The Knee'd To Know Diaries: Purple Haze

If there's one thing docs don't want to talk about, it's the truth about pain. But, let's be frank.It's part of the deal if someone cuts into you like a rare steak. Thankfully, through the miracle of science, there are all kinds of ways to put you into a happy pain-free purple haze.

There's the really cool pain pump that drips a pain blocker into your screaming nerves from an angel-hair pasta sized tube stuck some 6 inches into your thigh after surgery. Even more fun, you can push a button beside your bed and voila, more pain medicine gets delivered magically to you through one of the several IV's you're hooked to. No chance of OD and Code Blue. It stops sending the meds in plenty of time. And then there are pain pills, a parade of nurses lets you pop round-the-clock every 4 to 6 hours.

SL left her lovely hospital digs 3 days after the cut, armed with her trusty meds, certain to keep that purple haze going.

Wrong. Creating the perfect cocktail of pain killers is no easy task. And SL, as she was so sweetly reminded, wasn't their "normal patient." The only cocktail that might have had a chance of working was a stiff martini, or two, or three, or four, and then the floor! Everyone's bio-chemistry is different. Not everyone fits the list of protocols for post-op. And more is not better when it comes to taking pain killers.. 12 hydrocodone, 5 tramadols, and 5000 mg. of Tylenol Extra Strength, and an Ambien or 2 all within 24 hours is a recipe for disaster, not to mention a serious Purple Haze. Especially if one can't remember what pill you took when, and how many.

Hello? Another lesson here. Don't go pre-op alone, and for God's sake, don't do the post-op alone. Get the post-op pain management info before you go under the knife. Avoid drug interractions by being sure the entire team from surgeon on down get the message--loud and clear from that Wing Man or Mother-Lion Wing Woman.

The bad news, none of the traditional pain meds worked for this not-normal patient. It was trial and error for six weeks. Each cocktail had the reverse affect. Drugs that zonk out "normal" patients, wired SL -- could all those Starbucks be the culprit?

This saga does have a happy ending--12 weeks post-op SL is back in her 4-inch patent leather platforms. A curved thin ribbon of a scar decorates my beloved bionic, cobalt and chromium knee. After a 12-year hiatus, SL can't wait to hit the tennis court, share hiking in the Rockies with her sis's, book that ski trip soon as the snow flies!

Pain killers? Not moi! Buh-Buh. I'll leave Purple Haze to Hendrix's best tune.


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