We didn't know it would be this bad. Really.
March 2, 2012 9:42 AM Subscribe
My husband had surgery recently and we are struggling with his home care. Please share your post-surgical pain management and caregiver experiences.
posted by fanta_orange to health & fitness (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Husband had spinal surgery two weeks ago. He is currently on oxycodone for pain, hydroxyzine (an antihistamine) for itching from the pain medication, and Valium (as a muscle relaxant). He also takes Tylenol for pain, because he can't take NSAIDs due to stomach issues. He's had laparoscopic surgery before, but this is at such a completely different level in terms of pain and recovery, so I don't know if what is happening is normal.
After two weeks, his pain seems to be about the same as it was the day he came home. He is very spacey, disconnected, and sleepy all of the time. He's extremely forgetful to the point of not taking his medication when he's supposed to, then ends up writhing in pain. Last night when I had to go out for a few hours, he failed to take the meds I left out for him, opting instead to drink a bunch of alcohol. While he was drunk, he made some comments about wanting to die because the pain was so bad. There are weapons in the house, so this scared me quite alot, as did the mixing alcohol with his pain meds. I ended up staying up for hours to make sure he kept breathing all night. Then he couldn't really explain why he did it. Another time I found him holding the cat, who weighs more than the 10-pound weight limit he's under, and again he couldn't explain why he had done it. There are other examples - but basically, unless I am watching him like a hawk he keeps making very impulsive decisions that could ultimately hurt him. I feel like I am taking care of a child.
We had a followup with the surgeon earlier in the week and he told us at that time that we should expect another 3 or 4 weeks of this. After last night I am afraid to leave him alone for more than an hour or two, and that I can't trust him to take his meds on time or to not drink. The thing is, I have to go to work, unless I take PTO to take care of him.
TL;DR, my questions:
1. Is it normal for him to be so spacey and forgetful on oxycodone, hydroxyzine and valium, and yet still complaining of pain? Is it a sign that we need to change his meds?
2. As his caregiver, is it normal that I have to remind him constantly to take his meds, to eat, and to keep him from doing stupid shit like picking up heavy things? Should I be staying home fulltime to do this? Is it normal that he is unable to keep track of these things himself?
3. What should I do about the drinking/potential for self-harm? Is it overkill for me to empty the liquor cabinet and remove the weapons from the house? It seems like the logical choice but I would like to know if I am being overly dramatic about this.