i was given what’s called a nerve block yesterday, prior to surgery. it’s purpose, obviously, is pain reduction in the first 12-24 hours, by numbing the two major nerves in the leg. when i woke up at 2:30 this morning for my next dose of percocet, my toes were tingling – the first sign that the nere block was wearing off.
at five i woke up again, ninety minutes before my next dose of percocet. the pain was so bad it dragged me out of my sleep. by six i was having full-body convulsions. i thought that maybe getting up would take my mind off the pain until 6:30 rolled around.
standing up was excruciating. crutching the ten feet to the bathroom was excruciating. every last thing made shock waves of pain course through my body.
i was halfway back to my bed, nauseous, shaking, and hyperventilating, when the tears came. i’m not a crier, but first one dropped, and then another. within seconds they were falling like dominoes, a succession that, once started, i was powerless to stop.
i was in and out of fitful sleep for the next ninety minutes. the percocet did nothing to dull the pain, and as i waited for 8:00 and the promise of oxycontin, i lay moaning and crying, tears soaking my pillow and dotting my shirt. occasionally i am mesmerized by my good foot, watching it tremble and spasm as the shudders wrack my body.
my dad called at eight, and although i tried my best, i couldn’t keep it together. ‘dad it hurts so bad,’ i gasped. i know he feels terrible that he can’t be here with me; we both know in the backs of our minds that if my mom were alive, they would have come.
my advisor comes over, and although i can contain my tears, the pain is obvious in my face and in the drum-tight strain of my voice.
the oxycontin has no effect. i take the anti-nausea medication they prescribed. the nurses all told me that it would not only cure the nausea, but completely knock me out. thirty minutes later, i am still nauseous and wide awake.
my alarm rings again at 10:30. more percocet. the nurse calls, and the doctor. i ask them both what the hell is wrong. they tell me that once the nerve block wears off, the body become hyper-sensitive to pain for the first few hours.
i breathe a little easier. i finish my ensure and eat some raisins. i read, and then call to make my physical therapy appointment. when my dad and advisor call again, i sound more human, less panicked. the relief of knowing that it will be okay sets off a chain reaction as the acute pain simultaneously lessens.
it will be okay.
i will be okay.
i’ll run again.
this won’t destroy me.
like dominoes, the goodness falls into place.