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How long after surgery did you need or use your prescription pain medication?

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  • How long after surgery did you need or use your prescription pain medication?

    Hey everyone....

    I was just curious. How long after surgery did you need your prescription pain medication? I called my cardiologist for a refill today (because of course I couldn't get through to Northwestern Memorial for one) and the nurse told me my doctor was shocked that I needed pain meds 3 weeks out from surgery.

    I am still having a lot of weird pains and aches. Like I mentioned in another post, my sternum hurts. My left side shoulder REALLLLLLLY hurts and the pain is only relieved if its being massaged or with a pain med. I still have fevers so I am trying to tame that. And I get headaches. So I didn't think it was weird to ask for a refill. But if I shouldn't be using them this far out, I don't want to.

    So please tell me, how long did you use yours?

    Also I can't remember if I asked this already but my right side of my chest is numb at the surface from the incision over to my armpit area. Some times there are twinges of pain there too. Anyone get this after surgery? Did it go away?

    Thanks!

    jackie
    May 21st 2010- Aortic Valve Replacement w/ Arch Replacement
    Mild/Moderate Stenosis and Ascending Arch Aneurysm
    Diagnosed w/ Bi Cuspid Aortic Valve Feb. 2008

  • #2
    Second week I took regular Tylenol.....3rd week occasional regular Tylenol......4th week nothing, but I had tons of aches.
    BAV-Aortic Stenosis...AVR Oct 11, 2005 / St.Jude Regent mechanical 21mm
    INR Home testing since 2007 with Coaguchek XS...Self-Dosing

    "Caution: I may have been in contact with Nuts"

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    • #3
      Oh, and numbness is very common. Doc said it was due to cut nerves and they heal slowly. They will probably itch before they heal.
      BAV-Aortic Stenosis...AVR Oct 11, 2005 / St.Jude Regent mechanical 21mm
      INR Home testing since 2007 with Coaguchek XS...Self-Dosing

      "Caution: I may have been in contact with Nuts"

      Comment


      • #4
        I began using Tylenol on the third day after surgery. In these past months, I have mostly needed an analgesic [Aspirin, Tylenol, Ibuprofen] in the evening when one is more likely to feel all of the achey places.

        I never had any numbness in the chest. Mine went the other way when in week four the skin became hypersensitive to any touch centered around my chest incision. I started desensitizing routines but it remained a problem for about 6 weeks.

        Larry
        Last edited by Mentu; June 11th, 2010, 07:13 PM.
        AVR 22 SEP 09
        Carpentier-Edwards Bovine Pericardial "Magna" with Sternal Talons
        Oklahoma Heart Institute, Tulsa, OK

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bina View Post
          Second week I took regular Tylenol.....3rd week occasional regular Tylenol......4th week nothing, but I had tons of aches.
          Same here. Just Tylenol. Doctor never gave me any pain medication.
          sigpic
          Brigham and Women Hopsital -Dr.Shekar OHS- June 1,09
          AVR-St.Jude Mechanical Valve. (25VAVGJ-515)
          Ascending/Transverse Arch Aortic Replacement


          Nelson

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          • #6
            I used 5 mg oxycodone 1-3 times a day for about a week after discharge. I have had no fevers or headaches or any other problems. I used motrin 1-3 times a day for another week. I have not needed anything since. Last time I did not need even motrin after discharge. From what I understand though, I have very easy recoveries. Have you tried heating pads for your shoulder. Heat really helped me a lot. I have one of those pads that you heat in the microwave for a couple of minutes. It really helped the muscles in my chest, shoulders and back.

            Debbie

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            • #7
              thanks everyone. i'm going to switch to motrin only for a few days and see what happens!
              May 21st 2010- Aortic Valve Replacement w/ Arch Replacement
              Mild/Moderate Stenosis and Ascending Arch Aneurysm
              Diagnosed w/ Bi Cuspid Aortic Valve Feb. 2008

              Comment


              • #8
                Just remember Jackie, everyone is different so if you are finding you still are experiencing pain maybe you should chat with the doc. Don't try to be superwoman!
                Hope you are feeling better soon!

                Comment


                • #9
                  thanks penny!
                  May 21st 2010- Aortic Valve Replacement w/ Arch Replacement
                  Mild/Moderate Stenosis and Ascending Arch Aneurysm
                  Diagnosed w/ Bi Cuspid Aortic Valve Feb. 2008

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    this post blows my mind. i should be sleeping instead of reading like every post here. but i can't believe some of the replies. 11 years ago, i was still taking oxycodone 3 weeks after and only sort of shuffling about. i can't believe in some cases, docs don't even give pain meds for this surgery anymore? ~mind blown~
                    VSD, cleft mitral valve, aortic valve regurgitation. 1998, bacterial endocarditis.
                    1999, mitral and aortic valve repair (UCLA medical center).
                    Aug 2010 AVR, possible MVR (OHSU).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Every person is different and every surgery is different. There is no "correct" answer to this question because it all depends.....With that in mind, I think there are two points to consider about your post.

                      #1- I think that those that respond, particularly early, to this post are going to be more likely those that took pain meds for either a short time or a long time becasue they have a more interesting story to tell. I know when I saw your post I was "proud" to think that I only took narcotics for one day post op, when in actuality I was just lucky enough to not be in much pain. That puts me in the group with the short time. It would be helpful to do a study that actually checks how many narcotic pills the "average" open heart patient takes post op. Maybe something like that is out there. But that would be a challenge to get good information without bias.

                      #2 - Every day on narcotics is one day closer to becoming addicted. If I am reading between the lines of your question, I would guess that is why you are asking the question. I don't know much about addiction, and don't know how long it takes to happen, but I think that is very variable as well. For that reason, I my plan going out was to find alternatives to narcotics as early as possible and put up with minor discomfort. My GI system certainly appreciated it!! - Please also keep in mind that there are side effects from too much Motrin or Tylenol, so work with your doctors to help determine the right amounts of meds to keep your pain managed.
                      AVR 3/10/2010 - 25mm Magna bioprothesis, ascending aorta with placement of a 28mm Hemashield graft through mini-sternotomy for severe aortic steosis with bicuspid valve. Cleveland Clinic- Dr. Eric Roselli.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I was given Morphine, Paracetemol and Codeine in hospital. The Morphine was for just over 2 days and then it was paracetemol and codeine. Now, after 19 weeks I only get pains if I overdo the exercises. If they last I have a couple of Paracetemol. I found that the operation aches lasted about 3 weeks but declining in severity. I must add that at no time have I felt in acute pain and now with quite heavy exercises they are nothing much. I was told in hospital that if I had any pain to tell them as there is no need to suffer these days.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Jackie - I didn't like the feeling the oxycodone or vicodin gave me so tried to get off it as soon as I could. But that could very well be just me. I switched over to tylenol only probably around week 3 or so I think. If I would have been able to tolerate the weird feelings better, I would DEFINITELY not been shy to ask for a refill. So if it's helping you, tell them to take a flying leap and give you a flipping refill!!!
                          - Andy
                          Born with BAV; Moderate/Severe Stenosis/Regurgitation by age 49; AVR Surgery 5/5/10 by Dr. Robert Emery, St. Josephs Hospital, St. Paul, MN; St. Jude Regent Mechanical Valve

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                          • #14
                            My surgery was two days prior to yours. I take motrin during the day and I take tylenol with codeine at night. I find I need the stronger medicine at night, or I get into positions that wake me up much more frequently.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by malibu82 View Post
                              thanks everyone. i'm going to switch to motrin only for a few days and see what happens!
                              What worked best for Justin after the first week or so (unless he was having complications) was just to take OTC during the day, and take one of his pain pills before he went to bed. It helped him sleep a little more and if he rolled ect he didn't wake up in as much pain.
                              When he left the hospital, I had to argue because I wanted him to hve a weeks worth of pain meds just in case he needed them, theywanted to just give a couple days worth. I told them I rather him have them and not take them , then be in pain during the night or weekend and have to wait hours to get more. I won.
                              Lyn
                              Mom to Justin 25 TGA,VSDs, pulmonary atresia/stenosis ect, post/Rastelli, 5 OHS, pacer in and out ... and surgery w/muscle flap for post op infection (sternal osteomyelitis with mediastinitis) [url]www.caringbridge.org/nj/justinw[/url]

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