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Discussion:
sleeping on many pillows...newbie
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I am a "newbie" and am still in the recovery process. I've been out of the hospital for one month from multiple pulmonary emboli and severe anemia. I am so grateful that I had the anemia because they were ready to send me home with "anxiety disorder" while in the ER!!? I had a high heart rate, complained of severe pain in my left lung and resting heart rate was elevated at 115 beats per minute. It took a resident doctor to suggest having a d-dimer blood test almost 24 hours later! Praise the Lord for this doctor. I stayed at the Mayo Hospital for one week with heparin and cumedin and was released to go home. I went home with lovenox injections along with my cumedin at 7mg. I had excruciating pain in my left lung while in the hospital and it is getting better, but I find that when I SLEEP.... it
is the worst. I can't lay horizontal without pain and basically prop myself up with pillows (similar to an raised hospital bed) All the doctor's say the pain is "normal" and part of the recovery process. Has anyone else had this problem- more pain at night and the need to sleep with extra pillows? Thanks! Lori
Posted on 07/14/08, 10:43 pm
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Reply #1 - 07/15/08  12:39am
" I too have the pain that you describe. I have always slept on my stomach, but now when I awake, I have more pain in my right chest than ever before.

Today I reverted back to propping myself up like I did in the hospital. It seemed to help, but I also took an additional pain killer to assist me during this.

Not sure if any of this helps, but your not alone here. "
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Reply #2 - 07/15/08  1:49am
" When I first came home from the hospital I slept in our recliner. Not the most comfy thing, but it worked. I couldn't lay down flat either. I couldn't even do it in the hospital when they had me on Dilautin and percocets. Just do what you have to do to be able to go to sleep.

My ER doc was my savior also. They did a CAT scan on me and the radiolgist said that I had pnemonia. The ER doc didn't believe it and had me get another CAT scan. Scary to know that we could have been sent home to die. "
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Reply #3 - 07/15/08  12:00pm
" I slept with one of those college homework pillows(aka husband chairs) for the 2 weeks before I decided to go to the ER. My Dr. thought I had "Walking Pneumonia" Anywho, I also did the recliner thing for probably a month or so after I got back from the hospital. I was just in too much pain lying down and would breathe in gasps. Hope you start feeling better soon. :-) "
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Reply #4 - 07/15/08  2:38pm
" This sounds totally familiar! Before my PE diagnosis, I absolutely could not sleep for about 2-3 days due to the pain when lying down (tried sleeping upright for two nights with a little success). It was awful, and I was even taking Tylenol/codeine at the time. They initially diagnosed me with gallstones and told me to up the dose of tylenol/codeine and come in at the end of the week for a sonogram. When I explained that the meds weren't working and I wasn't sleeping, they said "if it hurts that bad" then I needed to come in again. They re-diagnosed me with gallstones, but sent me to the ER since that was the only way to get in for a sonogram that day (apparently PEs are one of the most commonly misdiagnosed maladies, so I don't fault the docs too much). In the ER, the nurses gave me two doses of Morphine and then one dose of Dilaudid, which did next to nothing for the pain. I continued to sit up unsupported - even with all those drugs(!) - because the slightest recline made me start shaking/shivering uncontrollably (someone later told me that this is the beginning stage of pain-induced shock, but I don't know if that's true?). And of course, all they ever want you to do in the hospital for sonograms, CT scans and just general examinations is lie down! I told a few of the techs and docs they were going to have to force me or hold me down because the pain was so excruciating that my body just involuntarily jerked back up when I tried to lie down myself. I slept (if you can call it that) pretty much upright for two nights in the hospital, and then on many, many pillows for about a week or so afterwards.

I made the mistake of going for a massage about 2 weeks afterwards and lying down (both on stomach and on back) while being massaged actually increased my pain tremendously. That was a major bummer.

My PE mostly affected my right side, so I found that lying on my left side was actually a bit more comfortable than lying on my back. Lying on my stomach has been almost impossible up until about a week ago (I'm 5 weeks post PE), I still don't like to lie on my right side, and I still use two big fluffy pillows to sleep (I used to use one rather flat one).

In the last few days, I am developing that odd "crampy" feeling in my right side again right where I first had all the pain in the beginning (a little disconcerting as it's different from the sharp pains I'v been feeling somewhat regularly). It seems from what I've read here that the pain isn't necessarily a bad thing? I've heard it means that it's healing?

Anyway - hope this helps. You're not alone (and now I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one)! "
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Reply #5 - 07/15/08  11:42pm
" The thing I found that helped the pain the most was HEAT. I have one of those heated socks of some sort of grain that you put in the microwave for 2-3 min, and it stays warm for like an hour. You could use a heating pad or hot water bottle. I just know it helped more than tyleonol. I still have chest pain pretty much every night, and it has been 9 months-more of an ache now, but still there. "
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Reply #6 - 07/15/08  11:53pm
" flipperclot,

That's such a great idea - the old grain in the sock trick! My stepmom taught me that a long time ago, and I didn't even think of it for this. She just uses brown rice, fills an old sock (a cheap thin one), ties it at the end, and then throws it in the microwave just like you said. It works wonders on sore muscles (I used to use it for my neck/shoulders), so I can see how it would work for this as well.

Thanks so much! "
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Reply #7 - 07/16/08  2:42am
" thanks for all your comments... I think I will try the warm compress to see if that gives me any relief.... thanks flipperclot. gamer, I used to always sleep on my stomach as well, but can do it for only an hour or so before the pain sets in my left lung and I have to prop myself up with several pillows.

Khurney..... wow! You were tops on the list in misdiagnosis. The more I read in medical journals, etc.... the more I find that they are encouraging ER docs to check the d-dimer blood levels and this is a quick and easy way to get a better grasp of any type of clotting. I guess I am just so frustrated because I was at what most people consider the "best" hospital and the ER doctor wants to say it's only anxiety.

At this stage of the game, I'm so glad that the resident physician acted on his knowledge and had this test ordered in the next day OR I might not be here.... I am so grateful for all of you and your experiences.
It lessens the anxiety a bit! :) I might try sleeping on my right side to see if that works! "
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Reply #8 - 07/16/08  11:14pm
" I also wanted to add that I was misdiagnosed when my PE probably happened. It was "all in my head -maybe from depression or my thyroid." I wasn't actually diagnosed until 3 weeks later when the clot was already resolving. I was told it was a "small chronic PE" -which was translated as "it had been there a while. " Guess it wasn't all in my head after all. "

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