NO ORDINARY PAIN

PAIN

I am not sure how to write about what has been happening to me for the past five weeks.  I have made it through a situation like never before and, like any impacting occurrence in your life, it has left a deep notch in my woodwork.  I do not think, nor expect many people to read this.  It will be long and tedious and of little interest to most, except those who may have gone through a similar situation.  But I will put it all down, if for no other reason than to document this episode in my life.

In 2010 I had a knee replacement on my right leg.  I had done a lot of homework beforehand and I spoke with anyone I could find who had this procedure done or knew someone who did.  The odds were pretty good that I would be a lot better off with a phony knee than the deteriorating one installed at birth.  So off I went, into the deep dark abyss formulated by an anesthesiologist.  When I awoke, my life was hell for the next several years as my body bucked and snorted its way to accepting the new, alien fixture embedded midway up my leg.  My recovery was a lot slower and more painful than most, so much so that I decided I would not get the other knee done which was already scheduled for later in the year.

My surgeon is well known throughout south Florida as THE best doctor for knee replacements.  The complications I had after the operation were not of his doing.  My body is simply one of the ones that takes a more aggressive attitude toward change.  Now, seven years later, the issues with my right knee are history.  Once in a while it’ll let me know it does not like the way I turned or the weight I put on it, but it’s a brief moment of conflict and we both get over it.  Meanwhile, my surgeon told me not to rush getting my other knee done.  He said that I would know “when” is when and I’d be back.  Well he was right.  When was last fall and that’s when the process of getting my left knee replaced began.

My doctor told me he was now using less invasive robotics and he’d also do a nerve block to help ease my pain.  Hopefully and optimistically I marched into the same deep dark abyss of the anesthesiologist and this time, when I awoke, things indeed were different.  The pain was so much less and I was immediately able to do so much more.  I was so happy with my decision to proceed with the second knee replacement. The new, easier recovery continued for the next two weeks as I began therapy at home and then at a location a short ride up the road from home.  Here’s where the story turns.  I had a rather vigorous session during my third visit.  This came at a time when I was definitely suspicious that something was not right. My leg was hurting more, healing less.  After this particular workout all hell broke loose. My leg bucked the therapy and swelled up from knee to little toe and every muscle between my hip and the aforementioned toe flared up in painful rebellion. I was right back to where I was seven years before, right where I swore I’d never venture again.  But wait, this is only part of the story.

Back in December, months before my second knee replacement, my back went out.  I am not a person with back issues.  The only other time my back “went out” was in 1996 and it gave me hell for a month and then slowly understood that I had had enough and it eased its way back to normalcy.  I figured this time it would do the same thing.  It didn’t.  It continued on long enough to make me see a doctor.  He ordered an MRI.  Along with all that was going on at this time, I was in the early stages of being treated for psoriatic arthritis which was beginning to erode my joints in a process that consumes many an aging body.  It is not a nice process.  It distorts your appearance, limits your movement and, of course, inflicts a good amount of accompanying pain.

The MRI showed that my arthritis was doing a good job of eating away at my spine, so much so that two discs were now bulging out of the normal boundaries of their aging chambers. The pain increased almost daily. I was now using a cane and after the knee surgery my days became repetitive time capsules of lying around, limiting my vertical time, and attempting to sleep…all the while I have been taking painkillers that I know will, at any time, test my discipline and addictive tolerance.  Ironically, the pills have little effect on lessening my pain.  Fact is, nothing lessens my pain.

By February I am in chronic, intense pain 24/7.  I cannot sit still, I cannot go anywhere and I spend the hours trying to cope with the pain and looking for a position on a soft surface that might offer me a moment of peace.  I am wondering why doctor offices don’t call back and those that do don’t seem to have an answer to my problem.  I continue on in disbelief that there is no one or no place that can help me.  The leg recovery, as painful as it is, has become secondary to the back issue.  The latter now pokes a fire iron into the small of back on the left side.  The pain is off the scale as it unbelievably wraps around under my groin and attacks an area that leaves any man bending over and whimpering like a child.

Last week I’m lying prone on my stomach in an operating room at the out-patient section of a nearby hospital.  A pain specialist is about to inject the affected area on my back with a thirty inch needle—at least it seems that it was that long to me.  He performs another nerve block, this time using a “live” xray to more accurately locate my sacroiliac, a target area where he thinks most of my pain is headquartered. Over the next 24 hours, life changes.  The back pain eases.  Now I just have to cope with a lower level of it and turn my attention to dealing with my knee issues.

As fate would have it, this latest procedure delivered a spark of hope which crashed and burned on the second day.  I was back to where I’d been.  dddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

dddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

I guess you are wondering about the “d’s.”  This is yet a whole other issue that adds to my stress-filled days of trying to live like a normal person.  Because of my sleep apnea, I get little sleep.  Consequently, I constantly “crash” throughout the day, literally falling asleep right in the middle of doing something.  Back up above, when I wrote “…to where I’d been.” I paused to think about what I wanted to write next.  My body instantly noticed my vulnerability and decided this would be a good opportunity to take a time out. Without asking me for permission, nor giving me warning, it went into sleep mode. When it did, my finger was resting on the letter “d” on the keyboard with just enough pressure to keep it active for several rows until I woke up.  This is a constant occurrence when I am writing but, of course, the runaway letters are always deleted.  My Sleep Apnea is actually a fascinating ailment–no really!–and I am about to join 1500 other people around the world who will have a new electronic implant to help eliminate this life-draining debacle.  I will be discussing this in upcoming postings on Marc’s Blog. But I digress…

I like to end on a positive note and that’s where I am right now, with fingers crossed. I do not know if my current status will last a day, a week or for the rest of my life.  Here’s what happened.  I saw my arthritis doctor yesterday and she told me to up the dosage and go back on some medicine I had stopped taking.  She had me taking this same pill several months ago while I was waiting to qualify for one of those secret outrageously expensive pills you see happy people taking on TV commercials during the nightly network news. When the new meds were approved, she took me off the “babysitter” pill.

With only one dose, though significantly higher, of the medicine I had been previously taking, my back pain disappeared.  I am now midway through the next day and it remains under control. Even the leg/knee pain has eased a bit.  I can deal with this. I am to follow this new procedure for only five days and then stop the pills.  While they appear to be helping me, it’s advised not to prolong their use.  It is anticipated that within this week’s time the medicine will calm all the inflammation that is the root of my problem.  I just hope the next paragraph of this long saga doesn’t begin with “Unfortunately…”  Ironically, I have suffered all this time—months of non-stop, intense pain—and the pills that finally seem to be giving me some relief were in a bottle, in a drawer, less than six feet away.

*****

 

 

Advertisements

About Marc Kuhn

I am a retired radio exec. I've worked at major stations in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Miami. That was then. This is now: I've published seven books and this blog thingy. Need to know more? Really? Okay, I bare/bear all at http://marckuhn.com The other links are for the websites of each of the books I've written. I've been busy! Hope you'll stop by and check them out. Thanks for your interest!
This entry was posted in health and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to NO ORDINARY PAIN

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh my! Am so sorry to hear of your adventure of pain. I cannot imagine how it has taken its toll on your lifestyle. I’ve always know you to be upbeat, smiling and willing to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Wishing you less pain and more smiles.

    Like

  2. rcarmean says:

    You are a better man than me. Pain like you described has hit me only once and I ended up getting a back operation which helped things significantly. I’ll ask my sister-in-law (a nun) to Skype God and put in a good word for you.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s