Sunday, July 26, 2009

Morphine Hell

Hello, Readers!

Let's get right down to it - Morphine Hell.

NEWSFLASH: Morphine has random side effects on some people. This is all within the normal range and totally unpredictable. One of the random side effects is the inability to pee.

Now, your body feels like you have to pee, and your bladder is telling you to get to the bathroom, and you feel like you might just rock out pee right there on the spot, so you untangle yourself from your covers and painfully sit up, pulling yourself to your feet to struggle to the toilet dragging your IV, your drain and bag, your circulatory wraps drooping and flapping, your bootie flapping in the breeze, you make it over the bathroom threshold, ease yourself gingerly down on the pottie and after all that - no pee. So you hang your head and give a little wail of exasperation and pull yourself back together and do the whole thing backward to get back to the bed, exhausted and still needing to pee.

Where, you lay down and try to sleep for an hour until the urge to pee just becomes nigh unbearable. So you do a repeat of the above routine with the same result - no pee.

By this time, you are starting to suspect that something might be slightly wrong. You don't know exactly what, but you think it's time to check, so you call the nurse. The nurse comes right away, and you point to "No puedo orinar, mi vejiga esta muy llena (I am unable to urinate, my bladder is very full)" on your Spanish translation sheet. The nurse pats your shoulder comfortingly, nods her understanding and leaves the room. For a moment you are nonplussed, but she returns immediately with -TAHDAH - the wonderful Dr. Zapata.

How can I give credit to Dr. Zapata with mere words? He is just so wonderful. I just have such fond memories and feelings about him. If he were here, I would want him to be my primary physician, no question.

ANYWAY - Dr. Zapata knew what was going on immediatley, and explained to me that the inability to pee can sometimes be a side effect of morphine. While not common, it is certainly not strange or unusual, hence the prompt on the Spanish translation sheet. He asked if I had ever had morphine before. I had not. He nodded, letting me know that in any future situations involving morphine I needed to explain my reaction to the doctor so they could either use a different pain medication or be prepared with a !!!CATHETER!!! and he'd just get mine ready now.

Now I'd never had a catheter before, so I was very apprehensive. I am ashamed to say that even after traveling on my own to Mexico to have weight loss surgery, getting the surgery, and recovering from the surgery, even after all that, I balked at the idea of getting a simple catheter. I was in complete misery, my bladder was totally distended and I felt like I was going to explode, but just couldn't face having that thing stuck up there. Dr. Zapata did try to convince me and he was genuinely sorry and concerned that I said no, he knew I was in misery, but I would have none of it. I could tell he thought I was being foolish (which I was), but he finally said, "Lucy, this is really your decision. Do you want the catheter or no?" I peeped out a meek, "No." Dr. Zapata shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "So be it," and said he would check on me soon.

Fast forward to 1 hour later - distended like a giant balloon, I called the nurse, pointed to the Spanish translation sheet, and begged for the catheter. I would have dropped to my knees had I been able. People, let me tell you. I was so miserable as she stuck that catheter in there that it actually felt like a welcome relief. Words cannot express the wonderfulness of it. Release. Nirvana. Bliss. A return to humanity. The world at large seemed like a better place, I'm not kidding. When the nurse was finished and I was laying there in peace, Dr. Zapata came in to check. Despite all my earlier protests, he never once said "I told you so." He just held my hand and said, "Next time, you'll know," leaving me with kind words and a hug.

Long story short - if you get morphine and can't pee, don't mess around. Go for the catheter.


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