What NOT to Do When You’re on IV Pain Meds

PCA pump

— 1 —

First off, you’ll notice I said “pain meds” in the title. I have no flippin’ clue what I was being given when I pushed that button. Morphine, demerol, some experimental drug that’s going to give me super-powers? I didn’t ask. For a nurse not to ask what medication she’s getting for a full twenty-four hours . . . I can’t even imagine what was going on in my mind. But you don’t just push a button injecting yourself with some unknown medication without asking – no matter how fabulous it makes you feel. But I did.

— 2 —

 As a nurse and as a veteran patient of multiple major surgeries, I felt fairly sure that by the evening of the day of surgery I’d be able to unhook my oxygen, turn off and unhook the inflatable compression devices on my legs, unplug my IV from the wall, and walk to the bathroom. Thus, someone could take my catheter out. Everyone who came to see me (other than family) has a medical background and wouldn’t think a thing of a bag of urine hanging from the bottom of the bed, but for my family’s sake I wanted it out. I could pull the oxygen tubing off, but that was as far as I got. Everything else was much too complicated. I explained my plan to my nurse when she came in and saw my oxygen tubing in my lap, and she just smiled. I ended up needing her help to put the tubing back in my nose, something I’ve done for myself or others about a million times. But I’d tried.

— 3 —

I think my nurse found me fairly entertaining. She didn’t call me on the Chloroseptic I’d snuck in, but did ask me how much I’d read of the book on my bedside table. I’d actually brought two books, and had another two downloaded to my iPad. I was going to be in the hospital from Monday until Wednesday, after all. And my friend Lisa brought me another one! She knows me, y’all 🙂 I didn’t even read one page. But I tried.

— 4 —

I had plenty of visitors on Tuesday. I’m not sure if they could understand anything I said, but they smiled and nodded. I hadn’t gotten the official OK for even ice chips, so my tongue felt like beef jerky. I tried to speak slowly and enunciate carefully, which probably just assured them I was very heavily medicated. I even had a nice long visit with my father-in-law. God only knows what I said.

— 5 —

Best of all, I’d seen this hospitalization as a great time to share the wonderful world of Nerium with everyone who walked into my room, and I’d brought samples with instructions and my business card attached. I have no clue who I gave samples to, who I talked about Nerium with, or what I might have said. I did have the presence of mind to have my Day, Night, and Firm on my tray table at all times, and all four of the samples I packed were gone when I got home, so I did what I’d planned! Just not exactly the way I’d planned. I do remember one sample leaving my room in the hand of a man with a full beard. His sample will probably last three months if he actually tries it 🙂

— 6 —

One reason I’m fairly sure I did not clearly explain Nerium to anyone is that I couldn’t find the right words to explain my manicure and pedicure. They were super-cute and I’d put a lot of thought and effort into them. When you’re unconscious on the OR table it’s hard to make a good impression. And I, personally, always want the people scrubbed in on my surgery to like me. If all the power goes out and the generator doesn’t kick in I want my team to be like, “We’ll use our phones for light and take turns with the ambu bag! We can’t let her die – she’s got such a great mani-pedi!”

— 7 —

Anyway, when people complimented my nails I nearly always managed to get out, “Jamberry.” I thought I was the last kid on the block to try Jamberry nails. Well, evidently not, because most people had no idea what I was talking about. After much rambling, I settled on, “Like stickers. But they last longer.” It’s not a very good explanation, but people usually smiled and nodded instead of looking more confused. I tried.

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