if I could do it over again

We all hear, or maybe use, that phrase from time to time. Sometimes it may be useful if we take it to heart and learn from whatever it was that we could or would do over. Other times, it’s wasted thought. What’s done is done. We can’t go back, blah, blah. On the other hand, we make our beds more than once.

When I think of the neck dissection and brachytherapy operations from two months ago, I’ve got to squash that phrase before it enters. It doesn’t deserve dwell time. But, if I really could do it over again, I sure would not have had those operations.

Today is two months post operation and I’m back to pain pills and patches. Combined with the ringing and pounding in the head, the pain in the neck, mouth and throat is more than I can remember last year. And, it’s certainly worse than it was a month ago. Last week I went to four different specialist in two days.  I’ll save that for another post, but it made no difference in the pain.

The pain was so stressful before I left on this last trip, that I went back to applying a fentanyl patch of 50mg. I had almost thrown them away, but luckily I had four left. They are supposed to last three days each, so four patches would give me 12 days of (somewhat) relief.

GV helped me apply the patch (on the flat part of the back shoulder) on the 12th evening before I headed to the airport for an after-midnight flight. Since the medication in the patch takes about 24 hours to get into the system, I took a couple of percocet at the same time. After arriving in Bogota the next morning, while waiting in the lounge for the next flight, I wasn’t feeling the effect of the patch yet so I took another couple of percocet.  A cup of liquid yogurt was the only other thing I was able to consume.

The next flight was only 1/2 hour and I felt fine boarding. But as we were descending that queazy pre-puke feeling came on rather quickly. I reached for the barf bag, opened it, was ready to use it, but then I was able to settle down so I folded it up again. Then as we parked at the gate, the feeling was more than a feeling as I was doing the heave ho into the bag I had quickly opened again. Luckily, I was in first class in a window seat so I was able to do all of this somewhat discreetly (I could have been intently watching something on the tarmac). So I sealed up my little puke bag and carried it out with me, along with an extra bag I grabbed from the passenger seat next to me (to avoid a terminal incident).

Hoping that was the end of the nausea, I collected my luggage and boarded a bus and headed down the mountain side. I asked the bus driver if I could sit in the front seat (opposite him), just in case. No problem he said. Luckily again, during the 45 minute bouncing down the mountain I was able to keep it somewhat together, but doubtful enough that I reached around under my shirt and pulled off the patch, thinking that maybe it was the patch mixing with the percocet.

But as soon as the bus unloaded, a nice grassy patch found me where I unloaded again. A taxi driver looked at me and said, “you feel a little dizzy, right?” Yes, just a little. One patch down, lasting only 1/2 day.

The rest of the day, the 13th, which I had hoped to be a fruitful day, was spent in my apartment with friend nausea.  At least the nausea was taking somewhat of the attention away from the pain above the shoulder.

The last couple of days, the pain in the back of the throat has been crazy. It’s into the muscle and bone. So yesterday morning I decided to try the patch again. Finally last night I had a very welcome somewhat restful sleep. Nice. And as long as I don’t swallow, the pain is not so bad. Two days and two patches left, not enough to cover the time I’m here, but hopefully enough time to help me focus on productivity.

So yes, if I had it to do over again, I would not go the extra step.  But I can’t say that I regret taking that step.  That would be wasted thought.  But the price paid was significantly higher than what was quoted.

4 thoughts on “if I could do it over again

  1. Mary

    Pain meds combined with an empty stomach and travel…wicked bad. Sorry Freddie, I hope you never experience that again.

  2. Mother

    April the 13 th- your birthday this year, was hardly a day of celebration for you.
    When the going gets tough, Freddie, gets going. That is celebratory standard


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