Overwhelmed by Medicine

Medicine: the art or science of restoring or preserving health or due physical condition, as by means of drugs, surgical operations or appliances, or manipulations: often divided into medicine proper, surgery, and obstetrics. – Dictionary.com

I am overwhelmed.

I am trying to recover from gallbladder surgery.  This should be my main focus.  Except that I still have to go to physical therapy – one is for worker’s comp so you can’t get out of it no matter how badly you feel – and the other to be evaluated for the followup on the tennis elbow problem –  and I see that doctor tomorrow morning.  I have (psych) therapy tomorrow night, and I had to find a friend to take me because I can’t drive on these painkillers (yes, I’m still on them, they even gave me more – I’ll come back to that) because my husband has to go for introduction sort of thing for his new part-time job.  Are you confused yet?  Because I am.  If my phone didn’t have a calendar app, I would never know where I am supposed to be or when I am supposed to be there – and I’m not even working.

Problem #1: Gallbladder surgery.  It’s been 5 days.  I still feel like crap.  I’m not eating meals so much as I am snacking on yogurt, smoothies, crackers and some fruit. (And the occasional fat-free/sugar-free gummy bear just for emotional sake.)  I’ve tried a couple of real meals and I just don’t feel well afterwards.  Now I am at the point where I don’t feel well at all.  Probably because my digestive system hasn’t reset yet.  Going along with this issue is that I am still in pain but I’ve been trying to cut back on the painkillers because they accentuate the digestive reset problem.  Also, I’m running out of them.  So I told the nurse and she conferred with the doctor, and they decided that I need to take the painkillers regularly (“as prescribed”) every 6 hours and faxed in a new prescription for me.  Lucky me.

I realize that some people would happy to have a fresh supply of Lortab but not me.  Why?  A couple of reasons. 1) I am allergic to aspirin, ibuprofen and probably all NSAIDs which means there isn’t much in the way of heavy-duty painkillers that you can give me.  So if I should build up a tolerance – well, then I’m screwed.  2) I am terrified of becoming hooked on anything.  I’ve been reassured by doctors, nurses, therapists and even articles that this is not going to happen to me in 2 or 3 weeks recovering from surgery.  Keep in mind, I never said there was any logic behind this fear.

Problem #2: Physical therapy.  Worker’s comp PT.  They had to make sure I came in 3 times this week.  Monday was definitely out.  I don’t have a driver for tomorrow, so that left Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday.  Rather than to cut a day out (which I am supposed to be down to 2x/week now anyway), they had me come in Day 4 after my surgery.  Seriously.  At least they did go a bit easy on me – I can only do some of the original exercises so they gave me new mild (in their opinion) stretching exercises to do. Worker’s Comp said that they would work with me regarding my surgery in terms of dates and obligations.  So I better not catch any crap for having to cut back on my exercises.  At least I didn’t pass out from the Lortab. Also, I had to have one more session on my elbow because I see that doctor tomorrow.  All this PT is definitely NOT GOOD for the gallbladder surgery recovery.  Just saying.

Problem #3: Elbow issue.  This is what technically put me on short term disability (STD) in the first place.  The PT said today that there isn’t much more they can do for me.  We stopped the ASTYM a couple of weeks ago and went with strengthening and it seems to be working really well.  My regular PT hasn’t been there for the past few times so another girl had to do my evaluation today.  She said that there isn’t much more they can do for me.  I have range of motion and a lot of my strength back, so maybe I do have to let the doctor cut open my arm and scrape out the bad tissue.  I get to discuss this with him tomorrow.

Do I have the emotional strength to handle another surgery?  Will it just get worse instead of better?  And what really are the odds of success? 90% or 60%?  I’ve heard both.  Does it even work at all?  I am nauseated by the thought of another surgery.  Especially on the heels of this one.  This is aside from the costs or the fear of returning (or not returning) to work.  I am at a loss.  I really need my friend Klonipin right now, but I’m not sure how well it would mix with the Lortab.  I think they are OK to use together (thanks interactions checker) but I sure as hell don’t want to die because of some stupid meds mixing.

I don’t know.  I am really overwhelmed.

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3 thoughts on “Overwhelmed by Medicine

    • Wendy,
      I can only speak to my experience. Worker’s comp didn’t give me any hassle regarding my gallbladder surgery. Work had put me out on short-term disability for my elbow (non-work) after I injured my wrist (work) even though I didn’t claim the wrist as worker’s comp right away. (I was hoping it would get better on its own.) The company’s doctor has told me that my most restrictive work restrictions determine when I can come back to work – it’s our company policy, at least. I can’t say whether your benefits, your case manager, or your company would react the same way.

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