Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pain Medication (again)

Yesterday (Saturday) I felt really well and Karen and I went out for lunch and shopping, although I had to sleep for an hour when we got back.  Today I didn’t feel well in the morning, but have brightened up a bit this afternoon.  I’m not going to post things every day about my state of health but want to just put something in about pain medication and side effects.  Prior to going into hospital last week, I was taking 2 Co-codomol tablets every 5 – 6 hours (each one 30mg of codeine and 500 of paracetamol).   In hospital, they gave me the 2 constituents separately because maximum paracetamol intake is 8 in 24 hours, whereas more codeine can be taken, and I needed to for the pain relief.  The day after my operation (Wednesday I experienced real difficulty in passing urine and when I mentioned this to the senior nurse, she asked me to produce a sample for analysing for infection (which I did – although with much difficulty).  The next day (Thursday – discharge day), I mentioned this again to the new nurse on duty and she also asked me to produce a sample for analysis and had no knowledge of any results from yesterday’s sample, but she did arrange for the duty doctor to come and see me. This Doctor duly came and she prodded my abdomen, said there was no infection, there seemed to be nothing physically wrong and implied it would clear up of its own accord.  When I got home, Karen looked at the list of side effects of the codeine phosphate I’d been given by the hospital and sure enough, it stated - “difficulty in passing urine”.  So 2 senior nurses and a hospital doctor were unaware of the possible side effects of medication they were administering.

My GP has now changed me from Codeine to Tramadol (plus the Paracetamol).  Apparently Tramadol, of all the opiates, has the fewest side effects, so I don’t know why they don’t prescribe that in the first place (perhaps it’s a cost issue).  Also, I gather that some people get high (or experience dizziness) with it and become addicted, so they probably want to limit its use.  This hasn’t been my experience (my peculiar physiology again); it’s just effective at killing the pain which is all I care about.

I’m still trying to find more statistical information about survival rates.  Claire suggested the Cancer Research site, but that doesn’t separate out the different forms of lung cancer – just puts them all together.  But I found one helpful statistic - 6% with lung cancer surviving 5 years.  I’m still looking and if anyone has any other ideas, please let me know.

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