When Mr. A told me he had RSD, I thought it was something he had made up. (He calls his Dilaudid "Bin Laden". Which may be an apt name, for all I know.) When I looked it up online, however, I found out that it is a real thing. And it's a doozy.
Here's a link to the website: http://www.rsds.org/index2.html
- Severe burning pain
- Pathological changes in bone and skin
- Excessive sweating
- Tissue swelling
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
Here are three more things from the website that I found interesting:
- It is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by severe and relentless pain that affects between 200,000 and 1.2 million Americans. (To me this means there are a LOT of undiagnosed cases out there.)
- This is not a psychological syndrome, but people may develop psychological problems when physicians, family, friends and coworkers do not believe their complaints of pain. (If everyone tells me I'm crazy, then I must really be crazy, right?)
- Minor injuries, such as a sprain or fall are frequent causes. One characteristic of the disease is that the pain is much worse than expected for the type of injury that occurred. (When we have our "Pain Management" inservice, we always talk about how "pain is what the resident says it is". Yet I often hear "I just gave them a Lortab 10 an hour ago. They can't be hurting.")
Just because we haven't heard of it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Just because the resident is confused about some things, doesn't mean the resident is confused about everything. I'm glad I took the time to look it up. It makes me more effective when working with Mr. A and makes him more comfortable when I'm on shift.