Don't let them give you Reglan without your consent!
There was time but there wasn't
If you have been reading my hubs you know that earlier this year I had a huge polyp removed from the transverse colon. My TMI Tattoo and Piercing hubs describe the experience. I was told my only option was a bowel resection and ASAP because it could turn cancerous at any moment if it wasn't already. I was kind of rushed into the whole thing. Obviously I wanted that thing out of there. Most of my Googling was about the procedure itself and alternatives to it. I didn't even think much about all the drugs they were going to give me. It was two weeks to the day from when it was discovered to when they whacked it -- a most emotionally difficult time. I was not doing my best thinking during that time. And I was such a surgery virgin. Of course I'm prepped if I ever have another surgery, but I would be just as happy to live the rest of my life without ever having another one.
What was the huge rush? The doctor who discovered the abnormality during colonoscopy took samples from three different parts of it and no cancer was found in any of them. That should have given me a little breathing room. Well of course there might still be cancer in some other part of it, but the fact that they took three samples and found them all benign gave me significantly improved odds and that was downplayed to the max.
At no time was I given a list of drugs I would be given. I should have ASKED, but in an ideal world they should just TELL you as part of your pre-surgical consult. OK, so most people don't give a rip and wouldn't read it, but I would have. You have to sign a form when you go for surgery that sort of leaves all decisions up to them or they won't operate. Obviously they had to give me drugs to take me out during the procedure, and they kind of have to play dosages and drugs by ear during surgery. That is the anaesthesiologist's job and as far as I know, he did it just fine, though I believe that the price you're willing to pay each time you go under general anaesthesia is some dead brain cells. Then there have to be pain killers. I received morphine and some kind of souped up ibuprofen that you can only take for five days. I believe this is appropriate use of morphine. People who truly have pain do not tend get addicted to morphine. It is only if you take it after the pain is gone.
But Reglan? Someone should have told me about the Reglan! Reglan is a neuroleptic. Neuroleptics are a family of psychoactive drugs often used in the treatment of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. One of the effects of Reglan is that it makes the digestive organs contract. This is why you get it after gut surgery. The GI tract normally goes into kind of shocked paralysis when you get any kind of partial evisceration done on you. Why are they in such a hurry to get it moving again? If any one had consulted me I would have asked exactly what are the benefits of Reglan and what would happen if I didn't get any? They had told me they wouldn't feed me anything except ice chips until I farted out some of the gas that had been left inside me. I really couldn't have cared less. Eating was the last thing on my mind. All I was doing was laying around. Even though I had been fasting for approximately three and a half days, after that operation you don't have much appetite. So I was in no hurry to start the food processing machinery going. I was getting IV nutrition. Why can't they just let it rest?
Well thanks to Reglan, there was "GI motility" within 12 hours. Good for me. Now that I have achieved GI motility, can we stop with the Reglan already or maybe cut down? If I had been my normal self and not doped out on God only knows what, I would have surely asked that. But no, strange people just kept coming around at regular intervals waking me from a kind of stupified zombified half sleep injecting stuff in me and then telling me afterwards: That was your Reglan. I had never even heard of Reglan. I remember dimly being told that it stimulates the GI tract. I had my last dose just before I left the hospital. I do not know if they were diminishing the dosages or not. No one ever told me.
Once home, and off the Reglan, all output ceased. I wasn't worried about that, after all, there hadn't really been a whole lot of input. In a day or two, the food processing chain was working fine on its own without any help from Reglan. One of the documented side effects of Reglan is called tardive dyskinesia. It is fairly rare. It basically mimics the symptoms of Tourette's. The freaky thing is that when it happens it is permanent. Rare or not, nobody told me anything about it. One lasting effect I have had is a dramatic increase in borbyrygmi. What the hell is borbyrygmi, you ask? Well it's just a fancy name for stomach growling. Like everyone else, I had always experienced some degree of stomach growling when hungry. It's normal. But even months after the operation, the the noise level of the digestive process in this carcass has a jacked up to a sometimes embarrassing degree, and not just when I'm hungry. The other thing is that my innards have felt "weird" ever since. That's the best I can describe it -- I'm constantly aware of them and their actions and it's not just thinking about it, it's actually feeling it. I'd be willing to wager that these are lesser known and less serious side effect of Reglan. After all, the desired effect is to make your guts contract at the time. If it can permanently alter the nerve pathways to your facial muscles, perhaps it changed something in my guts as well. And I'm not real thrilled about that but I am delighted that the whole thing is over, the scar is curing nicely, and that try though they might they just could not find any cancer.
Bottom line: It's YOUR body, and your only one I assume. You deserve to know what they are going to do to it! Don't be afraid to ASK! I would not have been afraid, but it just didn't occur to me. Read this and learn.
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