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Anyone had an epidural? Anyone had an epidural?

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Unread 06-14-2006, 09:33 PM
Anyone had an epidural?

Hi ladies! I'm a 52 yr old, having a complete hysterectomy & oopherectomy(sp?) on July 27/06. My surgeon, thank goodness, is the Chief OB/GYN of my local hospital here in Ajax, ON, since he has a TERRIBLE bedside manner. But as long as he is a great surgeon, that's what counts, right? Has anyone had an epidural, along with general anaesthia? He performed a hyster on a friend, and gave her both. He has said he does it for everyone, as the pain after surgery is non-existent for 24 hours. I'm having abdominal surgery, and since I've never had kids, I'm really not sure about this. I've heard there are serious dangers involved. Also, whenever I've had morphine & codiene (during IVF), I vomit within ten mins. What are the pain medication options? Any shared experiences would be extremely grateful!
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Unread 06-14-2006, 11:28 PM
Anyone had an epidural?

I'm sorry your GYN has no bedside manner. That is the worst, even when they are amazing surgeons.

I've had 2 epidurals - during childbirth. I can say that epidurals are AWESOME! They were described to me by the nurses as the Cadillac of pain meds. I had fast and furious labors (translation - very painful) and once they got that epidural in, I was pain-free.

Sure, there are dangers with an epidural. You hear of this mostly centering around childbirth - since you are numb from the waist-down, labor can stall and you can lose the ability to push the baby out, sometimes requiring interventions (vacuum, forceps, or c-section). That's where the scare factors come in, and I think people just carry that feeling over to other scenarios involving epidurals as well.

Generally speaking, outside of childbirth, risks are, yes, "serious", but are so amazingly one-in-a-million seldom. The only almost-common risk (1 in 100, I believe) is that of "epidural headache". If the anesthesiologist misses his target and hits the nerves instead of just the epidural space, you will have one whopper of a headache that doesn't disappear for about 3 days no matter what pain meds they give you. There are just as serious, life-threatening risks for general anesthesia as well, of course. Epidurals aren't any riskier than general anesthesia, and I am under the impression they are actually less risky, but don't quote me on that one.

I do know women who have had surgeries with only an epidural or a spinal instead of general anesthesia because they have a history of vomiting after waking from general. I'm not sure what your other pain med options are for after your epidural wears off but I can say that I've never heard of anyone having vomiting problems from an epidural. It might be nice to not have to deal with the risks of vomiting for a 24 hour period after your surgery - the pain of major abdominal surgery is so much worse on day one and you would be without it completely. Then you can vomit later.

I will tell you a little of the procedure....they place a needle in the epidural space (the fluid between the nerves and the vertebrae) within your spine as you are in a bit of a fetal position with back curved to open up your vertabrae. Sounds horrid, doesn't it? Really, it wasn't bad at all. Once they get the needle in there, they place a very thin plastic tubing into the spine and REMOVE the needle. Most people think the needle stays in, but it is there for only a few seconds. Then they tape the entirety of your back up to make sure the tubing doesn't fall out and they start the drip. You don't have to stay in a rigid position - you will be able to move about however you are able (which won't be much).

Once you get the epidural, you probably won't be able to move from the waist down. It is a numby-novicaine type feeling - kind of like how your face feels after coming home from the dentist after getting a cavity filled. You will be able to feel touch, but no pain whatsoever. So if someone were to stick a needle in your leg, you would probably think they were just prodding you with their index finger. It is THAT GOOD.

It sounds like they would keep you on the epidural for 24 hours after surgery. You would be pain-free but unable to move. This means that you wouldn't be able to get up to go to the bathroom - they would place a catheter in you so you could pee. (Catheters are also not as scary as they sound - especially when numb from the waist down).

Hope this helps - good luck and let us know what you decide.
Unread 06-14-2006, 11:41 PM
Anyone had an epidural?

I did not have an epidural for my TVH on 05/15 but a friend of mine did with hers in April. She said it was wonderful but if you try to get up too soon you get headaches. I did ask my anesiologist (sp?) about it before I went into surgery and he said they didn't do them unless the patient requested one. I personally didn't want one. I had one when I had my son 17 years ago and had a c-section with no problems. I am not sure if it's a personal preference or not. I did fine with just the general that they gave me.
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Unread 06-14-2006, 11:44 PM
Anyone had an epidural?

Glowy, I just had to say that I like your name. Not many of us out there that glow.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled post....didn't mean to hijack.
Unread 06-15-2006, 12:11 AM
Anyone had an epidural?

I have to note that although I've never had an epidural before, I am having one for my TAH/BSO next Tuesday, June 20th. This was at the request of my GYN/surgeon. She said patients do SOOO much better with the epi as their anesthesia. Also, instead of traditional push button pain meds afterwards, they administer pain meds directly into the epi site. Much easier, apparantly. During the epi, they give you "happy drugs" (as she put it), or known as conscious sedation. Patients do well with this and are "semi-aware" of what's going on, but are pretty relaxed. I'm telling my anesthesiologist (who'll call me on Monday) that I did well with the "conscious sedation" drugs they used for me during my routine colonoscopy on May 2nd, so maybe they could use those for my TAH. Anyway, I am looking forward to an easier recovery due to all this.
Unread 06-15-2006, 12:11 AM
Anyone had an epidural?

HA glow-gal I spotted you earlier when you signed a post GLOW! That's what all my friends call me!!! There are two of us in this world. Must be twins! LOL Is your real name Gloria by chance?!?
Unread 06-15-2006, 12:14 AM
Anyone had an epidural?

Let me add too that my friend that had the epidural was off from work for 2 weeks. I have been off 4 and will go back at 5 for 1/2 days. Don't know if that makes a difference or not. She had a TVH as well, not incision.
Unread 06-15-2006, 12:17 AM
Anyone had an epidural?

Originally Posted by glowy1
HA glow-gal I spotted you earlier when you signed a post GLOW! That's what all my friends call me!!! There are two of us in this world. Must be twins! LOL Is your real name Gloria by chance?!?
Nope, not a Gloria. I chose years and years ago as an internet handle as a pun. I was pregnant at the time (sadly that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage) and I happen to live near one of the largest nuclear waste dumps in the world. So I was glowing for 2 reasons.
Unread 06-15-2006, 12:18 AM
Anyone had an epidural?

Oooh Epidurals are our friends! I had one with each child and wow, was paradise. I didn't get the epi headache either time. The epi I had with my son was more concentrated on my left side, so my left leg was useless for a few hours after the rest of me was fine. With my daughter I had the shakes bad but I was pain free, so I didn't care. Also I did have some back pain afterwards but it was manageable with motrin. There is a side affect to EVERYTHING, even breathing can have nasty side affects, especially if oyu have hay fever lol. Good luck I will be thinking about you
Unread 06-15-2006, 09:23 AM
Chose epi/spinal with IV sedation

I am scheduled for my TAH / RSO on Mon June 19th. Since my husband will be out of town on Sunday and returning on Monday. I chose this for my surgery so I could talk be more aware and less sick when I came out from surgery. I admitt a little nervouse but not to scared yet. Pr-op appt is tomorrow morning then going to the spa for the rest of the day. I can't wait to be pain free. Good Luck to you and hope you are pain free as well!

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