Local Heart, Global Soul

February 6, 2015

Bring It On, Gadget Guinea Pig Here, Ready And Willing…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As I found out in yesterday’s post, technology is changing at an ever increasing rate.

It’s not just the introduction of new technologies, but also that old ideas are updated and improved in order to make procedures safer and more efficient.

Take the simple act of administering drugs to hospital patients for instance:  in the old days staff did the rounds with a drugs trolley and patients received a little cup containing a cocktail of pills.

During my recent hospital stay things were done a little differently.

Drugs came in sealed, individually labelled plastic bags that had printed onto them my personal details (edited out  in my photographs for reasons of internet privacy), an itemized list of the name of each drug, the exact dose, it’s physical description, plus an indication of how many items in total should be contained in the bag.

The time that each set of pills should be taken was also printed onto the bag, and whilst of course everything was double checked by the nursing staff on the ward, the main checks have already been done by the staff in the pharmacy, and so the opportunity for error was greatly reduced. I think these are a brilliant idea, so much safer for patients and easier for ward staff too.

The second piece of technology that I have grown to love is a heavy plastic “foot” that has a very stretchy rubber elastic band around the top, it slips over my leg complete with plaster cast and allows me to sit on a plastic stool in the shower and get completely clean without getting a drop of water on my plaster cast.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It certainly is a huge step up from any arrangement that involved plastic shopping bags, layers of towels and tape that I remember from my operation a kid.

The third piece of technology that I’m doing well with is a “tens” machine. It’s a simple gadget that puts a current between two pads, a battery pack can be turned up to produce anything from a feint fuzzy sensation, or to the other extreme, a sharp tingling sensation that actually hurts.

The idea is that it works as a distraction technique and my best analogy would be: ” say for instance  Little Mr stubbed his toe in his bedroom, came running to me in the living room but hit his elbow on the door frame on the way,  if his elbow pain was as bad as / or worse than the stubbed toe, then he wouldn’t really feel his toe pain any more”.

This distraction technique has a bonus benefit of reducing the amount of other pain relief (pills) necessary, so when the Pain team in the hospital I was operated in came with this idea I jumped at the chance, after all everything is worth a go, right?

The reality is that sometimes the Tens machine helps and other times I’m tapping it and checking if it’s on or not because I don’t feel anything coming out of it at all,  but mostly the reason it’s less beneficial is that the strength of the current just doesn’t go high enough to counteract most of the pain that I have at the moment.

It definitely seems to work better for me during the day time, and I’m still struggling with excessive pain at night, but I’m of the mood at the moment that “any” help it gives , whenever, is bonus, and gratefully received.

Even one month after surgery I can’t say yet that the pain is under control: during the day if my foot is hugely elevated then it’s fairly do-able, but once my foot is lowered it quickly starts being less than brilliant.

Night time is a messy business of sleeping in fits and starts, trying and mostly failing to get comfortable and spending at least parts of the night awake waiting until enough time has elapsed to take a top-up dose of pain relief.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The surgeon warned that foot operations are particularly painful, and this coupled with my very low pain tolerance and already extended used of morphine, probably means it’s not surprising that it might take a while for the pain levels to settle down.

The head of the Pain clinic has been in touch twice for telephone consultations and I have strict instructions not to attempt to decrease pain medications any time soon.

Apparently this is because otherwise here can be problems to get things under control again, and the stress of having out of control pain extends the time my foot needs to settle down after so much internal surgical meddling.

Basically in layman’s terms I need to keep my foot doped to the max so that it doesn’t wake up to the fact that half of it has been rearranged, even if said rearrangement was to put things back the way nature intended it to be.

Either way it’s still one day at a time and whilst some days are better than others, but on a positive note, in general, I can see an improvement in the right direction with every subsequent week that goes by.  Technology certainly has come a long way and I’m willing to try out everything so that we can speed up the healing process. What  works or not may remain to be seem but if you don’t give it a go, then you’ll never know right?  So bring it on, gadget guinea pig here, ready and willing.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


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