In retrospect, I probably should have gone to the ER on the night I had the chest tube or at least the next night but I kept telling myself the pain would get better. Instead of getting better, it got pretty worse and by Friday the pain was excruciating. I had made a previous appointment to see my family doctor at 10:30am on Friday.
I had a friend take me to the appointment because I was in too much pain to even attempt driving. My family doctor was concerned by the amount of pain I was in and she spoke to a couple of respiratory doctors who advised I went straight to the ER. I had no idea that would mark the start of a miserable next few days.
I was sent for another chest Xray in order to be sure the chest tube was inserted correctly. The Xray showed it was and the next task was how to get my pain under control. I was given a lot of hydromorph (a strong pain med) via an IV (don’t get me started on the number of attempts it took before they found a vein). The pain meds did absolutely nothing for the pain and I was admitted to the medicine ward at about 9pm. I would later find out I am allergic to hydromorph (in addition to morphine which I already knew I was allergic to). I stayed up all night with intense itching – a reaction to the hydromorph. I was switched to a different pain med called Fentanyl at about midnight and given an antihistamine for the itching.
On Saturday morning, I had a doctor come from the palliative unit (I will talk more about this in a separate post) to discuss pain options with me. I was hooked up to something called a PCA (see image below)
which meant I could control how much pain relief I got. I could click on a button every 6 minutes to get a dose of 10mcg of Fentanyl. The pain finally subsided on Wednesday morning. Whilst they were working on getting the pain under control, they were also draining the fluid in order to relieve some of the pressure on my left side.
I was finally discharged on Friday after being at the hospital for a week. To say I was happy to go home would be an understatement – I was ecstatic!
I knew I love my family and home before but the joy I felt when I got home that night was incredible. Nothing like a miserable few days at the hospital to remind you of all the blessings in your life…