2 1/2 weeks post-op continued breathing trouble, chest pain

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5029
   Posted 6/27/2011 3:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm looking for suggestions on relieving continuing breathing difficulty after surgery.
Sinus surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago with post-op myalgia - most horrible pain imaginable, not much controlled with IV meds, Vicodin at home, not enough anti-nausea meds.  I complained to ENT at 1 week and 2 week visits about difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea, but each time he said it would be better - pulled out stents, said swelling would continue 3-4 more weeks and could be into bronchi.  (Anyone heard of this?) He had nothing to say about the myalgia for 5 days, but that's not his baileywick.  I do wish he'd comment about the facial numbness, though.
I complained to anesthesia about being given meds I had refused (fibro and polio should not get histamine releasers), muscle pain, chest pain and nausea.  But I wasn't critical enough to get admitted, although I discussed it with dh who said I wouldn't get any sleep.  At least they finally sent me the names of the meds they gave me.
I added my tramadol back with the Vicodin first week, after good suggestion on board.  Got off the Vicodin 2nd week,  Chest pain and breathing difficulty continue.  I checked with my old spirometer - Flonase helped a little for a few minutes.  I've been doing deep breathing, but it's doing nothing.
Today called PCP about breathing, who said try my albuterol inhaler which allergist had just Rx'd for emergencies.  Big mistake!  That gave me shakes, worse feeling of restricted breathing, chest pain and arrhythmia - shown on my portable BP machine, but not what kind.  Anyway, it hurt!  He called me back to check, said Uh-oh, take half an Alavert and a prednisone (I tolerate 5 mg).  So I'm waiting to see how that works.  He'll get me an Rx for chest X-ray asap - look for post-anesthesia atalectasis.  Through all this the fibro pain and shoulder pain (needs surgery when sinuses heal) jumped to 7, so I snagged a Vicodin to get through the day.  That pain is still stabbing to biceps, elbow, wrist, thumb and 1,2 fingers despite my efforts to reposition.
PCP will check in again this evening and I'll get chest X-ray tomorrow.  I've had several surgeries and lots of procedures with anesthesia, but this was by far the worst - and it was not the surgical procedure!  That area hurt(s) the least!

Betsey Ross
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1056
   Posted 6/27/2011 6:39 PM (GMT -6)   
I am so sorry to hear that you are having breathing problems. It is horrific that the doctors arent listening to you.

if you cant enough oxygen please go to the ER. I am worried about you.

please keep us updated on your condition.

crushed lower knee and vertical fx of yibia/external fixator placed/plates and screws and tried to place big pieces of cartiledge under knee cap/tremendous pain in affected legcontinously without improving/allergic to metal in left leg/leg isnt straight/need metal removed in July/wait 6 months for healing/then toatal knee replacement/straighten out leg/more phsyxical therapy/take opana er

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 2265
   Posted 6/28/2011 12:04 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Alcie. I'm so sorry that you're having so much trouble breathing. I agree with Betsey. If you get any worse, please go to ER. It sounds like you could have pneumonia or something to that affect.

I hope your breathing is better by now or that you have went to the ER.

Take care and keep us updated as to how you're doing.

love and hugs
Dx: osteoarthritis, bursitis in left hip, Osteoarthrits in right hip, compression fracture in thoracic spine due to falling on frozen ground March 2001 , ddd, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, osteoarthritis in spine, osteoarthritis in both knees
Meds: Fentanyl patch, oxycodone, otc: BenGay, Tylenol Arthritis on occasion

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5029
   Posted 6/28/2011 4:12 PM (GMT -6)   
I ended up in the ER with chest pain radiating to throat and left arm, and tachycardia (HR 160).  Admitted overnight.  CT scan in the middle of the night to check out belly pain - hoping it wasn't another attack of diverticulitis like last year.  No pain meds until 2AM.  No sleep all night.  Vampires 6AM.  This morning nuclear stress test, no food or drink.  Missed lunch too, but got a turkey sandwich and watermelon, of which I could only eat half.
I took atenolol and aspirin at home.  After I got to the ER HR dropped to 140.  They gave nitro, which didn't do anything.  After an hour it spontaneously converted to 70.  This tach attack was especially painful because my pressure jumped high, which it usually doesn't.  But then, usually these attacks convert within a couple minutes.
After talking to the on-call doc, she and I figured out it was my attempt to clear the chest congestion with a single puff of albuterol that caused the problem.  I guess I will add that to my do-not-tolerate list.  It can apparently cause rapid heart rate as far out as 6 hours, and mine was 5 hours after taking it.
I still have the headache and chest congestion, called ENT about nasty green and yellow sinus glop.  At least one sinus is still blocked although I have been using NeilMed (squeeze bottle) wash faithfully.  Much better that Neti Pot!!  Lots more fluid gets much farther in the sinus area - except for the blocked ones, of course.  I think they need doc to rinse with antibiotic again.  He did during surgery because there was infection.
I'll have to follow up on belly pain at GI doc's office.  He came by when I was getting stress test.  It still hurts, although CT was clear.  No atalectasis on CXR, stress test good.  Potassium fairly low and low hemoglobin.
What dissolves EKG sticker goo? Alcohol? Nail polish remover? Some of those little tabs have the stickiest glue!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 6/28/2011 6:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Prayers and well wishes to you in hopes that your feeling better soon.
Keep us posted when you can and I certainly hope the prednisone will
help...thinking of you...
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 6/28/2011 8:10 PM (GMT -6)   
As far as the glue from the EKG pads go they make a pad that comes in a package like an alcohol swab does that works very well. Often times doctors, especially surgeons, have them in their office because they like to use them when changing dressings. You can also find them at some pharmacies though they tend to be kept behind the counter, if they carry them at all.

I have tried all sorts of OTC type removers from alcohol to finger nail remover, etc. So far the best stuff I found is Goo-gone. I put some on a wash cloth and then hold it against the area for a minute or so and then gently wipe. Usually all the glue wipes right off, but sometimes it needs a 2nd application. After the glue is gone I wash/flush tthe area with warm water and then clean it with soap and water.

It seems to be fairly mild on the skin, but it still is not something you want to leave on your skin for more than 5-10 minutes max.

Oh yeah. It does not work well if your skin is wet, so using it while taking a bath or shower does not work well.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1276
   Posted 6/29/2011 1:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Oh Alcie, I hope that things improve for you very soon. Thinking of you mate *gentle hugs*

CRPS since 1999, diagnosed in 2005 and since spread to full body, spasms, dystonia & contractures, gastroparesis, orthostatic hypotension,bradycardia/tachycardia, bone spurs, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome.

On Oxycontin/Endone, Topamax, Mobic, Magnesium, Florinef, Somac, Cipramil. Have a spinal cord stimulator, intrathecal pump with baclofen & bupivacaine and doing physio.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5029
   Posted 6/29/2011 6:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Update - ENT today said don't take antibiotics for the sinus infection unless it gets intolerable. See if it clears by itself. He doesn't want to invite a fungus. I have some left Bactrim from treatment before sinus surgery, which didn't clear the infection then. Meantime excessive drainage down my throat is driving me to Zofran for nausea. Left sinus area feels clogged, left side of my face numb. I still have dizziness, tinnitus and headache. Saline wash thins the green gunk, but I have nothing to help with the breathing issue.

I'm wondering if the excessive drainage is responsible for the abdominal pain, maybe from excess gas from constant swallowing gunk, or if I've got a recurrence of diverticulitis. CT while in hospital at least didn't show an abcess. RLQ, but my sigmoid runs clear over there, "tortuous." I have to wait until August for a GI appointment. I was in stress test, lined up like just another sheep, when he came by. He went to his office and I got sent home.

I don't understand what is with that hospital's nurses. They are very nice but horribly inefficient, told me they would bring pain meds, 4 times at least, but never got around to it until it was hours past even another dose. I was due for a dose when I went to ER, got it when I got pretty angry at 3AM, never did get the second med. They seem to spend all their time on computer on on papers or gossiping. I could hear and see them from my little room in ER. Next morning I had to wait from 7 until 10AM and refuse to go down to stress test until I got just one of my AM pain meds. I didn't ask for the afternoon dose, got my spare stuff. And they wonder why patients are grumpy and uncooperative?
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