I am a first year nursing student who just finished a class about pain management. We were taught, that everyone has an individual pain tolerance and it should be treated if the patient expresses their pain. Fine. I was afraid when I was going into my vaginal hysterectomy, cystecele repair, rectocele repair combo surgery about pain managment. Everyone assurred me that the hospital would take care of it. The morning after my late afternoon surgery, I was told that I 'shouldn't be in so much pain', "I must have a low pain tolerance", the nurses told me there were no orders for anything but advil and oral diladid. I begged for pain medicine. The 'doctors' (who I found out later were 4th year residents) told me "some women have different pain thresholds and that mine must be low". Every single one of these people looked for my incisions on my abdomen when they did their brief assessment. By the end of that day, the residents and nurses finally realized that I had a vaginal hysterectomy with as one put it 'wow you had a lot of extra work done - we must have gotten behind on your pain medicine'. Finally they put me back on IV diladid. But wait - the nurses were so busy that they didn't stay up on my pain schedule. I waited three hours past the time for my meds and I was sobbing when my husband came in.
Can ANYONE explain to me how this can happen? Apparently my surgeon wasn't able to follow up with me that morning because of a snow storm. Not one nurse assessed my pain, not one nurse asked where I hurt, what the pain was like. Everyone just kept looking at me like I had a third head. And get this, when I asked the nurses and the resident to check my catheter because it hurt really bad - no one did. Finally, I lost my mind and yelled and insisted. The resident literally came over and said something about 'pain tolerance' and jerked on my catheter - which sent me through the roof and he said 'see that shouldn't have hurt - you must have a low pain tolerance'.
It has now been three weeks since surgery and guess what - I still can not void on my own. That's right. I have severe pain down my left leg, and left perineal area. And I still can't pee. I am in nursing school
and I can think of many things a nurse could have done for intervention. Much of what happened can also be placed on the ridiculous actions of the residents, but couldn't the nurses have been more proactive????? Any comments?
Jan 3, '11
I am so sorry for your experience. I can relate somewhat having had an abdominal hysterectomy. I thought I was prepared because I had already had 3 C sections, but that was pain with a capital P!
And I too have had a severe ear infection, resulting in a ruptured eardrum, "wow, that must really hurt!", yeah, genius that's why I'm here. 3 nurses mentioned something about a topical analgesic before they irrigated the pus out of my ear, but it was never used. I did a get Vicodin once they were done irrigating and digging.
Unfortunately, some nurses get complacent about care and forget about the individual, sort of like that movie "Doctors" with William Hurt.
I am sure you will use this unfortunate experience in your nursing practice.
Please take care.
Last edit by nursej22 on Jan 3, '11
: Reason: spelling, spacing