Monday, 10 December 2012

Shake me and I'll rattle

In my last post, I mentioned the amount of painkillers I'm on. Some of you might be wondering why I'm on so many different drugs, and why I'm taking them all at once.

The short answer is: the nurses told me to.

But anyone who knows me, knows I don't take anything the medical profession says to me at face value, and I always ask questions.

So yes, I did ask why I was taking three painkillers.

Specifically, I asked why everyone on the ward was being given paracetamol, as in my experience, paracetamol does absolutely nothing to manage pain at all, not even the slightest headache.

I almost think of it as a placebo, so useless have I found it.

But the nurse explained that it works WITH the other tablets, increasing their effectiveness.

I did try to find some kind of study or article explaining this but was defeated by not really knowing the best keywords to Google. I ended up reading a slightly shocking chatroom discussion on how best to get from various legal drugs, and a few illegal ones, which was illuminating in a number of ways but shed no light on the drugs synergy issue.


I already knew that ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory, and so it helps to prevent and bring down swelling.

And of course, codeine is a strong painkiller. As well as being, for some people, a bit of a high. Sadly, I'm not opne of those people. There's no buzz for me when I take it, more's the pity, although if I were constantly high at the moment my Christmas cards wouldn't be getting written, so I guess I should be grateful.

And on a serious note, codeine is known to be highly addictive, which I'm assuming is because of that high so many people get from it, so I'm glad that I will be spared the possibility of becoming hooked on it, especially as I have 100 - count 'em! - tablets of it in my bedside table drawer right now.

Apart from the painkillers, I'm also taking heparin, which I inject daily, to thin my blood and prevent DVT, which I am more prone to anyway because of my Factor V Leiden, but which anyone who is bedridden and immobile is at risk of.

In hospital, we injected it around 10pm, but at home I've been finding that a really bad time of day for finding the mental strength to stab myself in the tummy and inject a liquid that stings, so on Saturday I skipped my evening pincushion session and instead injected the next morning, about 45 minutes after taking my meds.

That worked much better. I felt mentally more prepared, and I also seemed to feel the pain a bit less because I wasn't tired like I am at the end of the day.

I don't think I put myself at too much risk by postponing the dose 13 hours, but if they had set the injections at a decent time when I was in hospital, by giving it to me in recovery as I expected rather than late at night when I finally demanded I have it, then I wouldn't have had to do it anyway.

In addition, I'm also taking Pregnacare, which is a vitamin supplement designed to get your body ready for, and keep you healthy during, prenancy, as well as supplement your diet during breastfeeding.

I'm taking it because the Hubby and I plan to TTC (Try To Conceive) soon, and it's recommended that you take it for three months before conception. With our history of miscarriages, even though they are caused by the Factor V Leiden, I'm not taking any chances, so I'm popping a Pregnacare pill each evening to ensure my body is as healthy as possible.

The other medicine I'm taking - I think drug is too strong a word - I began taking yesterday, but if you are going to have this or any other surgery that will mean you having a general anaesthetic, and/or you are going to be on codeine for more than a couple of days, it is one you should get ready in your medicine cupboard.

It is Lactulose.

Look away now if you are squeamish or don't have any desire to know about my bowel habits, because here's the thing - Lactulose is great for constipation.

General anaesthetics give you constipation, and so does codeine.

If you're going to have this surgery, or even any surgery requiring painkillers afterwards, you need to know about this stuff. The hospital weren't very bothered about my constipation because it's not like people die of it, but when it's you, it is very uncomfortable and makes you feel yuck, so my recommendation is to get some Lactulose in.

I recommend Lactulose rather than senna, because Lactulose is much more gentle in the way it acts on the body, and yet is very effective. Considering how much medication I'm putting into my system, I want to try and be as gentle as possible.

This link explains what's different about them and how they each work.

I'll be doing a post soon on what I think you need to get ready in advance of having your bunions done, which will include medicines but also will cover lots of other things you might not have thought of and which your hospital is unlikely to tell you about.

*Your Mileage May Vary, or, your experience may be different to mine.

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