Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

He’s like Willy Wonka


If Willy Wonka were into selling opioids rather than chocolates.

I went to see my pain doctor today. I started consulting with him last year when I was still in my I’d-rather-eat-knives-than-have-surgery phase. He helped me control the pain enough that I was able to pre-rehabilitate my knee, and his plan (narcotics and three injections of fake joint fluid) worked so well that I was able to bike 50 miles two days before surgery. Boom. I saw him today with the blessing of my surgeon and physical therapist; they both want me to be able to get the pain controlled enough to move forward with strengthening my knee, which is what they believe will help alleviate (hopefully, eliminate!) the pain in the long run.

My pain doctor rolled in and explained that we have limited options at this point. There would be more options if this were a chronic condition, but we’re all obviously hoping it’s temporary. He’s previously prescribed Tramadol (did nothing to dull the pain) and Norco (helped the pain but made me sick). When he prescribed Zofran (an anti-nausea medication) to take with the Norco, we had a combination that both dulled the pain enough to do my pre-rehab and didn’t make me hurl like the girl from The Exorcist. Problem now, though, is that the Zofran has apparently worn off in its effectiveness because the last 2 times I took the pain medicine (around the holidays), I projectile vomited. I won’t give you details, but it was bad enough that I took a moment to appreciate the force with which I threw up. I impressed myself.

So what are my limited options? Really, it came down to one option, and I’m now the proud owner of a prescription for morphine. Yeah. That stuff. Problem is… I’m totally scared to take it. Both because I’m scared it will make me sick and because I’ve watched enough television (hello, Chicago Hope, House, ER and Grey’s Anatomy) to be properly frightened at what morphine can do. I’m also wondering how I can continue to function if I start taking such strong pain medication. And then the pharmacist alarmed me when she said in an almost conspiratorial tone over the counter, “You might want to get some laxatives or stool softener, if you don’t already have some that you take.” Um… ewww. But good to know, I guess.

I have PT first thing tomorrow morning, so I wanted to try the new prescription tonight to see what effects it will or won’t have on me. I certainly don’t want to try it for the first time when I a) will be in public and b) will be doing physical exercise. With that in mind, I spent several hours staring at the small bottle of pills, trying to convince myself that the doctor thinks it’s in my best interest and he wouldn’t have given me a prescription just because he thought I should have some fun (I had to take a urine test before I left his office; they’re pretty serious and screen regularly). Then I put my family on high alert. I’m going to take a pill, and it’s their job to make sure that I don’t DIE. Actually, it’s not that I’m worried about. I just don’t want to get sick to my stomach. I hate that.

With any luck, I’ll be able to crank it up a few notches in PT tomorrow morning. I’ll let you know. If it doesn’t work, I’m totally throwing a party to get rid of my left over pain pills. Just kidding! Mostly.


Author: Laura

I have a fern I named Frankenstein. I like leprechauns, practicing kung fu moves on my dining room furniture, and pretending that one day I will move to Fiji. I dislike my neighbors' kids, anything that is chartreuse, and Ben Roethlisberger.

4 thoughts on “He’s like Willy Wonka

  1. Good luck with that! I had to take that when I got my second blood clot, I didn’t like would I felt on it but it did help with the pain. I really hope it works for you so you can start getting stronger. On side note wanted to ask if you walked with a limp right after you were off your crutches? If so how long?

    • Hi Jesika. Thanks for the well wishes! If the first dose was any indication of what happens, I don’t think I’ll be taking it long…

      I was done with crutches about 3 weeks in, but I had to continue to wear the long leg brace locked in extension until the 8 week mark. So I limped simply because it’s hard not to limp when your leg is locked out straight. Once I lost the brace, I didn’t have too much of a limp at all. My PT made sure that I walked slowly at first and really focused on the heel-to-toe motion. I also used one crutch when I was transitioning off the brace, so I was able to get my muscles going before I was totally on my own.

      How’s your recovery going?


  2. Doing a lot better than last week! Last week my knee popped really bad, it was just like when you brake celery in half! It hurt brought tears to my eyes. Than after that my knee swelled up the size of a small watermelon! No joke! All I could do in PT was e-stem and ice. So had to go see the doctor. The pop was scare tissue tearing and because I’m on blood thinners I didn’t stop bleeding right away. He put me back on crutches and I have to wear a compression sleeve now to help get the blood out.

    This week has been a lot better. This morning I had PT and it was the best so far. I hard to sit on a chair with wheels and use my leg to pull me around the office. I’m tired but not in pain. Hopefully no more set backs.

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