not too bad, to “pretty darn uncomfortable.”

I never took the full dosage of Oxycodone (I was allowed to take two at once every 4 hours, in addition to an Oxycontin every 8 hours - dosage 5mg for the Oxycodone, 10 mg for the Oxycontin), but at one point I did take two within a two hour period.

The pain was pretty much as described elsewhere - a combination of an ache with the feeling of the area being “on fire”.

Fortunately, the drugs made me drowsy enough that my sleep wasn’t impacted.

By mid-day Saturday, I was feeling much better - I weaned myself off the Oxycontin and only took 2 Oxycodones during the entire day.

I think I took one more Oxycodone on Sunday, and that was it for me.

I have to admit, I was feeling pretty cocky after the first day, and ended up being surprised by the amount of pain I felt.

I’m not sure how much the pump actually help. After the nerve block wore off, I can’t say that I felt much numbness I’d attribute to the pump, although the jury’s out on how much pain I would have been in without the pump.

BTW: I was really worried about removing the catheter - after all it’s this tube that’s inserted 10cm (4 inches) into your leg. As it turned out, my worry was unfounded: The thing glided out with no pain at all. It was much more painful removing the tape they used to seal the area around the catheter (along with any hair that happened to get in the way).

2 Responses to “Day 6-8 Pain management”

  1. To my surprise, my post-op pain after open-heart surgery was WAY less than after my ATR surgery. After the heart op, I turned down all the narcotics and stopped the Tylenol after maybe 2 days. Not being a martyr, either! Not easy to raise your chest way above your heart, either! ;-)

  2. Heh - yeah I could see why that might be difficult, and I would imagine it’s not very good news if for some reason you *are* able to elevate the chest significantly above your heart.

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