02:55:28 pm on
Thursday 05 Aug 2021

Surgery and Drugs
Matt Seinberg

I recently had major back surgery involving fusing discs S1-L3 and I told my surgeon and pain management physician that prescription opioids such as Oxycodone and Oxycotin, did not work for me. They should produce something different in the way of managing my pain.

A dose every six minutes.

When I had my first back surgery in 2016, I was given Daluidid intravenously, on a continuous drip, with no problems and it worked very well. This time, they gave it on demand. That meant I could hit the button every six minutes and get a dose intravenously.

Guess what? It didn’t work. How was I supposed to remember to hit the button every six minutes? How would I get it when I’m sleeping, not very often was the answer?

The kicker was I had a nice side effect from it: my entire back was itching. I don’t mean the kind of itch that you can reach around and scratch. I mean the kind that felt there were a million fleas on it.

The only solution was to give me Benadryl, which worked and helped me sleep. The other part was to discontinue it since it wasn’t working anyway. You never know.

Next came the Oxycodone quick release. The side effect was it keeping me awake. It didn’t make me drowsy.

I guess I’m lucky soul that won’t get addicted to this drug. Plus, it didn’t do anything for the pain anyway. All it did was keep me awake.

I was also given a muscle relaxer, Robaxin, which not only didn’t do anything for me, it, too, kept me awake. They gave me those prescriptions for home use, just in case, a prn, it’s called. Did you know another side effect of opioids is constipation?

Since I needed help sleeping, I was given 5 mg of Melatonin. I take 10 mg at home; the hope is it will help. This small dose didn’t do anything; they wouldn’t increase it.

During the day when the nurses came to take blood and vitals, it was fine. When they came in the middle of the night, when I finally got to sleep, I wasn’t happy. I was hooked up to so many IVs that I kept hitting the call button every 20 minutes for help getting out of bed and into the bathroom and back into bed. They didn’t want me to do it myself because of the stitches and staples and the fear that I could fall.

Sleeping in a hospital.

Have you ever tried sleeping in a hospital? It’s pretty much next to impossible. I had a roommate who was on his phone every minute during the day. He was a true sad sack that had so many problems I felt sorry for him.

He did lower the volume on his television when asked. He was a nice man with a lot of issues that I learned all about in five days. What a dreary life.

He was in the process of packing up his apartment in Suffolk County to move to Virginia Beach where his girlfriend already lived and working. Somehow, he managed to step on a tack and broke five bones in his foot.

He was calling everybody he knew to pack up his apartment for a reasonable price. He offered them reasonable money for the job All they did was try to take advantage of him.

He finally was taken to a rehab facility after five days. He still didn’t have any help finalized. I felt sorry for him, but there was nothing I could do as I was flat on my back.

I had my surgery on Frida 21 May and came home Thursday 27 June. Believe me when I say this was no picnic. Full recovery time is a minimum of six months.

I go to physical therapy 3 times a week. I try to walk around the block at least three times a week if I can get my wife or daughter to go with me. I don’t feel comfortable going alone.

For the first few days I had to use a walker to get around and I couldn’t go outside or downstairs because I couldn’t navigate the stairs. I still had problems sleeping because of the incisional pain on my back and left side. My lower back was also still sore from the surgery.

I saw the surgeon a few days after I got out of the hospital. He took out the staples that were on my left side, which is the side I sleep on; it was very uncomfortable. I was quite relieved when those staples were removed.

After a week, I gave up the walker and used my cane. With help I was able to go outside and sit in my very comfortable zero gravity chair. I had my book, my music and something to drink. I was very happy. I even started to get a nice tan.

I still wasn’t sleeping well. I took the Melatonin and got so desperate one night I took Ambien, which always works. The antibiotic cream that the physician gave me for the incisions in my back make me itch, so take Benadryl at night, which helps.

I’ve tried napping during the day. Half the time I will sleep for an hour or two. The problem with that is I now have more problems getting to sleep at night.

I try to go to sleep at 11-to-11:30 pm, but that doesn’t always work. I’ll toss and turn for an hour. Then I’ll go in the living room or stay in bed and watch television until I finally feel tired enough to finally fall asleep.

I’m not working, so I don’t have to worry about getting up early in the morning and getting ready. Any appointments I make are generally for 11 am or later. I set my alarm clock for 9:15 a,, but I’m generally up by 8:30 am, anyway, no matter what time I went to sleep.

Muddling along.

I’m sure, given time, my sleep patterns will get back to normal. Until then, I’ll muddle along. I’ll do my physical therapy and try to keep a normal daytime schedule.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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