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01/31/12

In response to Maggie S, I had a total knee replacement and it was the most painful procedure and recovery I could imagine. I needed a pain killer (Percocet) for almost six months, which my orthopedist prescribed. I never abused it, never took more than was prescribed, and never asked for early refills. When it was time to stop taking it, i.e., when my pain was manageable without a pain med, I stopped taking it. Just like that. No addiction, no abuse, no problem.

6 months is longer than it takes to recover from most orthopedic surgeries, but it is not unique. I am so grateful that my doctor trusted me, did not go by a cookbook guide about how long "most" people take, and did not insist that I just "deal with my pain," as some people suggested.

Doctors have the great privilege of being capable of relieving peoples' pain; with this goes great responsibility. But to say that everyone who takes an opiate for a week or longer is addicted is absolutely ludicrous, and thankfully at least some doctors have the sense to know better.

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