Phobias ain’t phobias hey

Post op pain is a bitch. The ENT was kind enough to warn me that the procedures I’ve had done tend do two pain spikes, around days 3 and 7. Forwarned is forearmed, it helps a lot if you know to expect it and aren’t panicking that something has gone wrong. Mornings and late night are my worst times, which is usually the case for any of my conditions. Peak functioning and lowest pain is afternoons, best time for visitors, appointments, eating, and uncomfortable procedures. I’m have to drown myself on a regular basis with salt gargles, sinus rinses, and sinus sprays. This is the ickiest post op I’ve ever done, I spit blood and drip pus and generally ooze. It’s truly delightful.

I’m concentrating on staying out of trauma memories as much as I can. The difference when they’re triggered is huge, my whole perspective shifts and I feel physical pain more keenly through the lens of helpless misery. I also struggle with body memories such as feeling drips and needle pain that isn’t current, I radiate distress so people are stressed and alarmed around me, and I can’t access most of my skills to manage the situation because I’m so overwhelmed by emotional pain. Humour is currently my ally! Nothing breaks the state more effectively at the moment. As I deliberately look for something absurd to focus on, I can feel myself back swimming away from a dark vortex, and color returns to the world. I don’t understand it all yet but I’m trying to pay attention and not the details so I can unpick it later because there’s something very powerful in this.

My capacity to manage the needle phobia has run out for now, sadly. This op was my first time using fentonil for pain relief, and I should be getting as blood test done to see how my liver coped with it. Unfortunately the hospital needed my bed and moved me on without follow up, so yesterday Rose took me to my GP clinic. I can be really difficult to draw blood from, phobia aside my veins are good at hiding. After several harrowing minutes on each arm the GP gave up and I’ll have to drink lots and try again on Monday. Unfortunately this means we don’t know how my liver is going so taking any codine is an unknown risk. Hence high pain levels. The techniques I used to manage the drips in hospital just didn’t have traction, like they hadn’t recharged. My hands dripped with sweat and I shook. But it was brief (ish) and I recovered pretty quickly.

When I’m back on my feet I’m going to a hypnotherapist to try and make some sense of this. There’s a lot of needles in my future! On the plus side, the progress I have made will give up somewhere to start I think. I had a really, really bad reaction to a blood test as month ago and clicked that I don’t think I do have a true phobia, rather blood tests and needles seem to trigger a massive trauma reaction complete with flashbacks. That might explain why the phobia approaches haven’t been working for me. In hospital I used visualisations based on attachment needs to great effect, and found that whenever pain spiked I could concentrate and determine what were current sensations and what were memories to be brushed away.

Anyway. So yeah, stuff. I’m taking notes and I’ll follow up later. For now I’m distracting myself with a Buffy marathon and stopping my jaw seizing by chewing licorice bullets. Tonks is being a crazy moth hunter and stalking the unit with gusto. Zoe is a total couch potato who will snuggle with any discarded clothes, socks, or, if she can find him first, my stuffed lion toy. Good company!


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