Blog 7 : My pain diary before Copenhagen

Apart from the first few weeks, I kept an accurate and detailed diary throughout my illness. Most crucially, it included the levels of pain I endured during my waking hours, any activities I carried out and the medications I was taking. In the following blog, you will find a sample of such record. It will illustrate the levels of pain intensity I experienced during the few months leading up to the first attempted corrective surgery I underwent in Copenhagen, Denmark in August 2012.

 

My pain was at its lowest level (1 – 3 out of 10) immediately after I woke up in the morning. But shortly after I left my bed and started to do some simple home chores, my pain would rapidly climb up to a level of 7 – 8 out of 10

 

I couldn’t continue my day without spending most of the afternoon resting in bed after having taken a cocktail of strong pain killers. Quite often, I had to spend the whole day in bed.

 

During the evening, and after having rested in bed for many hours, the cycle repeats itself with one noticeable difference – my pain would start from a higher level (4 to 5 out of 10) compared to the morning. There was very little I could do in the evenings. I was either in bed or sitting slouched in my office. Even in that slouched position, my pain within 45 minutes would become extremely uncomfortable (7 to 8 out of 10), which would force me back to bed. 

 

On a few occasions, I adventured outside to do some shopping at the local stores or sit in a coffee shop for just 30 minutes. For an extrovert like me, the isolation was unbearable. Going outside, despite my high levels of pain was vital for my mental well-being. 

 

While on Tramadol, it was difficult for me to fall asleep. Once asleep, the pain itself rarely disturbed my sleep. On countless occasions, I would-be lying-in bed feeling drowsy but unable to fall asleep until 6 or 7 in the morning. 

 

My severe pain (8 out of 10) consisted of:

  • Pain that felt like a deep bite in the inner aspect of my left groin (the site of suture trapped nerve).
  • Stabbing pain, razor-sharp cutting pain and very sharp piercing pain in my left groin. The latter felt like a dagger being pushed deep through the middle of my left groin whenever I bent forward.
  • Pricking and stinging sensation (like a cactus in my groin and in my privates);.
  • Burning pain in my left groin and in my privates.
  • Bruise-like pain in my left groin and the top of my left thigh.
  • Cramp-like pain extending from my left groin, down my left spermatic cord to my left testis (it felt like a tightened rope). This pain typically preceded the onset of the dreaded testicular pain.
  • Left testicular ache (by far the worst pain and the one that I dreaded the most. It also made me feel nauseous). The onset of this pain was rapidly followed by left loin pain. 

 

At this level of pain intensity, I was unable to function and had to retire to bed for the rest of the day. It was a very debilitating feeling that made me feel very low.

 

Level 7 pain made me irritable, unable to concentrate and made it a struggle for me to perform complex tasks. Standing or sitting for a prolonged period would push my pain to level 8. Adopting a slouched position allowed me to sit for extended periods. 

 

For more, follow my blogs. 

About the Author

Dr Adel H. Rateme
Retired Consultant General Surgeon and Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon

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