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1st Person: Acute Pain: Sudden Impact


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Dr. Jan Adams has had more than her share of painful experiences. A retired general practitioner and mother of two who practiced 'womb-to-tomb' medicine, she conducted humanitarian work around the world, notably with medical clown Patch Adams (no relation).

I was lifting 30 pound boxes of greeting cards all day, which would not normally have been any issue for me. I noticed pain in my left groin. It was about a four on a scale of one to 10. During the night, the pain went right on up to 10. I had to have emergency surgery. The pain management was just fine. I used the tablets and started with a lot and then went down. Of course, it hurt if I moved wrong, but it was managed fine.

When I had cancer, I had pain that was probably a 20. They gave me everything they could, but nothing really took that pain away. But I happen to have a wonderful husband. He would massage my head for five hours at a time. He would sit by me, find meditation music for me, he fed me. I wouldn't have gotten through it without him.

Adams had an emergency colonoscopy, for which she says she was not give proper anesthesia or pain management.

Because I hadn't been eating much, my nutrition and everything else was in the toilet. [Apparently], the blood supply to my colon was compromised. Out of the blue, I was hit with pain in the abdomen that was worse than labor. I dropped to the floor in a cold sweat. When I got to the hospital, they immediately gave me a dose of a very strong opioid and that took the pain away. That was very bad: I'd had a colonoscopy before and it was a walk in the park.

How did I get through it all? How do you get through delivery? I had a lot of support. I had the sense that I was not finished yet. I'm cancer free now.

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1st Person posts spotlight a patient’s or caregiver’s health care experience.

Tags for this article:
Pain   Make Good Treatment Decisions   Participate in your Treatment   Health Care Access   First Person  

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