Recently I was hospitalized with a badly broken ankle w/compartment syndrome, along with ripping loose all the muscles/ligaments/tendons on the opposite side. I want to testify to one thing -- the books say compartment syndrome causes "pain out of proportion to the actual injury." No cr*p!!!
I would rather birth six babies and have 1200 kidney stones than go through this again!!!!!! And yes I have had bad labors and a year's worth of kidney stones, so I know of what I speak!!!!
I was admitted to the hospital ER around 5:30pm. The ER staff, for the most part was very good. The OR staff the next day was very good. The floor staff, well.....I hate to say it, as this hospital was where my RN daughter worked (she has since left for non-related reasons), but they were lacking in good sense. Or at least one particular one of them.
The first night, they did not give me the call light. But wrote their names (RN and PCA) on the whiteboard and told me to call them on their hospital provided cell phones. I was very upset, freaked out, in a lot of freaking pain and alone. I couldn't find the call light. Couldn't get my brain clear enough to actually look in the right places for it!!! Took me forever to find my glasses to read the blasted board, and then when I called, their phones rang and rang and rang..........At no time during the night did they answer those phones. I was soooooooo relieved when the day shift aide came in and I could send her for the nurse to bring me some pain meds!!!!
night after I had over four hours of surgery to repair my ankle, I called out to tell the nurse my affected leg was having very painful muscle spasms. She came into the room and looked at me like I was a nut. She says, you just had pain medication an hour ago. Yes, I said, I know that. But this muscle is spasming and the pain medication is NOT helping that!!!!! I bet it took me at least five to ten minutes of crying and trying not to,
to make her realize that morphine an hour ago does NOT make a newly wildly spasming muscle stop spasming. She ended up calling the surgeon to get me something to make it stop. (Or maybe to make me stop, I don't know.) She seemed to think that little shot of morphine should have relieved all pain for hours and did NOT seem to realize that I had edema, plus two surgical sites and muscles in a severe contracting phase in the surgical area causing excruciating pain!!!!!!!!!!!
The leg was not and has not ever been casted, so it was possible to see and feel the spasm!!!
I'm sure she was thinking, oh they repaired her broken leg, she should be fine. But it wasn't "just" a broken leg. The compartment syndrome continues after the fracture is repaired, the localized edema continued and then my whole body became edematous for several days after it was repaired, making everything hurt, including the operative site. (And devil's advocate, I myself didn't know this til after I got out of the hospital and got access to a computer and looked it up.) However......
This was on an ortho floor, in a "magnet" hospital. Maybe that night shift nurse wasn't used to ortho, maybe they pulled her from GYN or something. But if I ever see her again when I'm a patient, I'm rolling my w/c the other way!!!!! I was so glad the third night when she wasn't there!!!!
Ortho is not my thing, altho I have worked on ortho floors occasionally. But if my patient was honestly in pain, I think I would try to find them some relief instead of standing there arguing with them.
And maybe just maybe look up the diagnosis online and get a quick clue of why they were in more pain than I "the nurse" seemed to think they should be.
Sorry, this was over five weeks ago and it still rattles my cage. :typing I am still w/c bound, non weight bearing for another three weeks at least. So this was NOT your average "broken leg".