As I write this, it's 3:32am and I can't sleep. Why? Because my vascular issues in my leg have gotten so bad that I have resorted to taking the painkillers left over from my last surgery. Unfortunately, I took the last one last night-and I had no idea that it had gotten this bad in the two weeks that I'd started taking them. I think I fell asleep at 11:30 and was up at 12:05.

The best description I can come up with is that my lower leg stings as if I've gotten severe road rash. In addition, there's the sporadic stabbing pain-this is what prevents me from sleep tonight. I'm dealing with a double edged sword. If I wear my compression stocking, it adheres to the scabs on my ankle. This means excruciating pain when I take the stocking off (more intense pain than the stinging and stabbing), but by not wearing them, the sores on the leg are worse. Yes, I know it's gross.

My friends, you know that if I'm to the point that I'm taking the damn painkillers, it really hurts. Hell, the Darvocets were left over following the two day surgery marathon in March because I only took them for two days. I suck it up pretty good and withstand what I consider to be a high level of pain. (I never even filled the script from the second surgery.)

I tried getting an appointment with my vascular surgeon last week-the earliest with *my* doctor I could get is January 3rd. I kept calling and leaving voice mails, knowing that this might happen (the sleepless night) when the meds ran out. Finally, I got a call back that I could come in and see Dr. S on my day off. He's the one doctor (of the four) who is the young, arrogant jerk that gives surgeons a bad name.

Dr. S exudes the aura of "I know everything and you know nothing" that makes me boil. I can understand a degree of arrogance, but to think he knows more about me and my issues than I do is shortsighted. I can triage myself to any medical professional to the point that earns a modicum of respect. This is what happens when you've got a host of chronic issues.

The valve in the leg is to the point that it needs to be replaced-but there are only two doctors in the US doing the procedure and it is considered (last I heard) 'experimental'. The two senior doctors both have the same view-wait and see what the future holds. I've had no restrictions placed on me, other than the ban on exercise (walking, swimming and biking are the only things allowed). Dr. J (my regular doc) even has stated that working on my feet is the best thing to be doing-a desk job would slow down the already poor circulation in the leg.

My fear is that Dr. S will lecture me on what I already know (it's bad and getting worse), tell me that I can't work (not an option, and frankly, not one I'd consider anyway) and give me grief about taking painkillers in the first place. However, the way I see it is that I'm trying to go on with living and I'm not trying to cop out of working, or asking for a letter so that I can get SSDI.
I'm not even looking for major narcotics. I'm looking to identify the pain, figure out if it can be resolved and get something for the pain.

So, any ideas on how to get rid of this pain, short of having Ed pull an Annie Wilkes on my leg?


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