Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

Double or nothing


On Monday, I thought I finally found a drug that was fan-freaking-tastic. I’d taken it since Friday, and everything was going well. The only noticeable side effect was an odd euphoria. I couldn’t stop laughing. I was highly embarrassed when a co-worker called me out for being high in a meeting, but otherwise… best day ever. The problem was, though, that this medicine did not really help the knee pain. So my pain doctor said, since it wasn’t making me sick, to go ahead and double the dose (I had been on the lowest dose). And that’s just what I did.

Less than 48 hours later, I was curled up in fetal position, in my bed, alternating between bawling and not being able to speak because my head hurt so badly. And so ended my love/hate, but mostly hate, relationship with opiates.

It started on Tuesday morning. I took the double dose that morning and two hours later was so dizzy, I could hardly see straight. It eventually went away and was replaced with a mild headache. Tuesday night, I still made it to the gym to do my PT exercises and was happy to note that the pain was totally bearable. Wednesday morning, I again took the double dose. Two hours later, I started getting dizzy. Only this time, it didn’t let up. It got progressively worse, until I finally had to leave work. I got home and crawled into bed as the headache was starting. There are no words to adequately describe how badly my head hurt. I couldn’t move my head or open my eyes without stabbing pain shooting from the front to the back. To add insult to misery, I was also still extremely dizzy and intensely nauseous. I was convinced that I was going to die because my brain was obviously bleeding, and I couldn’t see the numbers on my phone to call anyone to take me to the ER.

I was finally able to get up to get my anti-nausea medicine, and that at least helped the nausea subside. At some point, I think I was just so exhausted by the pain, I fell asleep. I didn’t really sleep because I’d wake up every time that I moved. Sometime around 4 in the morning, I finally started to feel like I might not die after all. About 8 in the morning, I finally started to think that I might be able to get out of bed. I felt like I’d been hit by a Mac truck the rest of the day, but I was feeling progressively better. This made my decision to stop screwing around with major narcotics rather easy. Never mind that they were prescribed to help with a very specific problem. I’m done. I’ve not taken any kind of pain medicine for two days now, and I still don’t feel quite right.

My pain doc has been perfectly clear that we don’t have many options until this is classified as a chronic problem (and I sincerely hope it never is). Last time I was there, he said that this medicine was the last possible medicine that we could try. He wants to see me again after I get a second opinion, and we can decide then whether there are any more options. For the time being, I’m going to grin and bear it because the knee pain is way more tolerable than that headache.

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.

2 thoughts on “Double or nothing

  1. Well, that just sucks. I’m under two ice packs and a cabbage leaf right now because the strong pain meds mess with my head and the OTC ones could mess with the cartilage… The cabbage leaf is an old wives’ remedy that my physiatrist suggested–beat a leaf of green cabbage with a tenderizer till it’s juicy, and put the leaf juicy-part-down on the inflamed knee. Loosely bandage in place, and leave it as long as you like. Some compound in the cabbage is known to have a mild anti-inflammatory effect, which might take a little bit of the edge off the pain for you, too. Definitely won’t give you headaches!

    • I’ve heard of using cabbage leaf for inflammation before, but I’ve not known anyone who has used them. Is it working? I’m curious about other alternatives like this because it just seems there should be something out there to help without using hard-core drugs.

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