Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Never saw this coming

So - where were we? For those of you joining us for the first time, or anyone who's been away a while, since my surgery almost a year ago I have been in pain.

At first it was unspeakably awful, seemingly unbearable and intractable pain. Relieved only by high doses of morphine and a cocktail of other drugs that led to me sleeping most of the day (though interestingly not the night...)

After the nightmare of opioid withdrawal the pain - the actual pain - gradually found its way into my consciousness. As if for months it had been beaten into submission by pills and potions, and now was its time to make its presence felt.

For a while its presence was bearable. Comforting even, to feel something, to emerge from the fog of painkillers and be reminded that yes, I had major surgery, yes, it was painful, but it would/will get better.

As the weeks wore on the pain felt less of a friend, it refused to go away, or even to give me some respite. A pain management specialist recommended amitryptiline and after a few weeks things seemed to improve. Less paracetamol, voltarol, ibuprofen. But also a lot less hair as it began to fall out, and much more of a waistline as I retained fluid and blew up like the proverbial balloon. Not to mention the itching, the dry mouth, and the sleepy drowsiness.

So I took myself off amitryp as I fondly call it, and waited to see what happened. Probably not my finest hour as the pain which again had been merely hiding away surfaced with yet more of a vengeance. To the extent that by new year I posted on here the honest truth - I wished I had never had this surgery.

Fast forward a few weeks and I got myself back on amitryp, stood in an inch of water in the shower as my hair blocked the plughole, struggled to do up buttons and zips, and to stay awake in meetings. This time however the pain refused to be beaten. Instead of retreating somewhere not to be found it lurked in the shadows, as if watching me to see how I was coping. A paracetamol here - victory to the pain! An ibuprofen or voltarol there - it's getting the upper hand! Half a bottle of red wine - it must be winning...

Yesterday I saw Mr Tucker for my almost-one-year check up. Perhaps if Ian had been with me I may not have been so honest. But stripped of my security blanket - the one who makes me stay brave and strong in the presence of this god-like man - I 'fessed up. In fact I recall actually laying my head on his shiny desk and telling him about New Year and how I wished I never had it done...

I expected a pep talk. Something along the sensible lines of "Look Mrs Anderson, we all know you're not getting any younger and at 52 you can hardly expect to have the same recovery time as an adolescent girl. Hang in there, keep taking the amitryptiline, come back in 6 months and we'll see how things are...."

Instead he looked at me and gave it to me straight "This length of time after surgery you should not be in this much pain. I've been holding off till now but it is time for a SpectCt scan"

To be continued.......

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