It’s time for my monthly medical question. INYANAD and I am not asking for specific medical advice, rather I’m looking for answers how something works using my own experience as an example.
A few weeks ago I underwent relatively minor surgery. Apparently my Gall Bladder and Steak & Shake were conspiring to kill me and the gall baldder had to come out. The surgery was successful and I have made a complete recovery with almost no side effects from the removal of the organ.
After the surgery I woke up in EXTREAME pain. The dilaudid (however you spell it) did absolutely nothing for me. I now know how it feels to be stabbed and it ain’t pretty. The reason for this was my high tolerance to opiods as I take morphine everyday for chronic pain. In conversation with the surgeon during a follow up appointment he told me that the attending nurses were visibly shaken when dealing with me because I was screaming with pain and no matter how much of the pain drugs they gave me I didn’t seem to improve. They thought that they might kill me with the amount of drugs they were shoving into my body.
I’ll get to that question in a minute, but what really interested me was the conversation the surgeon had with me concerning putting me under. He told me that the anesthesiologist was “sweating bullets” the entire time I was on the table and at one point wanted to stop the surgery for fear of killing me with the amount of sleepy juice I required. Apparently I am tolerant to that as well. So, the first question is, why would my tolerance of narcotic pain meds make me tolerant to the sleepy juice used to sedate someone? Do they work on the same receptors in the brain? I really am fascinated by how things like pain meds and such work on the body and brain.
I guess that this shouldn’t have surprised me. I had trouble at the dentist, he was unable to numb me for a routine cavity. He shot me so many times in the jaw with novicain I am surprised there was any jaw left without a hole in it from a needle. Nitrous Oxide also did not work on me even though the dentist said he had it turned up to 11.
The next question I have goes back to the earlier statement about the surgeon being unable to control my pain after surgery. I understand that my tolerance is going to make pain control very difficult, but what happens if I really get hurt? If they are already maxing me on pain meds without effect how will they manage to control pain in me for something really major like a car accident or such? Can I be kept “out” until such time as the pain can be brought under control?
I can’t tell you how weird it is knowing that if you get seriously injured you might face hours or days of pure agony. It scares the crap out of me, but such is life I guess. Anyways, I would be very interested to know how anesthesia works and how it relates to narcotic pain medication in effect and in application. Thanks