Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Unexpected Consequence

Well, not entirely unexpected. The good news is a really good lawyer has agreed to champion my SSD claim. The bad news is that relating the situation and the causes of it have brought back a spate of PTSD related to the really bad experiences that resulted in my disability. They were perpetuated by doctors doing their best to help me, but they were still pretty horrific and the PTSD has resulted in a bad case of intermittent insomnia and a few panic attacks for spice. In the way of the universe the bad times have been balanced by some really nice things. Yesterday for example I was having kind of a bad day, when Don called and we had a lovely conversation that cheered me up immensely. Right after that I got calls from two of my three brothers which also helped :-}
Of course Oscar is incredibly supportive, too. And the bad times now will be worth it when (I am thinking positively, not if, but when) the SSD comes through.
---caution the next little bit may be TMI (Too Much Information) for the squeamish---
One of the episodes that seems to be haunting me the most happened the day after the hernia repair in 2001. I had a wound 15 inches long where they installed two layers of fairly wide mesh. They had given me an epidural (inserted by a rookie) that was meant to keep the extremely high levels of pain away. That was fine, until I lost the ability to move my legs. The next doc to show up had them remove the epidural but neglected to write a scrip for a replacement med. The epidural wore off really quickly and I was left, the day after surgery with the firm knowledge of what it might have been like in the old west to be 'gut shot'. It took what seemed like forever but was likely more like 40 minutes for the nurse to come, run down a doctor, and a morphine pump to be installed. Since then, that has been my definition of '10' on the pain scale.
Another episode happened later that same year, after my body reacted to the stitches and mesh with infection. Oscar took me to the ER where the queasy intern encouraged the infection beneath the partially-healed incision to drain from the reopened wound near my navel. A few days later the head surgeon decided to McGyver together a series of doodads not really meant to work together and put in a more permanent drain to keep the fluid from building up again. One of the doctors on call, possibly an intern bluntly refused to help the doctor with this operation, which was carried out with local anesthetic in my dim hospital room as I lay in my bed. After he hooked up the 6-7 inch sequence of joined hardware and began the mechanical suction, I heard air whistle in from the top of the wound (where a more conventional drain had been installed.) My wound remained opened to some extent for more than nine months, through a series of IV antibiotics, nurses home visits, and far too many doctor appointments.
During that 9 months, I also had botched ankle surgery that lead to my current non-walking.
I guess some of the worst moments of that year will drift their way up, and it is better that they come to the surface than linger below gathering power.
This isn't meant to be a 'poor me' post, but perhaps a partial catharsis that may help me come back to normal and reduce the panic attacks a bit. Over all I am quite well, but the insomnia related fatigue is interfering with the things I want to do while I am awake and I am (ha ha) tired of it.
This too shall pass, eh?

2 comments:

Marietta said...

Diana,
having PTSD from medical trauma as well, I really feel for you. It is really really hard when it flares. (((gentle hugs))) as you ride this out. Keep telling yourself it will settle down back into your subconscious, because eventually, it will. Email me any time you need to discuss it.

morewithles said...

You've been through so much! I wish you continued strength -- you can get through this!!!