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View Full Version : Last night into this morning - worst experience of my life!!!!!



JenM
06-22-2010, 06:54 PM
Hi all-

I have recently been doing good but just wanted to share a huge set back I had with you have the past 2 nights. Thank goodness it is over right now...that is the only reason I am able to type on this forum today. Today is Wednesday, but on Monday night I started have a sharp, shooting pain about 2 inches away from my belly buttom on the left side. Everytime I sneezed or even breathed hard I would get a shooting pain in this part of my stomach. Monday night when I log rolled into my bed I screamed so loud that i woke the kids up. Since the pain was on my left side I ruled out appendixitis. So bascially I just did shallow breathing all day but was very concerned. My kids and the sitter where with me all day so I didn't want to show my kids I was in that much pain. So Monday night around 11pm I could barely breathe. I was taking short little breaths. I send my husband out to get Gas -X and Mint milk of magnesia. Well he came back with them and I took them. the only think it made me do was pass gas a little. Before I took that medicine I was passing gas. I just realized on Monday night that the last time I went #2 was on Friday afternoon and before that it was just in the hospital 2 or 3 times. So I never ever went to bed Monday night into Tuesday morning. I told my husband to call 911. As soon as he has about to do that the visiting nurse that comes to my house called and told my husband to get a Fleet Enema instead of going to my local hospital and that she would be at my house in an hour. When the nurse got there, I was in so much pain I was screaming and panting. She ended up giving me the enema...needless to say it worked and I exploded (sorry if this is too much info!!!!). My whole body now feels so week and my back hurts today because I was sitting on the toilet all last night and never went to sleep. I'm worried that I hurt the rods or screws by pushing all night. I was in so much pain and it was so scary it was one of those moments I thought I was going to die. Has anyone every experienced anything like this 2 weeks after surgery. My stomach feels alot better but I still have that pinch a little to the left of my belly bottom. It is a small little pinch, not as sharp as last night. All I have to tell everyone here is that the gas/bloating pain is worse than the back surgery itself!!!!

Love to hear any similar stories you may have. Thanks! I am feeling more upbeat now.

JenM

LindaRacine
06-22-2010, 10:01 PM
Hi Jen...

Sorry you had such rough night. It's not at all uncommon. The narcotics you're taking are very constipating. You might even have had an ileus. Here's an article that might help you manage it a little better going forward:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/7873073/Managing-OpioidInduced-Constipation

Hang in there. It will get better. Spend the next few days taking it easy, and I suspect your back pain will return to a more manageable level.

Regards,
Linda

ShariMSU
06-22-2010, 10:23 PM
Jen, I had similar, but not as severe. I was so constipated my first few days home I was sure I busted my fusion. I pushed so hard. Nothing like it ever before. But back was all fine, problems. Hang in there, it does get better!

Back-out
06-22-2010, 10:35 PM
I guess this is one of the reasons it's good to build up core muscles - dead serious. I already have trouble emptying my bowels due to cord damage. After my second colonoscopy for severe rectal bleeding (it appeared to be from constipation and "megacolon" - did not sense the need to evacuate because of the nerve damage), the GI specialist running the show, told me I'd have to clean myself as needed. Said that's what all pts with spinal cord damage have to do. I'll let you imagine what that meant. :(

One reason I'm planning to load up on laxatives even though that has it's own very special drawbacks for those of us with damage to the nerves governing the perineal region.

While we're at it, I recommend Miralax (mentioned it in another thread today). It's adds water to the stool, preventing it from drying out too much in transit as opiates make it do by slowing the motility. More expensive but you may find as I have, that it is easier to work with. I was SO sorry when it became available OTC as it costs me (net) much more now than when it was a prescription.

Much sympathy! Gas pains CAN feel just like a knife. Seems so unfair they're regarded sort of humorously (but NOT by those who've had them!). Just imagine why colicky babies are crying! :o

Debra JGL
06-22-2010, 11:27 PM
Jen, I'm so sorry for the scary couple of days, especially when you didn't know what it was. I was just about to post to your last entry and let you know how happy I am for you that the surgery has worked out so well, but I'm just including it in this post. You're really on the recovery roller coaster. I haven't had the surgery yet, but I had 2 c-sections and very constipated and I remember they wouldn't let me out of the hospital until I went to the bathroom, but they didn't let me know how often I should be going at home or when to be concerned. Hopefully now that you know what's going on it'll be smoother sailing. Thanks for sharing and don't worry about "too much" information, these are the things that are good to know and you don't always hear about. Hope you keep feeling better.

JenniferG
06-22-2010, 11:30 PM
Oh yikes, Jen. Sometimes I think the constipation is worse than the surgery. I didn't go for 9 days. (I suspect because they had me eating from the day after surgery - wouldn't recommend it.) I had two enemas, nothing happened. My friend brought in some chewy stuff made of figs and other things and I didn't read the instructions, I just ate. After all the stuff the hospital was giving me from day 1 to prevent constipation, this was the only thing that worked. Three hours later, like you, I damn near exploded.

My rods were fine!

Back-out
06-22-2010, 11:38 PM
Thank you, Linda for the article! Just want to point out that Miralax which I mentioned is polyethylene glycol which the article incorrectly states is only available by prescription. Checking dates, it looks like this article was written in 2005 so MAYBE there are advances from then (I hope, I hope).

As for me, based on this article, I think I will try adding some "propulsives" too, especially as it states they are not addictive - that is, no tolerance develops (which can happen with other laxatives).

Do NOT want to end up in the ER again with severe lower right-sided pain, and given an ultrasound. This happened once, only to lead to me being pronounced constipated. :mad: Luckily, my insurance paid for everything or it could have been doubly unpleasant. As it is, my kids haven't let me live it down. :o

jsully
06-23-2010, 12:05 AM
I took Mag Citrate mon night and went all night long. My stomach doesn't hurt because of the narcotics. However, after going all night, i was so achy, hot and cold. so I beefed up on fluids last night and am doing ok, then today It an gonna drink prune juice because my belly is still firm and ethiopianlike. Hope you are felling better! janet

titaniumed
06-23-2010, 01:47 AM
Jen
Oh boy! Opoid constipation seems to happen quite often here on the forum.
Everytime a group goes into surgery, somebody posts. I guess thatís why I had "Magnesium Citrate" in my sig for some time....

Try some pedialyte or gatorade to restore electrolytes. It will make you feel better. A bottle or two of Mag Citrate oral solution on your shelf is a good thing to have. Its sold at the pharmacy, over the counter.

Linda
Thx for the great article. Its worth starting a thread, and should be mandatory reading for people having surgery...or anyone who takes meds.

I have always said that one should go every day to make it easy. I was going every day, and still ended up in trouble.... It was 24 hours, and I knew I was in trouble. I thought I was going to die.

I even tried Castor oil. Mussolini used to kill his political prisoners with it!
Ed

JenM
06-23-2010, 02:57 AM
Thank you all so much for the suppport and sharing your stories. It is now 2:29 on the east coast. I haven't even been to bed yet. Around midnight I got that sharp shooting pain again and couldn't stop screaming. I very as my 5 year old seems scared to death of me. When I first got home From the hospital he used to give me hugs and kisses. Now the past 2 nights it seems like he's scared. Anyway, the gas
backup was so bad tonight I thought I was going to die. All I could think about was being so sad and scared to die at 31. I wanted to wake my kids up at 1am and tell them I love them "just in case" if I were to die. I mean the pain was that unbearable. I think my husband just thought the paineds were making me crazy. I don't think he understands the constipation issue as a result of the surgery. Anyway, to make a long story short, I drank a bottle of Gatorade and finally my stomach started making crazy sounds and I exploded literally for like a half hour. I've never been so happy on my life!!!! The past two days have been so horrible. How come the surgeon doesn't tell u how bad this is? If I wasn't for the forum,I wouldn't have known. There is some good news to this story if u can believe it. After I went to the bathroom, I stepped on the scale and lost another 6 pounds, which makes it a total of 10 pounds today. That's how backed up and gummed up I was.

Thanks again for your replies. You are all like family to me and Im so happy and lucky to have my friends .

Hope that is the end of the bathroom for the night!

And Linda, thanks for the article. I'll read it tomorrow.

Jen m

debbei
06-23-2010, 06:30 AM
my goodness Jen, you sure have had a rough time of it. I was sent home on stool softeners (colace I think) and miralax. I'm thinking that's why I had no problem. Are you using these? After I stopped that, I switched to my high-fiber diet plus prune juice every morning and I was fine.

Back-out
06-23-2010, 10:26 AM
The past two days have been so horrible. How come the surgeon doesn't tell u how bad this is? If I wasn't for the forum,I wouldn't have known...And Linda, thanks for the article. I'll read it tomorrow.

Jen m
Jen, to refer to your question about surgeons, Linda's article highlights that doctors prescribing narcotics SHOULD do more to help patients manage the resulting constipation. Considering how painful the surgery is, there's really no excuse for the numbers of patients reporting that their pain from gas and constipation was worse than the surgical pain! And to think that part is largely avoidable!

I feel very strongly, based on this forum, that doctors should do a MUCH better job all around at educating patients about narcotics. The withdrawal effects should be discussed too, especially the resulting depression which for most goes with the territory. If people know to expect it and that's it's "only chemical" (and temporary) they will feel far less despair.

This goes in spades for patients who are mothers of young children as their moods and pain are so osmotically transferred to their kids. Depression, euphoria (and ups and downs for those taking short-acting pain meds and trying to space them out) , side effects of constipation (potentially very serous, as your story plainly illustrates) and more - all need to be discussed with a plan of action before the patient goes home!!

So sorry this was not part of your educational arsenal! It seems that poor opioid education is a major failing in many otherwise excellent surgical practices. Who WAS your surgeon, BTW? Your story should be clipped and forwarded to the SRS as required reading for members. Being slipshod in this seemingly trivial (but NOT) area causes so much needless suffering for the whole family!

Singer
06-23-2010, 10:40 AM
I'm sorry you are going through this, Jen. We are all so different -- I didn't go for 9 days, but aside from some bloating, I never had abdominal pain. I finally "went" after the rehab nurse gave me a suppository.

If your pain returns, you probably should go see your primary care doc....just to be safe. If it's an ileus, you will need some help with settling down.

Pooka1
06-23-2010, 10:41 AM
I feel very strongly, based on this forum, that doctors should do a MUCH better job all around at educating patients about narcotics.

I doubt that will happen when many surgeons aren't even restricting all food/drink until gut sounds are heard while still in the hospital. We had a thread about how curious this is because it's completely avoidable. No food/drink until gut sounds was strictly enforced by our surgeon and neither kid had any bloating/discomfort whatsoever because of it. It's proven.


This goes in spades for patients who are mothers of young children as their moods and pain are so osmotically transferred to their kids. Depression, euphoria (and ups and downs for those taking short-acting pain meds and trying to space them out) , side effects of constipation (potentially very serous, as your story plainly illustrates) and more - all need to be discussed with a plan of action before the patient goes home!!


In general, I think many kids are off narcotics within several days to a few weeks. So I don't think the issue is as prominent as in the adult crowd where longer term narcotics usage seems to be the norm and seems to require a plan for the ensuing constipation.

JenM
06-23-2010, 10:47 AM
Hi debbe-
I was given colace to take 3 times a day and then senna (which is a laxative) to take 2 times a day,and 2 pills each time. And I can't believe this is still happening! Can someone explain what a paralytic illeus is?

Thanks,
jenm

Back-out
06-23-2010, 07:54 PM
Can someone explain what a paralytic illeus is?

Thanks,
jenm
Here are two good basic links and there are tons more online.

Basically, it's loss of intestinal motility for functional rather than anatomic reasons.

Hope tonight is better and you can stay off the pot. Sounds ghastly!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ileus
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7886

Confusedmom
06-23-2010, 11:28 PM
I very as my 5 year old seems scared to death of me. When I first got home From the hospital he used to give me hugs and kisses. Now the past 2 nights it seems like he's scared. Anyway, the gas
backup was so bad tonight I thought I was going to die. All I could think about was being so sad and scared to die at 31. I wanted to wake my kids up at 1am and tell them I love them "just in case" if I were to die.

Jen,

This story about your child seeming scared and you wanting to wake them up "just in case" made me tear up. I am so sorry you are going through this. I do think it's a good idea to call your primary care doctor and your surgeon and get them to adjust your meds to regulate you.

Other home remedies: Activia, Raisin Bran, caffeine. Can people who've had the surgery chime in as to whether any of these might help? Also, drink lots of Gatorade, etc., as repeat "explosions" can really dehydrate you. Sending good thoughts your way!

Evelyn

mbeckoff
06-23-2010, 11:49 PM
This is one of the reasons that I was very glad that my surgeon sent me to rehab. When I got home after being in rehab for 10 days, I was human again. All of the problems were behind me and I felt really good .


Melissa

jsully
06-23-2010, 11:51 PM
Mag Citrate and Prune Juice work wonders

JenM
06-24-2010, 07:41 AM
Thank you so much Confusedmom, Jsully, and everyone else who ressponded. I am doing alot better this morning in terms of constipation. Just the back pain is really getting the me.

Confused mom- I am really sad about the situation with my kids. They just always run over to my husband now and ignore me. Yesterday my 5 year old asked why am I always in the bathroom!!! I lived in the bathroom literally for 2 full days, and my butt is soooo sore I never want to go again! Thanks for all your support. I've been following your posts too and I'm glad you scheduled your surgery for September. Take care and best of luck to you. This whole situation is really hard when you have young kids. Right now I'm at the stage where I'm thinking "why the heck would I do this with 2 young kids? I must be crazy!!"

JenM

jrnyc
06-24-2010, 08:03 AM
hi Jen
i am so sorry to hear that you are suffering...
do you still have the chills?
am wondering whether you could call the surgeon's office...even to talk to the nurse...and ask about what is going on with you...did you take your temp when you had chills to make sure you dont have any infection going on...?

PLEASE...remember there is a week end coming up...the worst time to try and reach any doctor! especially in the summer!!!
so please....if you think it's a good idea to call him...do it now!!

hope you feel better soon...
and i know you cant help worry about your children...but they'll come back around...things may just seem a little different to them now, so they go to the person who is acting in a more familiar way...but dont beat yourself up! when you are healed, you will be able to do so many more things with your kids!!

jess

JenM
06-24-2010, 08:30 AM
Thanks so much for the concern Jess. I actually think it's a reaction from taking all the narcotics. Before the surgery, I barely ever have taken any medicine besides an advil maybe like twice a month. I was on oxycontin once last summer and it did the same thing to my body temperature. i have a nurse who comes to my house every day and she says I have no temperature and she thinks it's the meds. I will call the surgeon's nurse today just to ask.

JenM

jrnyc
06-24-2010, 08:44 AM
i didnt realize that you are so very unfamiliar with taking medication!
it must make all of this even harder on you...

i really hope whatever is causing this suffering is gone quickly! and i'm glad you are calling the nurse... at least she will be aware of what is going on...

feel better soon...

jess

LynetteG
06-24-2010, 08:57 AM
JenM - I was exactly the same as you. I had horrible fluctuations of boiling hot to freezing cold while on the meds, and like you I had never been on meds of any kind before, I hate taking pills of any kind. Also my kids are 7 and 9 so I know how you feel about having this surgery with young ones, however, they are very resilient, and before you know it, you will be coming off the meds, you will be feeling a hundred times better, and then you'll be so happy you had the surgery because then you'll be able to do a lot more things with your kids without hurting. I know it doesn't feel like it now, but it will feel better, I promise you. Hugs to you Jen.

Singer
06-24-2010, 09:48 AM
Also Jen, try not to worry about your kids running to your husband instead of you....kids are very resilient and forgiving and as soon as you're feeling better, they'll be all over you again. Consider yourself fortunate (as I was) to have a husband who is there for your kids and let them bond while you heal. This too shall pass!

LynetteG
06-24-2010, 07:05 PM
Chris - I totally concur with everything you said :)

JenniferG
06-24-2010, 07:42 PM
Good advice re your little ones. My little grandaughters were very nervous about hugging me, obviously their mother told them to be gentle. I think they were a little scared of me too, for a while, because I seemed so different, I suppose. But it didn't last long.

Confusedmom
06-25-2010, 06:54 PM
Also, your little ones are so little they probably won't even remember this when they are older. The 5-year-old might have vague memories, but the 3-year-old probably won't. "Mommy" will be in vogue again soon!!!:)

Evelyn

mgs
11-10-2010, 09:19 AM
Just resurrecting this thread. . .since I seem to be heading in this direction.

I did a pre-emptive Mag Citrate the evening before my Nov 2 surgery, so I went into the OR in "good shape". :) Here it is, Nov 10, and nothing.

I've been taking Colace and Dulcolax since the surgery, and thrown in some Ex-Lax here and there. . .nothing. So, last night I downed a bottle of Mag Citrate. Still nothing.

I'm not in (abdominal) pain - yet - but I am quite bloated (at least 7 lbs heavier than pre-surg. I am eating a little, but not that much. Since some of my bloating is in my ankles, I'm guessing that a certain amount of it is water.)

Wondering what my next plan of attack should be.

Singer
11-10-2010, 12:28 PM
I hate to say it, but the only thing that unblocked me in rehab 10 days after surgery was a suppository. Not pretty!!!!

I would definitely call your doctor at this point, mainly because no response after a bottle of Mag Citrate warrants being checked out.

JenniferG
11-10-2010, 05:02 PM
mgs, I went 9 days after surgery, and I was eating from day 2. I think this was a mistake. I tried everything including 2 enemas in hospital. Nothing worked. Then my friend came in with some Nu-lax, which is an over the counter concoction which has figs and other dried fruit in it. It worked in three hours. Nu-lax is probably marketed under a different name in the US, but if I were you, I'd have someone ask the Pharmacist. It helped keep me regular after I went home as well.

What surprised me, the doctor and the hospital staff weren't at all concerned about 9 days of constipation, but I certainly was.

backissues
11-10-2010, 06:03 PM
I understand Dr. Schwartz's Intestinal Formula #1 or the Intestinal Formula #1 Max is very good. www.herbdoc.com

I haven't tried it but my very good source has.

briarrose
11-10-2010, 06:58 PM
I understand Dr. Schwartz's Intestinal Formula #1 or the Intestinal Formula #1 Max is very good. www.herbdoc.com

I haven't tried it but my very good source has.

This does work very well, but be careful with it. Make sure you take it with a significant amount of food or it can make you sick (throwing up, sweating). This has happened to me several times.

Shell

BadKitty
11-10-2010, 08:39 PM
mgs, if it makes you feel any better, I had the same problem - surgery on Oct 26th, being urged to eat almost from day one (no appetite), no help with mag citrate or colace, HORRIBLY bloated and in pain until the nurse at rehab over a week later tried the "mini enema" which I spoke of before. After that, MOM and colace got things moving drastically, but it all backed up again.

No one mentioned that a regular diet of stool softeners and intestinal stimulants, along with a light diet, would be needed as long as I was on Percocet. I thought that once the problem was relieved, it wouldn't come back ... but boy did it! I think I'm on the way to gut recovery now, but fingers still crossed in that department.