I have a 16 inch scar that runs from just above my willy, passes thru my belly button, and stops just below my sternum. I received this scar the last time a had another section of my colon removed.
That was the second such surgery, and was completed when I was 30 years old. The first surgery was done when I was 15 years old.
When I was 15 yo, the pain upon waking up in the recovery room was quite acute… but, the pain I felt lying there was nothing compared to the pain I felt when it was time to move from the wheeled guerney (sp?) to the regular hospital bed. I damn near passed out on that short trip onto the bed. But, I didn’t lose consciousness…
They started me on a morphine drip soon thereafter. Fantastic stuff, morphine, for killing pain. But, that stuff eventually gave me horrible hallucinations, which I still remember today.
I spent eleven days in the hospital then… but I was feeling good enough to get out by the seventh day. It was the beginning of summer and I didn’t want to miss all the graduation parties…
Anyway, when I was 30 yo, I had to have another section of colon removed. During pre-op, the anesthesiologist came to see me and to discuss options for pain relief. I told them that I remebered feeling lots of pain after my last surgery, and that I understood and expected to feel pain again this time. But, the guy waved his hand and asserted that they had become much improved over the past 15 years. He asked me if I wanted to have an epidural… I remembered that my wife had been awake during her c-section and she never felt anything… so, I replied that I would like to try the epidural.
The problem with epidurals is that they are hit or miss. When my wife was awake, the docs could test whether or not the epidural was working, simply by touching her from toes to upper legs and asking her if she felt anything. The funny thing was, she was so frightened that she kept answering in the affirmative, up until the doc pulled Zack out and showed him to us!
Anyway, my epidural didn’t work. It had missed. That’s the story of my life… so, when I woke up in the recovery room, I was in really acute pain, and shivering from the cold that most people feel after surgery.
I stayed like that for 12 hours, until the night nurse came on duty and said, “WTF! The epidural either works or it doesn’t. If you are in pain, it didn’t work and you must be in really bad pain.” She started me on morphine, which I only used for a day, IIRC. I hate pain… really hate it… and pain inhibits recovery. But, after I started to hallucinate again… nasty hallucinations… I rejected the morphine and took some simple pain relievers such as Tylenol (not so effective for a 16 inch cut through the abdominal cavity… but, no hallucinations.
But, had I exhibited a bit more of the normal pain symptoms, I certainly wouldn’t have laid there in pain for 12 hours.
I was in the hospital for 19 days that time. The extra 15 years in age seemed to really make a difference in my recovery time. I was in poor shape even then.
I never passed out after either of my surgeries. But, every year I get tested. And of course I get drugged up pretty good, so I feel no pain. In order to drug me up, they shoot the good stuff into me via an IV. My veins are difficult to find… fortunately, I barely even feel needles. But, I usually need to be stuck several times until they get a vein. Once, a few years ago, the nurses were really having trouble finding a vein… they had stuck me about 8 times, three different nurses… they were getting nervous, but I kept reassuring them that I was not in any discomfort. Finally, they tried a vein on the inside (palm side) of my wrist. They hit a nerve that runs there and I remember a very acute pain shot through my body… and then I passed out.
So, I’ve been literally cut deep from pubic to sternum, and left to lie for 12 hours with no painkiller… and I did OK with that. Mind you, my surgery was rough… much rougher than a c-section… because my surgery necessitated cutting through muscle and the abdominal cavity (which c-sections do not), and c-sections are horizontal cuts, where mine was a long vertical cut (makes it extremely painful to move any part of your torso).
Yet, a tiny needle hitting a single nerve ending dropped me. Out cold.
My wife had a 43 hour labor before they decided to give her the epidural and do the c-section. If it was not for the printed readout evidencing her contractions, we would never have known she was having them. Afterwards, I asked her if she wasn’t in pain. She replied that of course she was in pain.
Some people, for various reasons, bear pain quite well. That doesn’t mean they do not feel the pain.