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Addiction & Recovery board


Dear LovePainPills, I certainly care too. What everyone goes through is different, but I just want you to know part of my story. Perhaps there is something in common, perhaps not. Anyway, I was involved in a horrible skiing accident where I shattered my leg. The surgeon said that it looked like a grenade went off in my leg and they stopped counting pieces of bone at 40. I broke both my tibia and tibia plateau (knee itself). Anyway, they put in a rod and seven screws and sent me home. Six weeks later I woke up in the morning with a 1 inch hole in my leg and blood just pouring out. During the original surgery staph aureus had infected the bone and it just ate it's way out of my leg. It was a mess. They ripped all the hardware out and the bone between my knee and my ankle. I had what is euphemistically called an "external fixater", which for me was 3 ten inch rings outside my leg with 4 quarter inch rods drilled through the skin, the muscle and into the bone, along with two high tension wires through the knee. This was all in a last ditch effort to save my leg. They finally got the infection under control and I got to keep my leg. I cannot describe the pain that I was under for months on end. I could not sleep, nor eat. Not to mention the worry about losing my leg. Thank God and my great doctor (one of the doctors for the Lakers, btw). At one point he said, "I think it's best if we fight one battle at a time." I had lost 35 lbs and I was not overweight before. He put me on pain meds and said right out that I would almost certainly become physically dependent on them due to the time and type of meds. At various times I was on everything from vicodin, percocet, oxycontin, dilaudid, morphine, demoral, I think at one time or another I had it all. And they saved my life. I could eat, function, and hope that there would be a life at the end of this horrible tunnel. Anyway, after nine surgeries, all of them terrifying, and putting my hip bone into my leg, I could finally start putting weight on my leg. I could start crying just rememdering that day. Unfortunately, that wasn't the end. I had broken 70% of my tibia plateau, which should be an extremely smooth surface. Mine looked like the Grand Canyon. I needed a knee replacement. However, in cases of osteomyelitis, putting foreign material in an infection area is one great way to lose a leg. So instead I walk in pain every day. Osteomyelitis is never gone "for certain". After 7 years, I think I can get a knee replacement, if I am brave enough. Anyway, while the bone was healing after the last surgery, I decided to get off the meds. After a year on them I have never done anything more difficult, but I did it. But after walking for a while, I felt I needed something for the pain, and I tried everything I could find. Daypro, Vioxx, every NSAID I could find. Finally I turned back to opiates and that was the worst mistake I have ever made (besides taking up skiing). Starting off at 5/500 Vicodin I quickly progressed to Oxycontin in small doses. At some point I realized that I was using the pain as an excuse to take the pills. Everything was just better when taking the pills. And Oxy was the best. I found that I wanted more and more. And it wasn't for the pain. I started spending money that should really have gone to my family on pain meds off the street. At one point I was taking 600mg of Oxycontin a day, and it was just a matter of time before I either OD'd or went bankrupt. I looked in the mirror and realized I was addicted to pain meds, not just dependent. I was so miserable and so ashamed that I let myself get in this position. It was so hard to admit that I was an addict. I am college educated, not some street bum. I was in pain, but that was no excuse for letting myself get in that position. Anyway, if you want any advice for a taper, or just someone to talk to, or anything I can do, please let me know.