40. Chronic Neuropathic Pain (1): Sudden Onset

[Numbers in square brackets refer to posts listed on the right at the Home/Archives page.]

On that fateful summer day in 2004, many hours after the biopsy operation on my spinal cord tumour [01], I first woke from anaesthetics in the evening but only briefly; still sleepy. Vaguely, I noticed my younger sister and my two friends standing at the end of the bed but I could hardly breathe or talk. In my half asleep state, I felt tightness around my lower chest wall, especially on the left, as if someone had wrapped it around with a heavy metal band.

            A Tight Band Around Lower Chest Wall

     Ouch…..!  Ouch….!
     Where has this broad metal band come from —
     Wrapping tightly around my lower chest wall, tying me to the bed?                 
     Who has put it there? Why?                             
     To stop me moving?
     To stop me breathing?
     To stop me speaking?
     Please remove it!
     Please let me breathe!
     Please let me sleep!

I fell asleep after speaking to my sister and two friends, with difficulty and only briefly. As I was falling asleep, I felt my legs becoming heavier and heavier. I was later woken by a nurse (M) who apparently had been turning me every hour or so while I slept. Later in the night, I told him that I could not move my legs; I could not feel my left leg; but my right leg was very painful. He told me that he would report it to the neurosurgeon. Later, another nurse (senior) came in to give me, or to increase the dosage of the intravenous desthemetisone (an anti-swelling steroid), and she told me about it. I asked for the time; it was about 10 p.m. I continued to sleep and felt being turned over a few times throughout the night.

When I finally woke up fully, it must be morning: there was bright sunlight outside the window and I heard trolleys being pushed along the corridor.  I found myself in a single room (in a surgical ward), facing a blank wall with no clock. I still felt a tight painful grip around my lower chest wall.  When I tried to turn to lie on my left to relieve the acute pain in the right buttock, I noticed my lower body did not move! I still could not move my legs!  When I touched my left leg, I could not feel anything! In sharp contrast, when I touched my right leg, I felt such  excruciating pain!  All my right side, from both the lower chest wall and lower back down to the toes was extremely hypersensitive to touch! 

          My Legs: Identical Twins No More [03]

     Drastically, overnight,
     my two legs have stopped being identical twins.
     They have stopped talking to each other.
     Right leg extremely hypersensitive to touch:
          millions of sharp needles
          pricking at my sensitive nerves.
     Left leg completely numb to touch.

In addition,I felt severe pains and strange sensations in my whole lower body that I had never experienced before: there were ‘constant activities’ inside both legs and buttocks: 

      Soundless and Invisible Fire Crackers  [07]

     Many long strings of fire crackers
     bursting and burning
     rapidly but incessantly
     up and down, inside my legs,
     from toes to buttocks,
     making crackling sounds
          I cannot hear;
     giving out hot bright sparks
          I cannot see.

I treated these completely unusual pains and symptoms as post-operative and believed that they were only temporary. I remembered back in 1989, a right-knee arthroscopy left me with temporary discomfort in my right leg for about a week, especially my calf: stiff, heavy, as if I had been standing on my feet from morning to night without resting, which were relieved by gliding the knee up and down while in lying or sitting position. However, these pains and sensations I was experiencing now were completely different.

I would never have imagined that these conditions would be permanent, and that I would become a permanent wheelchair user and a permanent sufferer of chronic, acute neuropathic pain for the rest of my life, as a result of a ‘simple’ biopsy operation on my spinal cord tumour [01], performed by an eager neurosurgeon. 

     Sudden Onset of Chronic Neuropathic Pain
                    (posted on Jan 7, 2015 [03])

    Many long hours after the biopsy surgery,
I wake from anaesthetics—
my entire body wrapped in strange new pain:        

    A tight broad metal band
corsets my lower chest wall—
I can hardly breathe;

    My lower body crackles, crunches
and bursts with sensation—
if only I could stop them.

    My two legs have stopped being identical twins:
right leg is hypersensitive to the gentlest touch;
the left is completely numb.
.

 

 

 

 

.
.

A sudden onset of permanent disability [02] and chronic neuropathic pain [03], and an irreversibly changed life style imposed on me [38], putting an abrupt end to my academic career [39]. Such multiple destruction and suffering for nearly 15 years now after a ‘simple’ biopsy operation! What happened in the operation?  Hopefully, it has never happened and will never happen to anyone else.
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NEXT  POST:  CHRONIC NEUROPATHIC PAIN (2),  NOV 30, 2018
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Jacek_Malczewski_-_Rekonwalescentka.jpg ‎(800 × 600 pixels, file size: 162 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) (Jacek Malczewski – Convalescent Woman (1882)), posted by Ablakok, 2017. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. At  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jacek_Malczewski_-_Rekonwalescentka.jpg

An example of a person in Pinel restraints, by James Heilman, MD, 2017.This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. At https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PinelRestaint.jpg

Firecrackers in action in Chinese New Year celebration. Photo by Dr. LEE Sao Bing, who is the Medical Director and Principal Surgeon of Shinagawa LASIK & Eye Centre, Singapore. Photo taken from his personal blog at:  https://drleesb.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/firecrackers-new-year/

Bonfire. Photo from English Wikipedia, 8 September 2004 by Fir0002. This file is liscensed under CC AS-A 3.0Unported License.  At http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bonfire4.jpg

Feux d’artifices rouges, 2008.  Author unknown.  Source:  http://www.photos-libres-de-droits-gratuites.com/photos/Artifices/feux-artifices-pldg007.jpg .  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 France license. At  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Feux-artifices.jpg

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33. Neuropathic Pain in Arms: Rolling Rock

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Weighing down from each armpit, Certova_skala1_Boky_Reserve
a heavy rock with retractable belt
rolls up and down torso sides,
pressing in pebbles and sharp wires;
zigzags across chest and back,
driving millions of needles into
hypersensitive nerves;
glides down the sternum,
ironing in more sharp needles;
encircles the lower chest wall
into a tightened grip.
.

Escalated pain
refuses to be numbed by crème
or soothed by the softest memory foam
over the new backrest
or on the pressure reduction mattress.
.

Sit still.  Lie still.
Breathe in and breathe out.
Focus on the breath,
in and out, mindfully.
Store qi into the dantian.
Drive qi from the middle dantian
     across chest and back.
Steer qi from the lower dantian
     through the barbed-wire wrapped thighs,
     down to the painful feet on fire.
In   and   out,   in   and   out.
In      and      out,      in      and      out.
In          and          out,         in          and          out.
.

Belts retracted800px-Acitrezza_Faraglioni_Moon_Rise_Sicilia_Italy_Italia_-_Creative_Commons_by_gnuckx_(4840318038)
Activities cease
Temporary relief
Freedom
Peace
.
.

 

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The mushroom stone: cap (andesite volcanic bomb) and stem (volcanic breccia). National Nature Reserve (Národná prírodná rezervácia; NPR) Boky; Slovakia.
Photo by Magda.adgaM. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. via-  http://Commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Certova_skala1_Boky_Reserve

Moon Rise in Acittreza, Sicly. Photo by gnuckx.
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Acitrezza_Faraglioni_Moon_Rise_Sicilia_Italy_Italia_-_Creative_Commons_by_gnuckx_(4840318038).jpg



 

03. Sudden Onset of Chronic Neuropathic Pain

.

Many long hours after the biopsy surgery,
I wake from anaesthetic—
my entire body wrapped in strange new pain:

a tight broad metal band
corsets my lower chest wall—
I can hardly breathe;

my lower body crackles, crunches and bursts
with sensation—
if only I could stop them.

My two legs have stopped being identical twins:
right leg is hypersensitive to the gentlest touch;
the left is completely numb.

.

Bonfire4,  English Wikipedia, original upload 8 September 2004 by Fir0002

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bonfire. Photo from English Wikipedia, 8 September 2004 by Fir0002.
CC AS-A 3.0Unported License. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bonfire4.jpg