Pain control takes empathy.

There’s an old cowboy saying: "Don’t tell people about your troubles — half of ’em don’t care and the other half are glad you’ve got ’em."  If you’ve looked at my bio links and old posts, you know that I’d be interested in old cowboy sayings.  Still, if someone asks "How are you?" I’m likely to respond as if they really want to know.  None of that "Fine, how are you?" stuff for me.  No, no, brother; now I’ve got this place in my lower back and sometimes… well, you’re not interested in that, are you? See, I know that, so when I talk about my sacro-iliac [say it like Jimmy Durante would], just bear with me, because there really will be something significant coming up later.

While I do my cardio workout in the mornings, I listen to a lecture on tape, and I turn on the FitTV channel and watch the yoga chicks with the sound off.  Watching is where I should have left it. Those gals are supple, and I’m not.  I decided to stretch my hamstrings a little, and wound up tearing my right S.I. (sacro-iliac) joint .  That’s sort of like spraining your ankle, only in your back, with tearing and stretching of the ligaments that hold your pelvis on to your spine.  It hurts quite a bit, for a week or two usually (I’ve done it before, alas, several times, though not in this precise way).  Those yoga chicks are for watching, not emulating.  Sort of like in "The Outlaw Josey Wales" where Lone Watie holds up his hard rock candy and says "… But it’s not for eatin’.  It’s just for lookin’ through."

So the next day, I’m taking Aleve, I’m using the alpha-stim, and I’m putting the ice to my injury, and I’m still hurting… all the time.   Lo and behold, here comes a dog who has been hit by a car.  He can’t stand on his hind legs, and they think he might have to be euthanized because of a broken back.  The good news is, while his spine is broken, the break is way back where his tail hooks on, and really will only keep him from wagging his tail.  The bad news is, he can’t walk because his pelvis is fractured in many places.  Both of his S.I. joints are torn loose from their moorings on the spine, and the pelvic bones are broken in several additional places.  Fortunately, his leg-bones and hip-joints are NOT broken.  The good news is that there is so much muscle and tendon around the pelvis that it acts as a "self-cast".  Since his hip joints are okay, the odds are very good that the pelvis will heal without any surgery.  In fact, in two to four weeks, this kid will probably be walking pretty normally.  Complications are certainly possible, but the odds are very good that he just needs a lot of good nursing care, cage rest, and pain control, which brings us to the topic of the post.

I gave the kid a sedative and narcotics so that we could do a better examination and X-ray without hurting him so much.  I mean, he was hurting plenty from the injuries already, much less from me tweaking things around.  After finding that his injuries gave him a good prognosis, and explaining the above to his folks, all that remained was to explain the nursing care, and get the pain meds fixed up.  Here is where that empathy thing comes in.

I’m fixing him up a nice big prescription of Rimadyl (a popular NSAID, or non-steroidal anti-inflammtory drug — like Deramaxx, Metacam, aspirin, etc.).  Twenty years ago he probably would have just gotten the cage rest and nursing care prescription, but now he gets Rimadyl, too.  What a nice doctor I am!  Then I’m thinking, I have a mildly torn S.I. and the NSAIDs are not really cutting it.  This guy has both S.I.s torn loose completely, plus multiple fractures.  What am I thinking of, just sending him home with NSAIDs?  So, we wrote him a prescription for a generous dose of Tramadol (narcotic pain reliever).  He seems to be doing okay with that, but you know that dogs are great at concealing their pain.

I just hope that karma doesn’t require me to experience every injury I’m going to see next week.

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