Agony in the recovery room.
February 28, 2011 2:25 PM Subscribe
Yesterday I woke up from an operation in terrible agony. Is this normal (details inside), and if not what should I do?
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (33 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
On Saturday I broke my leg (tib & fib) in three places in a snowboarding accident. I was taken by ambulance to the local hospital which treats many such injuries. I was into surgery the following day and it was obvious the team were completely slammed.
I spent less than 5 minutes with the surgeon (completely inadequate consent -- did not explain a singl and a couple more minutes with the anaesthetist, who convinced my to have a general. I explained to him that I'd had a previous bad experience with general anaesthesia where I was semi-conscious during the whole thing (a long while ago in another country). He reassured my it was his job to make sure nothing like that happened.
I went out like a light. They operated to insert a titanium rod into my tibia. I woke up what seemed like moments later to unendurable agony. I basically had no pain relief. For some reason they only began administering it when I woke up. So I lay there for what seemed like half an hour screaming and begging them to do something, but all they could do was to tell me to take deep breaths.
I'm still in hospital but due to be discharged again. I had another three-minute consultation with the surgeon today but was having a bad reaction to one of the opiates they gave me so although I'd made a list of questions, I'd forgotten to ask about the waking-up-in-pain part.
I've asked the nurses to get the anasthetist to see me so he can explain what happened. The only tidbit of information I have is that they thought I was allergic to morphine (despite having told the anaesthetist and about 20 other people directly that I wasn't allergic to any medication).
They may have thought this because I declined opiates in the ER, but this was simply because I wasn't in that much pain and much prefer NSAIDs.
Update: the surgeon just came to see me having heard I was upset and tried to tell me that it was normal and that they were trying to 'catch up' with the pain relief. I have no idea what that means, if anything.
Final data point: I'm in Canada and this is covered by provincial health insurance. No derails into public/private please.
What is normal here? Is it really normal to wake up screaming after an operation waiting for pain relief to kick in? What are my options here. I am very reluctant to take any legal steps but this was a horrible and harrowing experience.
(Sorry if this seems like a naive question but I've never had an operation before)