I'd assumed this whole process would be extremely painful at some point. But when a couple of weeks ago I bumped into a friend whose job is as a general hospital pain care nurse and she told me it doesn't have to be, I believed her. The epidural was fantastic and it was only when I'd fallen through a hole in the routine after it ran out, that I began to feel pain.
And it wasn't pain as generally thought of, as specifc and centred. No, instead it felt as if the right hand side of my chest was gripped by an enormous bulldog clip. I only realised that I was experiencing severe pain by the fact that my breathing had shallowed and I was tightening all sorts of unlikely muscles.
The pain manager here has prescribed paracetomol and tramadol together, but for some reason the ward nurse only gave me the former. As the bulldog clip once more began its grip I asked for the rest. It looks like I'm going to have to keep my eye on this shift at least.