The first week was rough. I donít remember much, and I spent the first few days in bed, only getting up to use the bathroom. I knew from past experience to take my painkillers on a regular schedule for the next two weeks.
Since I couldnít concentrate on much (including work) I created a spreadsheet that listed my meds, the timing intervals, and was easily accessible from any mobile device. (I used iWork, but I could have used Google Docs, Office 365, or something similar). I set alarms on my iPhone to notify me when I needed to take which medication, or anti-nausea pill, or whatever. When I took a pill, I checked it off on my spreadsheet and noted my pain level on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst. This helped me learn that my leg tended to hurt worse at night before bed. I also noted swelling or any unusual patterns of pain, as well as any exceptions/additions to the medication schedule.
I also noted the regular Rxís I take, as well as Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc supplements. For the first couple of weeks I noted what I ate, and when. This schedule was really helpful when I was feeling particularly muddled, I could just refer to my spreadsheet when the alarm went off at 2am, and see what I should be taking. The reminders for taking meds created a routine which was reassuring, since everything in my life stopped after the accident.
I am highly allergic to the most common opiates: Codiene, Vicodin, Morphine, etc. I was given Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) instead. No nausea at all, although for the first week I wasnít about to take any chances and took the anti-nausea meds I was prescribed. On my spreadsheet, I checked off my dosages and I measured my pain on a scale of 1-10 every time I took a pill. It was gratifying to see the pain levels decrease. I even went through and readjusted my pain levels after I realized that I was putting them too high simply because of fear.
Regular pain medication is CRUCIAL when you have an injury like this. Do NOT miss a dose. You will thank yourself later. The constipation, however, is another story. When you take opiates, take a senna tablet (stool softener) with every pill. Take one EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Seriously, the constipation was unbelievable. The constipation hurt way, WAY, WAY worse than the fracture! Take your stool softeners with EVERY DOSE of narcotic. Donít wait, take them at the same time, 1:1, even if the instructions say otherwise.
I did not realize that even ONE dose of Dilaudin (hydromorphone) would stop me up like I had eaten sand and rocks with a side of quickset cement. At first I welcomed the fact I didnít have to poop, as getting into the bathroom is an incredible ordeal - scary, exhausting and humiliating - but after sitting on the toilet for two hours, in the middle of the night, trying like hell to pry this horrible blockage out of my ass - I took a stool softener EVERY TIME.
I am not joking - pooping in a bedpan, or a bucket, or even in your pants is preferable to the agonizing pain you will endure trying to get an intestinal blockage out. Women - you have an advantage, you can put your fingers in your vagina and manipulate the poop into a more passable dimension. (Men, I pity you. If it happens to you, donít try to get it out yourselves, call a nurse.)
Donít push, donít strain. Try to emulate a squat (an overturned box helps to prop up your feet) by leaning forward and getting your knees close to your ears. Clench and relax over and over and over and let it work its way out. Have some reading material, crosswords or your iPhone handy, because if you have anything close to impaction, youíre gonna be there a long while.
Not being able to poop gives you nausea, chills, sweats, gas, and incredible, intense pain. Please - for the love of god, take the stool softeners.