"Emergency Cholecystectomy / Pain Relief"

About: Peterborough District Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I had recently been admitted to Peterborough District Hospital with severe cholecystitis. Following 3 days of not improving, I had an emergency cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal). I have to say, for the most part, I found the staff, both doctors and nurses, kind and polite, and willing to explain and answer questions.

The one part I found hard to deal with was the lack of adequate pain relief, both pre and post - operative.

I am disabled anyway, with a combination of SLE, Sjögrens syndrome and Fibromyalgia, with resulting pain in both joints and muscles. I self pain-medicate at home so I can live as reasonably normal as possible for me. My usual doses is between 4-6 co-codamol per day, depending upon what I need to do that day, and whether my 3 year old is home or at nursery (the more I do, the more pain I am in).

Whilst in hospital, I was in constant pain, and had to wait anything up to 2 hours for pain relief, even when crying or rocking on the bed in agony. I was told on one occasion "you cant be in that much pain with what we have given you", and on another "you can't be hurting that much". Well I can tell you that at times it was positively agonising, and at one point I put a tooth through my lip without realising as it was so bad. The time I said my pain was at an 11 (they ask you to rate pain from 1-10, with 10 being the worse you have ever experienced - in my case 10 was childbirth and 9 was a kidney stone). The nurse did not believe me.

All I can think is that as I take pain medication on a regular basis, I would need proportionally more to cope with any additional severe pain, something they obviously did not take into account, even when I tried, unsuccessfully, to explain.

Please please, please, take note of this and educate medical staff, that pain is very much an individual thing, and that what may work for one, will not necessarily work for another. I do not take medication lightly.

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