Thursday, September 1, 2011

Week Three Post-Op

Picture courtesy of the very talented
Deborah Leigh via Flickr.

Week 3 started out pretty well because I got another reprogramming that extended my coverage. I've had a different rep for each programming, and this one did the best job. The coverage was still insufficient - mainly because my jaw was still spasming when the lead for the left AT nerve was turned on, so I couldn't turn it up high enough to get to my painful areas. The lead over the left and right occipital nerves was getting better coverage, but I couldn't turn it up very high because the incision site was sore. I think the coverage will improve once I can turn up the amplitude. The bump under the tip of that lead decreased, which was a good sign. All of my swelling reduced some, especially the swelling over the battery pack. The bruising over it was almost completely gone by the end of the week and I only occasionally needed to use ice packs over it. I still used ice packs on my leads when the pain got really bad, but I tried not to because any pressure on them caused discomfort.

I was still having headaches regularly, so I kept the stim on constantly. The improved coverage helped with the pain, but I still had to take pain meds around the clock (although I was taking less than in the first 2 weeks). At this point, my headaches post-surgery were worse than pre-surgery, but that was to be expected. I have neuralgia (nerve pain) as well as headaches, so the trauma to the head from the surgery really irritated the nerves.  Since I can't turn the stim up very high, it isn't able to counteract that increased pain yet. 

The dermabond over the incisions on my head started to come off. I think the oil in my hair made them loosen up before the ones on my neck and back did. The incisions are completely closed, but still sore with palpation.

I was able to lie on my right side briefly (which is where my battery pack is). My head got sore before my side did - which was after a few minutes. Whenever I tried to move my head without my cervical collar on or rest my head on a pillow, the pressure on the leads was painful. So I was still sleeping sitting up on the couch with the cervical collar on. Being in this position 24/7 caused a lot of neck pain and inevitably headaches, so I was pretty frustrated. I tried to get up often just to stand or walk around and take breaks on the massage table. 

I was still very fatigued, which was to be expected with the surgery and my chronic illnesses. But I found that visits from friends were energizing and I was even able to read a little due to decreased pain medicine use. 

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