After my c-section and tubal ligation, I chose not to take any pain medication stronger than the standard issued 800 mg of Ibuprofen every few hours.
It did absolutely nothing. My pain remained a solid 10.
On top of having latching issues and being brand new to breastfeeding a new adorable tiny human every single hour after having a major surgery, it quickly became too painful to move.
I couldn’t walk, sit up, or stand up from a low position without wincing in severe pain.
My last ditch effort to get through the rest of my second evening involved me trying to sleep in an upright position in a rocking chair.
I rolled the baby’s bassinet right up next to me.
Less moving. Less effort on my part, but I was still able to reach him.
Every few hours my nurse would come in for one reason or another, and she would ask me again:
“Are you sure you don’t want Percocet, you know you just had major surgery?”
I would consider.
I would imagine the pain drifting away and me loving it too much.
I would look at my husband, and back at the nurse.
“No, thank you, I am pushing through just fine.” (<–Lies)
I know how ridiculous it sounds to people who haven’t ever had any dependence issues on prescription medication.
It was just a pain-killer after all.
But I am just a person who has experienced a very real, very powerful, physical and psychological dependence on prescription medication.
After 8 years of being pill-free and pain-killer/downer free
why was I so afraid?
I was terrified to even consider taking anything stronger than Ibuprofen.
Surely I could make it through.
But that just wasn’t how it actually went down.
Everything just really hurt.
I was experiencing severe pain.
This was causing me stress and hardcore anxiety.
I was already very tired, and self-care was something that I have grown to value and rely on and I was quickly breaking down.
No my life wasn’t falling apart but I certainly didn’t feel like myself.
I wasn’t able to relax.
I was overthinking various outcomes of what could or might happen if I did take something stronger.
In my mind each time a nurse asked me if wanted something stronger for pain, the kinds of things that I imagined in my head would have made anyone a hot anxious mess.
All that I could see was me slurring, falling down, passing out for hours on end- neglecting my hungry newborn baby boy.
I immediately began to see and feel and experience every single mistake that I had ever made as a parent during my former pill-head days.
I have fallen asleep when I was supposed to be awake.
I have slurred my words, totally messed up bedtime stories, and puked in front of my child.
I have forgotten to pick him up before. I have fallen asleep in strangers driveways and on the shoulders of highways.
I was overcome with fear and all that I could see me letting God, myself, and my family down.
I could see it all crumbling so quickly.
I couldn’t stand the thought of waking up something that I categorized as a sleeping demon.
So even if I was in so much pain that my eyes welled up with tears at the thought of moving, I just couldn’t….
But I did.
I pressed my nurse call button with so much purpose.
I decided to trust myself.
I couldn’t wait another second.
I was finished playing games with my thoughts.
When my nurse walked in our room I told her that I felt like it was time to take some stronger pain medication, like now.
I was prescribed two Percocet every 6 hours. I asked to start with one because I wasn’t sure how my body would handle it. I didn’t want to be sloshy happy mommy, I just wanted some relief.
(which is hilarious because I back in the day, I could ‘handle’ handfuls without much effect whatsoever)
Within 25 minutes my pain was gone.
It was completely gone.
I felt happy and my mood immediately lifted.
What a difference.
I am not sure I realized how much more stress I was putting on my body and my spirit by forcing myself to endure severe pain after a major abdominal surgery.
I had discussed my pain levels in-depth with my husband. He knew that I was sincere.
He knew I wasn’t bullshitting him or saying what needed to be said to have what I wanted.
I kept a real and honest assessment of my pain levels, and shared openly with him. That made me so much more comfortable. And then, I trusted myself.
For people reading who have never personally experienced the control and power of being addicted to a substance, maybe reading this will help you to gain a better understanding on the grip it can have over a person’s mind, body, spirit, and soul.
It does sound pretty ridiculous to put yourself through something that you could have avoided so easily, with the push of a red nurses button…
but the risks were very real to me despite the fear not being as honest and when in doubt, I prefer to take safe routes these days.