Sometimes, it’s the practical things the pain management doctors forget to tell you. For instance, the first thing I would tell anyone going on continual, chronic pain treating opioid therapy? Plan on spending a couple of minutes, morning and night, checking yourself over for mystery wounds. The drugs don’t take away your ability to feel pain – trust me, slam your foot into the wall, you’ll feel it. But, they do seem to deaden your awareness of some kinda of injuries – I haven’t really figured out the pattern, but it’s there.
I was reminded of this tonight when I pulled up my yoga pants to rub some lotion on my ankles and found blood. A lot of blood. Trickled, dried blood. Huh. So, I rolled up the leg a bit higher, and about mid-calf came upon an obviously wet wound, still actively bleeding to the point that I couldn’t really figure out how bad the cut was. Or, for that matter, how the hell I got it – shouldn’t I remember gouging myself deep enough to bleed, not to mention bleed that copiously? I wandered off to clean up the blood and figure out if I was going to need to continue wandering over to the ED.
Thankfully, it looks like I did something to basically puncture myself a couple of times; not terribly long (the longest is about an inch), but kind of deep. I’d suspect a cat, except I’m pretty certain I would have remembered a cat doing that to me. A bit of pressure and butterfly bandages stopped the bleeding, so I think I should be okay sans ED (and really, midnight on a Sunday is not a grand time to wander through the ED).
Still, it’s sort of disconcerting to realize that I can injure myself like that and be completely unaware of it. Prior to the chronic pain and medications, I was one of the bigger babies when it came to injuries – these days, I can walk around long enough to coagulate before I notice!
This is the sort of practical thing everyone going onto long term pain management therapy should be aware of.