It is very important to have adequate pain control for your recovery. You will be given a Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) button after surgery, usually with a narcotic pain medication (morphine, Demerol®, or Dilaudid®). This machine will allow you to medicate yourself by pushing a button when you experience pain. There will be specific settings on the machine regarding amounts of medication and how often you can push the button to receive medication, which can be adjusted as needed.
Please do not be concerned with using too much pain medication, since you will be closely monitored by your Nurse. If you do not feel you are having adequate pain control, please let your Nurse know so she can call the doctor to change the type of medication or adjust the dosage.
The PCA pain medication has a quick onset and is short acting, so we encourage you to stay on top of your pain when you feel you have pain. When you begin to start taking liquids and food, you will be able to take oral pain medication by mouth, which will last longer. There is a delayed onset of about 30 minutes with oral pain medications, but they last between 3 and 4 hours. Examples are Percocet®, Vicodin®, and Tylenol® with codeine. These are usually the type of pain medications you will be prescribed when you go home.