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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: On Q Pump

Warning: Medical talk ahead, which mentions surgery and anesthesia.

This may seem like an odd Works for Me Wednesday entry, but here it is. I just had a c-section. My fourth. So, I pretty much know what has worked and hasn't worked before, and have very specific requests of our surgeon when we go into these things. Among them is what kind of anesthesia I want used.

My first time, I had duramorph in with the spinal block and was very sick and itchy. The second time I asked for something else, and recovered quickly, was off the cath sooner, had my IV out sooner and was able to eat, walk, use the facilities sooner. So, the third time I asked for whatever that was again. It turns out that I had nothing besides the spinal block. However, the anesthesiologist, who is also a friend of ours, wasn't completely comfortable with me having no pain medicine with my spinal, because the spinal only lasts about an hour or so, and he was concerned about my coming off of that with no systemic pain medicine. So, we said to go ahead and use a different medicine than the duramorph. I wasn't sick, I wasn't itchy, but I was back to slow recovery and a long post-op. This time I said no pain medicine in the spinal.

Our doctor (who is amazing, btw, and I wish we had gone with her every time since Elijah, in fact Dr. Maslow had specifically recommended her, but we hadn't been able to use her the second time, and forgot the third time), who trusted me and asked me the reasons I didn't want the pain medicine, suggested that I use a local anesthetic pump inserted at the internal incision instead of the systemic medicine. Since I was not trying to be some hero, I just didn't want to be slowed down from moving and getting tubes taken out of me, I said I was more than willing to use it.

Well this, my friends, is a miracle medicine. Our doctor said she mostly used it for hysterectomies, and the anesthesiologist said she thought it had initially been used primarily for infant surgeries, but all the nurses and staff saw how well it worked for me and said they were going to suggest it for their other c-section patients. On Q is this funny looking little ball (it was full when they put it in me) that pumps local anesthetic into your wound site at a particular rate per hour (mine was 4 ml per hour, and I don't know if they are different rates for different things or not) via a pressurization system. It lasts anywhere from two to five days depending on how much medicine they are dispensing. It stays in you, there are tubes taped to your body, and this ball that hangs off of you, and they give you a little fanny pack to keep the ball from dragging around and yanking out the tubes. That was the only awkward thing about it, but since most of the time it was in I was still at the hospital, it wasn't a big deal to me.

When the pump is empty, you just pull the tubes out. It doesn't hurt at all to pull them out. Our doctor said I could do it myself, or if I was squeamish about it to have Rich do it and if he couldn't do it to come into the office. We unhooked the pump from the tubing and I did it in the shower, and couldn't even feel it traveling. She also warned me that there would be about the same amount of tubing on the inside as I saw on the outside, so not to freak out if it looked like a clown pulling handkerchiefs out of his sleeve.

This pump reduced my pain from the surgery and at the incision site internally so much that I didn't have to take as much of the oral pain medication, and didn't feel any pulling or soreness internally or on my external incision site until the fourth day, and it was very minimal at that point. My mother in law asked why I pulled it out, she thought I should have asked for a new pump to attach to the tubing, since it worked so well.

I am a true believer now. I would do testimonials for the pharmaceutical company. This was, by far, the easiest recovery from a c-section I have ever had. If you have any surgery coming up which requires anesthesia, I'd suggest you ask about this little pump. On Q and a quicker, easier recovery from major surgery, that works for me!

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I'm so glad you (finally!) found something that absolutely sounds like it worked for you!

I've never been in the situation but I'm glad to have the information in case I need it. Thanks!
Thank you for posting this. I'll be using the On Q in 3 weeks for my c-section, and it's nice to read someone else's (positive) experiences with it.
I understand that there are several different brands now, too.

I didn't get to use one this time, which made recovery harder. I wish I could, but our hospital refused, and I didn't have the time to fight it.

God bless you! I pray your surgery goes well and that your baby is healthy.
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