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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fibromyalgia and Surgery

It has been awhile since I have posted but I was very preoccupied by healing from my 5-17-2011 knee replacement. It is about this that I am posting today.

I had a knee replacement due to extreme osteoarthritis and ligament damage. There was no other choice but surgery. Now I did have some experience with this as, before I was disabled, I was an Occupational Therapy Assistant. I knew the surgery would be rough but little did I know ......

The therapists and nurses were fine but had no knowledge of fibromyalgia. The surgeon was only interested in my knee and not my overall additional pain. Even though I was promised pain relief I never found any in the hospital. Oh, the first day was great, Mr. Morphine Pump and I were just fine, thank you! However, after that initial 24 hours.....

Here is what I learned:

1. Really prepare yourself for being out of commission for awhile. I mean cook ahead, have someone lined up to help with the house, all scripts filled, all bills paid, etc. You will NOT be up for any of these tasks.

2. Have a heart-to-heart with the surgeon. Agree ahead of time on a plan for pain control. Believe me it is much harder to do when you are in pain already.

3. Make sure you are comfortable at the hospital. DO NOT worry about bothering the nurses or aides. They are there for you. If you need something ask. Cold? Ask for a warm blanket. Pain, get that pain pill scheduled. Hungry, get something or have someone bring it in for you. I know from experience that if you cannot get comfortable, you will not be able to control that pain.

4. Do not expect to have everything go perfectly because it will not. People drop the ball and you need to be on your toes. Be sure to have someone who can advocate for you.

5. At home, have all the equipment you need. I rented a hospital bed because all our bedrooms are upstairs and I was not sure I wanted to try the stairs at first. This proved to be a godsend.

6. Consider renting an icemaker or have access to ice at all times. You can use gel packs but I found ice to work much better.

7. Follow all instructions as written. Do not mix pills or take extra.

8. If your pain spirals and you have tried everything, call the doctor! You may have to get to the ER to get it under control again.

9. Be honest in therapy on what you can and cannot do. I had to educate the therapists on fibro in order to not bring on a flare.

10. In spite of your best efforts you may still go into a flare. Surgery is hard on someone without fibro, much less with it. Have your bag of tricks ready to go at home.

In the end, I am doing pretty good now that it is months later. However, with what I have learned I hope to have a better beginning with my right knee.

Do you have any other suggestions? I would love to hear them!

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