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The Absence of Pain

I had an interesting early morning in the ER today. As a patient, though – not as an RN.

Around 4am, I was awoken from a very deep sleep by the worst pain imaginable. This, according to the 1-10 pain scale that we nurses are supposed to use to judge a patient’s pain, would be a 10. At first, in my slumbery stupor, I thought it was a charley horse in my back and would go away. Then I became fully awake quite quickly and realized that it was not going to just go away.

I don’t know if you can imagine being in so much pain that you actually consider calling an ambulance, but I was. I then figured there was no way I could just passively sit there and wait for them. So I woke my fiance up to take me to the ER. It hurt so bad that I didn’t even care about what I was wearing – I just threw on a coat and we left.

I guessed that it was a kidney stone because it was in that area of my back and only on one side. I’d heard that kidney stones hurt like a bitch, but in my short life thus far, my worst pain has been dry socket from wisdom tooth extraction (which I would have rated a 10 at the time) and when I injured my back. I would now rate those two situations as 6-7′s compared to this.

We finally get to the ER in the hospital that I work at, and have to fill out a goofy form. We tell the receptionist person that this is the worst pain ever, but she seems quite unfazed and said that the triage nurse would be with me soon, and she was. As with the receptionist, I’m convinced that even if I’d come in with my arm cut off spurting blood with every heartbeat, this triage nurse would not have gone ANY FASTER in taking my vitals and gathering info.

I finally got to a gurney, got an IV, and got some freakin’ Toradol, which turned out not to be as great for me as it has been for my patients. After that didn’t work, they gave me some morphine and phenergan. I’ve never had morphine or phenergan and was actually a little scared to take it – one Benedryl tablet can zonk me out for 10 hours easily. It did end up taking the pain away a little, but not for very long at all – maybe 15 minutes at the most with both doses. Mostly it just made me very very sleepy.

Then, just like that, the pain vanished. Disappeared. Now it’s just a dull ache that I can definitely manage. So brings me to the title of this entry. Isn’t it kind of a weird feeling when something hurts so bad and then just stops? It’s like a tangible relief. I was so fascinated with that feeling.

I can’t get in to see my doc for another week, so I hope it stays that way! It was really interesting to see how morphine made me feel. Despite sleeping for 3 hours before I went to the hospital, I easily slept 8 more when I got home. Yay phenergan :-)

I normally work fast when my patient tells me they are having 9-10/10 pain – I think now I’ll work a little faster.

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Comments

Geez, geeners… I hope you are all right…

Geena,
sounds like a stone pain pattern, and that you passed it (=sudden pain relief). Dod you get a confirmatory test? IVP, CT? Probably don’t have to have one, but would be useful.

Glad you’re better!

Nope, no confirmatory tests. Maybe if I can manage to actually find a doctor in my HMO that is 1) accepting patients and 2) works more than 1 day a week, they’ll have me do one.
I can’t believe they can see something as small as a grain of sand on a CT though!

Wow! Just this am, a friend of mine was driving to work and had a sudden onset of pain like you described and had to pull over and call an ambulance. Is kidney stones as well as far as I know, must be awful.

Geena,
Yes, we routinely get reports of 3mm stones from the spiral CT’s. It’s pretty amazing. (Though we didn’t believe the negative the other day and ordered another (you should have heard that conversation) and found a stone.

Hope your HMO hydra fight goes well.

GruntDoc

G, I can’t believe you had to go through that. That sucks. :(

I always feel like such an idiot when they ask me for my pain number. They say 10 is the worst pain I’ve ever felt, but all I can think of for this is the charley horses I used to get every now and then in my leg in the middle of the night. And I just have the feeling that that same pain would be considered a 4 to other people (perhaps now yourself).

The night of Caryn’s surgery, which finished around 10pm, a nurse came in the middle of the night with her next dose of pain medication. Unfortunately, Caryn was very sleepy and told the nurse that she didn’t need it. Big mistake. When she woke up in the morning and tried to move, she was in tears. They came and asked her what her pain number was and she said 8.

Later I asked her what her 10 was, if that was only an 8, and she said she had never had one. Or a 9 either. So what she called an 8 should have actually been a 10.

The whole time we were in the hospital I thought she was rather heroic about her pain index, always saying 3 when I would have imagined 5, and so on.

Boy look at me ramble.

Wow, that SUCKS! On the subject of pain, I thought I would add this. I know someone who had a kidney stone and then went into labor at the same time! She was at the hospital waiting to pass either the stone or the baby and when the baby came and labor was over, she was still in miserable pain with the kidney stone. Double UGH! In case you’re wondering, she said the kidney stone pain was worse than the labor pain.

Ahhhh, the mindblowing pain of a herniated lumbar disc. Waiting for an appointment with a surgeon, doping up in order to keep the screaming and crying to a minimum.
Surfing around while still doped enough to sit in a chair awhile and looking for a good pain blog site:) There ya have it. Everybody hurts:)

I suffer from RSD, and wowie does it hurt! I’m sorry to hear about your pain, but it’s great to have sympathetic doctors and nurses. Please email me if you would like to do a blog link exchange w/ http://rsddisease.blogsot.com.

I hope you’re feally fine and groovy now!

-Andi

I CURRENTLY HAVE 2 KIDNEY STONES. 1 IN MY RIGHT SIDE (8MM) AND 1 IN MY LEFT SIDE (5MM). MY KIDNEYS FEEL LIKE MIKE TYSON HAS BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF THEM. they hurt. i hurt. wish me luck, beautiful people

Hi all…..I’m a 59 year old retired chiropractor and have always tried to avoid medication. That was until I got a 5mm stone in the right proximal ureter. After being given IV non-narcotic meds that didn’t work, I was finally given Delaudid which worked wonders. Not wanting to continue taking the pill form of this drug that was given me when I left the ER, I went off meds for three days and then took the advice of a German guy I met….Large quantities of beer !!

A day later I gave birth to a 5mm stone.

I now have an 8 mm stone on the other side… this will surely be more of a challenge.

Perhaps the physiology involves hydration, muscle relaxation, and pain dulling…. but remember that the eventual result of beer will be dehydration – so be sure to drink lots of H20 afterwards..

Needless to say, don’t try this if you have taken pain meds in the last few days and certainly ask your doc’s opinion….AND DON’T DRIVE.

Keep me advised.

Jeff

HOLY SMOKES.. I JUST PASSED 2 3MM STONES AND I THOUGHT I WAS DEAD.. THE FREAKING PAIN WAS UNBEARABLE. THE AMBULANCE CAME TO GET ME FROM WORK, I COULDNT BREATHE AND I COLLAPSED.. PLEASE NO MORE STONES.

Worst pain of my life for about 5 days now Im a manager and cant get away from work until possibly tommorow. Dry socket it is killing me my wife is going to pick up clove oil for me but talk about pain just had my wisdom teeth out. Dont even feel that pain only the one dry socket that is killing me.

sounds really painful. cant say I’ve had stones. Fractured pelvis though and thats no picnic either. Yay for morphine, tho not without anitnauseas

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  • profileI am Gina. I have been a nurse for 15 years, first in med/surg, then CVICU, inpatient dialysis, CCU and now hospice. This blog is about my experiences as a nurse, and the experiences of others in the healthcare system - patients, nurses, doctors, paramedics. We all have stories!

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