How do I help my mom manage pain after surgery?
My mom is having surgery on Monday--to remove a large mass, a portion of her lung, and portions of 4 ribs. The ribs will be reconstructed with titanium. I am praying she will get through the surgery safely, and I am already looking ahead to how I can help her manage the pain she will be in for months. She is not someone who is easy to help. I will be there a lot helping my dad take care of her. I at least want to know what to do or say that won't make it worse. Any good books I can read? Thanks.
My prayers are with all of you...not knowing why your Mom is not easy to help, makes it difficult to try to answer your question. Is there any family member, friend or neighbor that she especially relates to easily? Have that person try to be the major encourager. Doctors and surgeons highly recommend good pain management to promote healing. Staying ahead of the pain in the early stages of recovery is important. Is your Mom afraid of becoming addicted to pain medication? Have the surgeon instruct on how to manage dosing and when to go to less addictive pain meds and when to start weaning off meds. Praise and acknowledge your Mom's progress and making wise choices; stay low-key and don't criticize when she has slipped in staying ahead of the pain...she will feel bad enough already, and being in pain makes it hard to think and make the best choices. Look for alternative ways to manage pain: gentle massage; engaging in activities that will occupy her mind; deep breathing; meditating; aroma therapy; music; Again, my prayers are with you all.
A most important aspect of helping someone manage their pain is conversation. Sometimes we get so caught up in managing the pain for them, that we fail to keep the person who is "the patient" in the front of our minds. Ask what they think will help. Empower the person to take charge by asking for the assistance they feel might make a difference. Managing pain medication is different. Staying ahead of the pain with appropriate meds and timing is crucial. But beyond that, try to make pain management strategies a dialog rather than a lecture. Love and concern spiced with impatience, can make a difficult situation worse for all involved. Patience can be hard to provide, but is the foundation of good care-giving.
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