Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Another entry in the Public Address Medical Journal

433 Responses

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  • Emma Hart,

    I've also had the odd, clear moment of being in no pain at all. It has brought home to me that for most of the year I was carrying around low-level pain without even thinking about it

    This, yeah. It's freaky how much chronic pain can become such a part of your life that you cease to notice it as pain. Just every now and then you get a day when you think 'man I feel good, why do I feel so good, what's wrong?'. You stop noticing that it hurts, or how energy-sapping it is being in constant pain.

    Other people's medical dramas do become legitimate entertainment, being the only entertainment available.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Other people's medical dramas do become legitimate entertainment, being the only entertainment available.

    Yes, although I found myself more comfortable with them as radio drama rather than reality TV.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    And I'd made really good pizzas for the family, with the fresh mozzarella and flatbreads I got at different places out on Lincoln Road.

    As a member of the Stones group, I can honestly say that was the most gruesome sentence in the post for me. You made pizza with what? Wait, I don't want to know.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    You made pizza with what? Wait, I don't want to know.

    Dude, I am quite capable of making pizza bases from scratch. But these breads were 40cm across and they came up beautifully on the pizza stones. So.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    La-la-la-la-la, I can't hear you...

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Brislen,

    Glad to hear you're up and about and more functional. Tramadol is great stuff - Janis had it after the neurosurgery - but beware! When you stop taking it you can have a night where you simply don't sleep. It's probably dosage/duration related but you simply don't have any need/ability to nod off.

    So, less tea and ice cream binge fests for you.

    Cheers

    Paul

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 172 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    They're just awful things. My sympathies.

    My husband got kidney stones while we were in Granada. I have no real Spanish, and he obviously couldn't leave the hotel room. I had to mime 'blood in the urine' to a non-English-speaking pharmacist. Luckily he understood, bless him.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3623 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I know that all-the-muscles-are-clenched back pain agony - I had undiagnosed gall stones for a year - used to kick in at 2am without warning every week or so - people who've had both tell me it's the same as "back labour".

    The US medical system is great at putting you off - insurance companies don't want you to see specialists, they cost money - eventually I got to sit down at the ultra sound place with all the pregnant women - all of them looking at me with that "why aren't you in there with her" look on their faces - once I was diagnosed things started to move - it was out in 3 days.

    My wife came down with the same thing last year - here in NZ she was diagnosed in a couple of weeks - and was put on a long long, might never end, waiting list - we ponied up the full cost of paying to get it done privately - I don't wish that pain on anyone.

    On a separate issue - I was talking to my teenage daughter about alcohol and OTC pain meds - there does seem to be a lot of ignorance if this in the real world - your liver/kidneys can only process certain amounts of toxins at a time - too much and you cause damage - tylenol/panadol/acetaminophen in particular doesn't like to share - they really mean it when they say don't take to many and don't take it with alcohol or of you regularly drink a lot - also check what else you're taking - night time fever meds and other things like vicodin can also contain large amounts of it. People who try and off themselves with high doses of acetaminophen don't don't drift away quietly the way they expect - instead they sometimes suffer a long painful death from a malfunctioning liver ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2031 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    A horrendous weekend, hope you make a full recovery.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I know that all-the-muscles-are-clenched back pain agony - I had undiagnosed gall stones for a year - used to kick in at 2am without warning every week or so - people who've had both tell me it's the same as "back labour".

    Mine was more like 4am. Anybody who repeatedly has back pain manifest in the middle of the night should investigate the possibility of dem stones.

    It seems so obvious now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    At least, I think it was oxygen. I wouldn't have blamed them if they'd given me nitrous to shut me up.

    I've just done a tour of the delivery suite at Wellington Regional. They have a blend of oxygen and nitrous on tap called Entonox - one of the women on the tour said she'd had it for a broken arm before it got set, and it only takes the edge off. Stories abound of expectant fathers having a go on it while the expectant mothers aren't using it and the medical professionals are elsewhere.

    I've also heard that kidney stones are worse than labour. Given the mechanics of both processes, I can see why.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 780 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    ...and our secretary has just popped into my office, to say that Michael Jackson has died! Is that so?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2265 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Curious, btw, what does morphine feel like? On a scale from good shit to bad shit...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    Russell, a lovely post, well-realised and very evocative. Made me wonder about my seemingly endlessly recurrent lower-back pain (despite knowing the recent episodes of muscular trauma that set it off) so thanks for that ;-)

    Hospitals are dodgy for most of us - not generally a sign of things being right in life and so an underlying worry, even if one is only visiting.

    Get well soon, y'hear?

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 557 posts Report Reply

  • TroyHoward,

    Hmm, no disrespect, but maybe the osteopath was part of the problem.

    He was right in sending you to a doctor.

    Track down a book called Trick or Treatment by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst, or Suckers by Rose Shapiro. Very enlightening books about alternative treatments.

    I am surprised to hear that you go to an osteopath. One of your links - onegoodmove.org - seems to tear that stuff apart all the time.

    I'm perplexed.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'm perplexed.

    I'm perplexed you're perplexed. My partner did the round of all the non-alternative sources of treatments for her OOS, finally the osteopath round the corner got her sorted in three visits and told her what exercises to do to keep it in check on her own. Changed her bloody life, my friend.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • David Herkt,

    First to BenWilson on a scale of good shit to bad shit? Great shit. Intravenously? Well a big wave of peace and stillness crosses the universe, add warm to that, and clarity (tending to muzz off a bit with increased doses).

    And Russell? Loved the piece. I know how hard it is to write engagingly about hospitals. Really worked for me. Thank you.

    As a side-note one of the best books I have read about hospitals is A Voice through a Cloud by English writer Denton Welch. it is hospital a la 1940s - Austerity Britain - but it is a little marvel. Gets everthing in there. The weird humiliations where your body is open to everyone. The strange quasi-sexuality. The effect of pain-killers. The glimpses of other's lives.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 37 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I got up: "I think this is ambulance-grade," I said to Fiona. She was sceptical. ("I was thinking, y'know, man flu," she explained later, by way of apology.)

    Priceless, the rest had me biting my lip in discomfort..

    (And, shamefully in my head, this is like House, I thought.)

    Been there, it's hard not to.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I am surprised to hear that you go to an osteopath. One of your links - onegoodmove.org - seems to tear that stuff apart all the time.

    I'm perplexed.

    Don't be. I'm aware of the theoretical elements of osteopathy that don't make sense, but as practical therapy, it's helped me immensely over the years. As in really fixing up the kind of chronic back problems that people who work in chairs can get.

    The guy that really nailed it for me was a former builder and British squaddie. There was nothing remotely new-age about him, but he was great with angles.

    I was gutted when he went off to climb Mt Everest.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18509 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I'm finally on allopurinol for uric acid

    Are those little yellow pills of an extract from the crocus bulb? They can be rather lethal--quite literally give you the shits. But anything that makes you better...

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2265 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    It was a bit freaky, I'd had a few beers and watched the late night sports show for dickheads on TV3 and then checked Twitter. "Bloody hell, Russ is in A&E" I said to Jo.

    Brought home the immediacy of Twitter and the faux closeness of being in touch like that. Much like this morning's events have as well.

    Anyway, get well soon and be cheered that you're in the good company of Samuel Pepys. He was cut for the stone in 1664 and probably only had a few fortified wines to get him through!

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 881 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Yeah, I definitely suggest you don't read those particular pages of Pepys' blog though. Christ.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Yeah, I definitely suggest you don't read those particular pages of Pepys' blog though. Christ.

    Word up. It was agony reading about the (17th century) op in Vol2 of the Neal Stephenson trilogy. I think I might've settled for death :)

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 881 posts Report Reply

  • Alec Morgan,

    Brave post RB as personal as it gets, so will add some personal comments. I empathise. Kidney stones are intensely painful alright, pain induced puking painful, no relief without powerful pharmaceuticals. Women friends who have had kids may say toughen up guys, but I have seen women drop with gall stones later on. The human condition. In a small number of cases kidney stones can even be present from birth. Mainly they form via lifestyle and diet.

    Sparing readers more gruesome details of diagnosis (dye tests etc) and attacks, there is the good news. Drink water, enough water to ensure that urine always runs clear is the trick. Have another small glass if you wake up during your sleep period. The water keeps the crap in suspension and eliminated before crystals form.

    Tokerau Beach • Since Nov 2006 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Are those little yellow pills of an extract from the crocus bulb?

    Nah, that's colchicine (sp?), which you can take for an acute gout attack.

    My Dad tells me allopurinol is the shiz. When you're a wine-bibbing meat eater who grows every kind of purine-rich vegetable there is, the gout diet is a real downer. Since the allopurinol he's been enjoying the fruits of his labours with nary a twinge.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2917 posts Report Reply

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