My last post was mainly about my uncontrolled neuropathic pain and where it had got me. It got me into hospice to start with. However I am not sure that I really emphasized how bad the pain was to get to that point. It had steadily been increasing for weeks but the last week was especially bad. By the end I would wake in what I call the dark and scary hours and kind of murmur to myself about giving up and going to ER. It is hard to mobilize when in pain so I just took my Hydromorphone every hour~~the 2-3 tablets prescribed and wait in hopes the throbbing, burning pain would stop. Usually 3 or 4 hours later I would fall asleep for a few hours only to wake up wondering if it would hurt if I got up. Yes would be the answer and just using the bathroom and brushing my teeth would start the whole cycle off again and back to bed I would go. I did manage to stay up long enough each day by late afternoon to play "Ticket to Ride" with Wayne, Anne and Dick, though few times I would have to lie on the couch for a few minutes to push the pain back. Every once in awhile I would actually feel quite normal and then would think that I had been imagining all the hours of lying down, taking my meds and hoping for relief. One highlight was managing to stay up long enough to teach Dick how to make Elaine's grandmother's biscuits.
But Monday morning when the phone call from hospice came, so did relief come with it. The end game for admission this time was to get me a bed so that I could be guaranteed surgery as soon as possible. However the immediate goal on admission was pain management. I had this neat little yellow contraption embedded in my upper arm that subcutaneously allows narcotics to be pumped in all by myself~~well there is an hourly limit! The Hydromorphone was infused through the pump into my arm via the little yellow butterfly thing. Methadone in a higher dosage was given orally as normal plus a new one was added~~Ketamine. Ketamine I was told by doctor, was at one time a battleground drug, because it is easily given as an oral liquid that works quickly. I have also learned that it has been used as a veterinary tranquilizer, an anesthetic and also as a recreational drug. For me, this addition to my arsenal seemed to make all the difference and by Thursday things had really turned around. I could actually get up and do simple things like brush my teeth, wash my face and even walk to the end of the hall without that burning, shooting, electric pain that brought me here.
Back to the aforementioned surgery~~ it is scheduled for 0800 Monday morning. The procedure is the temporary insertion of an intrathecal catheter with an external pump. The catheter will be threaded up the spine to the axillary area where medications will be infused from the eternal pump. Following surgery I will be monitored for a few days to ensure that the system works.
Apparently this is Stage I. The next step if all goes well, will be back to the OR for the insertion of a catheter but with an implantable pump. Sounds like fun don’t you think? It will be done with a spinal anesthetic so I can let them know if there is unexpected pain as the catheter is placed.
For now, I am laying around napping, doing the odd Sudoko, and reading books on the brand new Kobo Suzanne got me. She also added several books and got it linked with the library. Mary picked it up from her in Vancouver and I got it Sunday night~~perfect timing for my admission the next day. She knew I would love it as holding books had become so difficult I had virtually given up reading. After each page I had to put the book down to turn the the page, not to mention how hard it was just to hold the book in one hand. I read a whole book on my Kobo in the first 3 days here.
Dick has gone off today with Mary and David for on an overnighter on VK. I was supposed to with them but it is clear why I am not. I am just happy that they have this opportunity now.
Sunset from Van Kedisi in July