After they cut you open, then what?

The human body is a remarkable piece of machinery. If you run your car into a wall, that pretty much ends the car. But the body inside as the driver can repair itself. Given time, cuts heal, bones knit back together again. It will probably hurt like Hell but, so long as you know it's all going to get back to what it was, you bear it all. Pain is really just a state of mind. Once you have it under control or you can manage it, you can get on with your life. Science fiction is full of aliens and robots that do the same, repair themselves, but it's an almost instantaneous reaction. The human wannabe hero shoots the alien which pauses for a moment, looking with some surprise at the hole the bullet has made. Then, with a shrug of the shoulders and a slightly apologetic smile, the flesh simply closes again and the alien eats the hero. Yet everyday, people trade on this same ability. Surgeons tell people, "Look, we'll knock you unconscious with gas, cut you open and make repairs. With a few stitches, the wound will be closed. It will all be alright." And, surprisingly, most of the time it is. Except, what happens to the pain? When you cut people open and start hacking away inside, there has to be some reaction when you wake up. Right? Well, the good news is that hospitals have noticed the risk of some pain and they have plans for you. Researchers proved that controlling the pain helps people to recover more quickly. So they have this formula. They don't give you too strong a painkiller because the risks of adverse side-effects are higher - no-one likes you much if you start vomiting all over the wards. But if they don't give you enough painkiller, you start to suffer unnecessarily (which would never do). So they have to find a happy medium (not that you have died and need someone to contact the spirit world). At each point, nurses monitor you and adjust the level of analgesic to give you the most relief with minimum risk of side-effects. So before you go under the knife, you tell these surgeons what pain you have experienced and what you did about it. Discuss what worked and, more importantly, what didn't. For more minor surgery, hospitals tend to rely on ultram rather than one of the stronger opioids. If they have been more aggressive in cutting you open, they may start you on something stronger and then drop you down to ultram. This tapering is important because you can continue to use ultram when they suggest you go home. Hospitals need the beds so they kick you out as soon you can walk without falling over. After that, you buy ultram and take it as needed until the healing is complete. Then you get to play hero and eat as many aliens as you want.

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