Today was horrible for me, and in many ways worse for Barbara...it being Labour Day, she was home and could watch. There was very little she could do to help.
It was a kind of help-I-am-being-sawn-in-half pain experience, with the added frisson of almost continuous dry heaves.
Well, dry unless they brought up blood.
An ER visit would have been a good idea, frankly, because pain can kill, but not having insurance that was not an option. Against barbara's secure future (without a huge set of my medical bills hanging over her) my comfort and my life are expendable.
So...how might a caregiver cope with a Day Of Pain?
First, Let the professional care team (one or more doctors) know what's happening, and that it's a singularly bad event. Don't worry about 'crying wolf'; most doctors can read the anguish behind your words when someone you love's hurting bad. (And unless the patient's me, if the doc says to head for the ER and he'll meet you there, DO IT.)
Second, make sure the prescribed pain meds are taken at the right time, and in the right dosage. Taking too much at one time can actually make the pain worse.
Third, keep the patient hydrated, preferably with a weak mixture of Gatorade. Avoid soda, as the carbonation can make gas a problem, especially if the patient's doing 'gasping' swallows (taking in a lot of air) as a result of pain spasms.
Fourth, only light food, if any. And don't try to force something the patient really hates. Now is not the time to make a point.
Fifth, distraction. We watched "Return Of The Jedi", which we've both seen a million times or so, but it's a nice, friendly place to be, and the fact that I kept passing out didn't make me miss much. (Interestingly, for the bits I was able to appreciate, I noticed things I had not seen before, both in the scene dressing and the action.)
Sixth, kind words. "I'm sorry you're in so much pain...is there anything I can do for you?" is just fine. (And "I know how you feel, because I once had a pain like that when I overdid it at the gym..." is not OK. Don't dream of going there.)
And that's it for now; can't really stay upright any more.
Today sucked. Tomorrow may be worse.
Still worth trying to catch the moment the sun comes up, though, even if I have to crawl to the door to do it.