There is No Such Thing as Minor Surgery-Speak Up for Help

This post was written by Valerie on January 2, 2012
Posted Under: Grandma Quotes

This past December 2011 my neighbor went in for back surgery that was to have her home in three days–19 + days later she is now home and still recovering. Her surgery complications caused her to require 6 pints of blood and three additional surgeries.
Her surgery did not qualify as a “minor” surgery because they had to cut first through her stomach to repair part of her spine and then another cut to open her back to complete the surgery on the other side of her spine.
I as so many of their friends have been helping her including the visiting nurse that came daily once she was released to come home. Here is what I learned from her–trust your own body and your own voice and not a nurse that says “this is normal”.
She kept telling the nurse that made her walk the halls after the surgery (which is a normal post op process to get the body up and moving soon as possible) but she had horrible pain. The nurse treated her like most patients–not listening to their patient.
Luckily my neighbor got her point made with the nurse in time to see her leg swell up three times the size due to a blood clot. Not only that but the nurses also did not listen to her experiencing the horrible pain in her stomach that not even the pain meds helped subside.
It turned out she had an internal bleed in her stomach and finally got the surgery needed to stop the bleed but she lost a lot of blood during the time of onset pain to surgery-requiring her to have 6 pints of blood over several days.
As women or men we need to understand that the only real person that knows how much pain you have is you. Pain is your body telling you something is wrong. Unfortunately there are people that have a high pain tolerance and that is what I fear for many people that continue to trust the nursing care and not listen to their own bodies and speaking out sooner.
Just after seeing what my neighbor had gone through my daughter went in to have a simple in and out repair surgery. She got to the hospital on Dec. 29th and post surgery experienced a lot of pain and a lot of bleeding. The nurse just sent in someone to clean up the blood and witnessed herself the large amount of blood. My daughter thought this was not normal but she trusted the nurse since the nurse told her this was “normal”. My daughter bled heavily again and was again told by the nurse “this is still normal” until after the fourth time of heavy bleeding and a lot of pain my daughter was transferred by ambulance to the hospital from the in-and-out surgery center. She, like my neighbor, had ended up having another surgery again because the procedure sutures did not hold and she was loosing a lot of blood. It took 3 pints of blood for my daughter to finally be able to leave the hospital and got home at around 11PM on Dec. 31.
Both my neighbor and my daughter are still recovering.
The first thing anyone going in for any procedure is to be your own advocate or bring one with you.
I am not a medical doctor but I have dealt with numerous medical emergencies as a school health technician, on several of my jobs where it was necessary to call paramedics or to perform cpr.
You have to speak up and if you don’t get the right answer insist on having the doctor called. Pain and loosing a lot of blood are signs that something more serious is going on with your body.
A surgery can be said successful but if an hour or later you have lots of bleeding/swelling/lack of urinating/or pain speak up and get help.
Thanks to my daughter and her husband she got the help she needed and in time. And thanks to my neighbor for not accepting the word of the nurse that tried to keep her walking.
Listen to your body and speak up for yourself as quickly as possible even if it means that a nurse has to be spoken to harshly. As a care taker in the past I would rather have been yelled at by the patient than to loose a patient because I did not listen and failed to take action to save a life.

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