Adventures in Percocet {and other pain killers}

I know, I know…kind of nutty title for a blog post.  However, it’s fitting because my life has been nutty since this past Friday.  I have had more meds injected into me than I can shake a stick at.  And I can’t do much stick shaking these days.

I’ll skip all the depressing details about why I’m heavily medicated, and get right to the more interesting stuff.  Long story short, the injections I took for my ectopic pregnancy didn’t work.  Instead of shrinking, the embryo grew and caused my fallopian tube to rupture.  I experienced massive pain at 4:30 Friday morning and, for the first time in my life, I had to go to the ER.  Almost 12 hours later, I was in surgery to have the little embryo and my fallopian tube removed.  Lots of stuff happened in between and most of that time was spent hopped up on drugs.

It seems like doctors and nurses LIKE to give their patients drugs.  At least that was my perception.  I remember after I gave birth to Ella.  I didn’t take the meds every 6 hours like they suggested.  The nurses seemed so shocked and wondered why I didn’t.  I don’t know–I kind of like feeling a little pain.  I like to know what I’m dealing with so that I don’t overdo it after I take the pain medicine and can’t feel anything.  Plus, I’ve never been one to block out the pain–metaphorically or literally.

This time around was no exception.  After an intern nearly stopped my circulation as he inserted my IV and forgot to remove the rubber tourniquet, the first thing they offered me was a pain killer.  Of course, I took it.  I had no idea what was going on yet and my uterus was killing me.  It was this stuff called Dilaudid (appropriately nicknamed “hospital heroin”) and it kicked my ass.  It ran straight through my veins via my IV.  And I had an empty stomach.  As soon as the nurse injected it, I felt as if I had been hanging upside down on a roller coaster.  Then the pain magically went away.  But 2 hours later they were offering me more, and several more times up until about 20 minutes before my surgery (some 10 hours later).  Why would I take it again before my surgery?  I don’t know–it seemed excessive.

In between blood tests and cell counts and ultrasounds and pelvic exams, I had lots of time to think.  Derek was with me most of the time, but we didn’t talk much.  I was too busy crying off and on.  And thinking.  The meds created this instinct to look inside myself and delve a little deeper.  For a change, I wasn’t trying to answer the question of why.  Why me?  Why now?  Whoa is me.  What kind of sick karma is this?  Yeah, none of that really crossed my mind.  Instead, it was more where are we going from here.

About an hour before my scheduled surgery start time, I was wheeled into a pre-operating prep room.

[As an aside, let me tell you that being wheeled around on your bed is not fun.  It’s weird.  Everyone is staring at you and the person that pushes you runs into corners sometimes.  And there is no yelling or screaming as you go down the hall.  It’s pretty lame and un-dramatic.  TV makes it look a lot cooler than it really is.]

Anyway, there were two nurses in there getting me ready.  One gave me an anti-nausea patch to put behind my ear.  The other took my vitals and gave me a box of tissues.  They also went over which doc would be doing which task, and they assured me that my anesthesiologist was the best.  I was literally terrified about being put under and could not stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks.  That sucked and I felt embarrassed.  I blamed it on the Dilaudid.

The nurses stepped away to get something and, within a minute, this new lady walked in.  Right away I could tell that she was not a member of my medical team.  She wore normal clothes and had a clipboard.  She came in with this grim look on her face.  You know, the face that the doctors on TV wear when they’re about to tell the family that the patient didn’t make it out of surgery alive.  This woman grabbed my hand and stared me in the face and kept telling me how sorry she was for our loss.  It was a little intense!  The thing is, when you’re an hour away from surgery due to a ruptured fallopian tube and have internal bleeding, you’re pretty much over the pregnancy loss.  But she kept shaking her head, squeezing my hands, and touching my legs.

Then she pulled out a form.  I had to decide what I wanted to do with the “baby”.  She kept calling it a baby, and it really bothered me.  I know that she was trying to be sensitive and do her job, but it wasn’t a “baby” that we were dealing with.  If one of the options was to put it in a jar and take it home with me, then that is not a baby. [I realize that not everyone feels this way, and I mean no disrespect to your values] And, yes, that was an option.  I decided against that choice and opted for a collective cremation and sprinkling the ashes over the hospital rose garden.  I wondered if that’s actually what they do.  When we declined her offer to pray for us, she left.  Derek and I looked at each other, and for the first time that day we smiled and almost laughed.  For some strange reason, that episode gave me some comfort and I stopped crying.

Next up was the anti-anxiety drug.  They used this one right before they gave me the gas to put me to sleep. I guess it’s supposed to calm you down before you go under.  And, yes, I calmed down.  I was in a good place as I breathed in the gas.  The last thing I remember before I woke up was how soft the plastic cup was on my face and the oddly sweet smell of the gas that knocked me out.  I didn’t have a worry in the world.

I woke up to a nice nurse pulling my hair out of a ponytail and propping my head on a pillow.  She told me that I had pretty hair and that she liked my toenail polish.  Then the pain came.  It felt like I had 3 open stab wounds in my belly.  She gave me two IV shots of something and neither of them worked.  After two Jello-O cups and a graham cracker, she gave me 2 Percocet pills and those did the trick.  I was back on Cloud 9 again and no pain in sight.

{Laparoscope thru my belly button and then 2 small incisions atop my ovaries.  Hard to believe these 3 little holes make me feel so terrible.  The big bruise marks the site of the removed fallopian tube}

It was strange.  After the pain went away, I felt this intense feeling of hope.  Even though I lost a fallopian tube, I felt like I was given a fresh start.  According to the doctor, my other tube is perfect and my uterus is in fine working condition.  I can still have babies.  Derek got to see pictures of my ruptured tube and he said it looked like a poorly stuffed sausage–casing all twisted and lumps and bumps in random places.  Yes, I was happy to be rid of that mess.  I thanked the doctors and nurses for fixing me, and then we went home.

So here I am–three days later.  I wish I could say that I still have the fresh optimism.  I feel tired and run down and still in pain. I have 3 holes on my belly that hurt every time I breathe.  I can’t laugh without pain.  Oh yeah, I can’t pick up Ella or let her sit on my lap.  I haven’t been able to do much of the child-rearing stuff since we got home.  That’s been the hardest part.  When she asked Derek to put her to bed last night, I cried.

I’m home alone with my Percocet, my thoughts, and my smart phone.  So far, I have purchased some cowboy boots, a bunch of clothes, and a new silver necklace that I don’t need.  Who says there’s no such thing as retail therapy?!  I’ve taken all my meds on time and when I’m supposed to, but they kind of take me to a weird place.  I start thinking.  Mostly good stuff, but sometimes not so good.

The positives are that I have a wonderful family–near and far.  I have been showered with love and kindness.  Derek and Ella hold the other half of my heart and I will never be the same because of them.  At the same time, my heart hurts and longs to be healed.  I’ve lost two pregnancies in 7 months and there is no nice way to say it.  It sucks.  It sucks big time.  This time I have wounds on the outside that mirror how I feel on the inside.  I feel damaged and cut up and bruised from head to toe.

The doctor told us to take a break on the baby making–to wait at least 3 months.  I think that sounds like a good plan.  Not only do I need to heal my uterus, but she told me that I also need to heal my head and my heart.  Good advice.  That’s what I intend to do.

So, if you’ll excuse me… It’s been 6 hours since my last dosage and I need to stay on schedule! I promise not to think too much!  Originally, this post was supposed to be a funny recollection of my antics while doped up on pain meds.  Somehow it got emotional.  Sorry about that.

xoxo ~Marisa

P.S.  Since I can’t work and am not really allowed to stand at the stove, I will be making lots of Crock-Pot stuff.  Stay tuned!

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6 responses to “Adventures in Percocet {and other pain killers}

  1. Haha, I agree its really not that exciting to be rolled around in the bed! I really wanted just to stand up and walk with the others..

    I experienced the simular when I had ectopic pregnancy last summer. I was really excited to be pregnant and be expecting a baby, but when I felt this enormous pain of internal bleeding then I was just really happy to have a surgery and get the tissues (“fetus”) removed. I did not see it as a baby where it had not been growing as one. Yes sure, sometimes in rare cases the fetus will grow normally though it is not placed in the uterus, but in my case it was not.

    About all the meds, well I had two surgeries where the first one was unsuccesfull in order to save the fallopian tube. So they had to go in again and remove the tube cause of bloodclock and another internal bleeding. I had not used painkillers for years before I had the first surgery. When I woke up at the recovery room I was given 3 – 4 shots of morphin with out asking me if I would like it or not. I got really sick from that and as I woke up and was more clear I denied any more medications. But after the next surgery two weeks later my body was totally done, I could not use the stomach muscles at all, and walking home from the hospital which took me usually 7 min took around 40- 45 min. There I took around two painkillers a day for the next week while staying in bed. Luckily I was able to refuse the morphine shots though! 🙂

    May you have a fast recovery! I would recommend to find something fun to do, but seems like you have already found that 😀 – Well take care 🙂

    • Hi!
      Thanks so much for reading and for your reply. I am always amazed to hear of other women that went thru similar trials and tribulations. We don’t talk about them, but these losses seem to happen to a lot of us. I decided today to not take percocet and just the ibuprofen and see how it goes. I’m definitely sore, but I’m going to see how long I can tough it out.
      Today, I took some photos and did a little craft. Maybe I’ll make some jewelry tomorrow. I am bored out of my mind, but I know this is for the best.
      Take care and welcome to my blog!!

      • Well it was very easy for me to just lay and relax, where I didn’t have another child to take care of, instead my boyfriend took total care of me :). But yeah definetly try it out and feel how it goes. What really saved me from the boredom was the book series Earth’s children after Jean M Auel. Highly recommend them if you have not read them yet :).
        Thank you for the welcoming, Im looking forward for more of your posts 🙂

      • Congrats, by the way! I checked out your blog. I wish you a healthy last few months!

  2. Pingback: Taking Flight {and letting go} | Happily Ever After·

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