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Where to begin/end

I was injured at work almost 15 years ago.  Was told that I had blown out my knee and the only thing that would begin to fix the damage was a total knee replacement. They knew that on day one. They also said that no insurance company/doctors would consider a Total knee without first exhausting more "conservative measures" because at 37 I was too young. A new knee has a life span of about 15 years, less if overweight. At 37 that leaves time for too many knees. It just isn't cost effective. Fast forward to 8 years of work comp, barely any money, always in pain, chomping on pain pills like M&Ms.  I didn't know anything about opiate addiction. I just thought that it was an incredible coincidence that I developed this horrific life altering flu like illness that "thank god"  seemed to be cured by mass amounts of hydrocodone. Started with Vicodin, then lortab, then norco. I had different doctors for each ailment. I screwed up my back at the same time I trashed my knee, so I had a back doctor, a knee doctor, a general doctor for that recurring flu I couldn't seem to shake. It didn't even dawn on me that I had a problem until I was taking 25plus norco a day.  That was when I went to my doctor and cried and begged for him to find a way to fix my leg.  I was in so much pain I could barely walk. (I know what you are thinking....sure it was the pain, she just wanted the drugs...) that may be true but the pain was genuine too.  I was trying to raise three young children, had no help and used the drugs to stay vertical until my leg was deformed and collapsing, and that frigging flu thing kept coming back..I told my doctors that I was done, no more pain meds. I spent 5 hours in my doctors office that day, when he realized just how many pills I was taking he would allow me to leave the office until he had found space for me in a 28 day in patient drug rehab/pain clinic at one of the top 5 university's in the country. I left with barely enough meds to keep me from puking and an appointment the next day.  I found someone to stay with the kids for a month and I went. I was terrified of every thing I had heard about w/d and had some real first hand experience with it. But it was going to be a thing of the past. In a month I wouldn't be sitting in an emergency room looking for more pills.At the hospital one of the first things they did was to try and figure out how you caused yourself to get into this situation. Were you just an addictive personality chasing a high, or was there a legimate need for the drugs.  Were you an addict or were you a misdiagnosed chronic pain patient.  I exhibited symptoms of both, so they were unclear as to which direction to take. So after 4 days of medically supervised pain meds..( by the way I was switched from 20 or 30 norcos a day to 100 mg MS Contin every 12 hours), on the 5th day they trapped me into an MRI machine for 3 hours so they could gauge just how much pain I was in. On the 6th day the head Orthopedic surgeon and my 6 doctors the comprised my Pain/rehab team came into my room at 6:30 in the morning and asked me to get out of bed and walk to the window about 15 feet away from my bed so he could evaluate my gait, I complied and made my stroll across the room and sat back down on my bed in front of my "team" and the Ortho doc said I was amazing.  That he had spent the better portion of the night before going over my x-rays and mri results and that he was totally amazed that I could make it to the wall and back under my own steam and that he had been sure I would require crutches or a cane because my leg/knee was so structurally  unsound and deformed. So the decision was made. I wasn't an addict I had mis-managed pain issues and that my doctors believed that I would be unable to function on anything even remotely resembling a normal level without some fairly substantial narcotic pain management. So It was decided that my team at Stanford  would take over the management of my pain meds and that I was going to be placed on a blinded pain cocktail that would be specially formulated out of an ever varying amount of methadone, atavan, klonopin.. and a few other mixers and I signed a contract that I would not self medicate anymore.  On day 6 of rehab I was told to call for a ride 150 miles back home, given a quart of my methadone cocktail and an oral syringe and told that this was the best that could be done for me at least until I had a new knee.  But now I had the head of the Orthopedics dept of a major university hospital telling the nice folks at the workers comp insurance company that it was indeed time to buy me a knee, whether I was a little young or not. It had become more cost effective to give me my knee...
That was 5 years ago. I got my new knee in a little less than a year, ultra quick for anything related to workers comp in California. My knee was a complete success. Within 2 months of surgery I was walking/almost running and with my really pronounced limp a thing of the past.  Life was good.. The day I was discharged my surgeon told me that "Just so I won't be caught off guard, I should know that I was probably going to need to have my other knee replaced at some point in the future. When I protested and told him no.. I didn't screw up my right leg when I fell. Just my left leg was hurt.. He was wrong.  The knee surgery was incredibly painful and there was no way I was going there again.  He shook his head and said that he was sorry that they waited so long to replace my left knee and that because my left knee was so bad it had caused a major limp and an alteration in my normal walk and that had put all the stress on the right side so naturally it to compensate for what the left side could not do, and I needed to accept the fact that one does not have one of the worst knees he has ever had the pleasure to throw away still maintain a perfectly pristine knee on the other side.But not to worry it could be years before it had to be done. Go home and enjoy my new knee.
     My enjoyment of my new knee lasted four months.  When I lost my limp and began to walk correctly again it changed the dynamics of how everything on the right side worked.  While my left leg was screwed up the tendons and ligaments changed so that after just a few months the cartlidge tore, and the ligaments snapped and all of the sudden my right legs hurt worse than my left leg ever had. 5 months after I swore I would never let him replace my other knee I was calling his office begging to be put on the surgery calendar sooner.
    I apologize for the length of this posting..
    I will try and wrap this up and get it back on subject.. Actually this is on target, it is just involved and complicated.
    It has been 5 years, I have lost my right leg from above the knee, had twenty surgeries leading up to the MRSA that almost killed me twice.  Now I have major pain in my lower back, a $40.000.dollar leg that hurts so bad I cannot stand to have it on for more than 5 mins at a time.  My doctor decided that now was the right time to cut back on my pain meds, he's cut me from 210mg of Avinza (for those unfamiliar with Avinza it is 24 hours time release morphine) to 120 mgs and 8 20 mgs oxys to no more than 4 norco a day.  I am in continual pain.. Phantom and organic and I am going broke buying pills from people that make their living selling their own prescriptions because they need to pay their rent more than they need to be out of pain. I hate the drugs.. I hate my life..I hate feeling sorry for myself... and have absolutely no idea of what to do. I have lost my leg, my life, my kids.. I am seriously questioning what is the point.
  
3 Responses
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401095 tn?1351391770
so u do not abuse ur meds?  I do feel ur pain thru ur post..and deal with ur type of situation often..in fact i will go and do somne extensive stuff on a 28 yr iold girl who has some similar issues//paralyzed from a car accident when she was 18



chronic pain sux

why did ur kids and stuff leave u?  cos ur in pain?  I am so sorry for ur situation but not sure if u r saying u need help with the meds or not///course first thing we think here is that u r an addict cos this is an addiction forum..there is also a chronic pain forum and I post there as well on occasion..mostly here tho...keep posting as theres lots of support here
Helpful - 0
760862 tn?1243097304
i am so sorry for what you are going through.  that is terrible.  if you feel that your doctor is jumping the gun on tapering you down and you still actually need some fashion of pain medicine than maybe you should seek a second opinion.  i am not trying to say it is all in your head but, have you ever talked to a therapist?  the reason i ask that is because talking it out with someone can be beneficial and helps a little bit with the mental anxiety and also with everything you have been through, it may not be a bad idea to just get it all out with someone who is there to listen.

my prayers go out to you. what you have gone through is more than i could ever handle, give yourself a pat on the back, you are stronger than you think you are.

please take care!!! and if you have any questions or just want to vent, i am usually hear, just send me a message -k-
til next time
montanagurl
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I agree with worried...Not sure your question?  It made me really sad to read what you have been through..I know someone that this happened too, and almost exacttly like your situation...I do know what he goes through, but he does have a great pain management doctor, and counsouler...Maybe , you should post on the pain managment forum also...Let us know a little more...I will pray for you and your children...
Helpful - 0
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