Discovering Hemp & CBD
It isn’t just a product that we produce. It is a deeply integrated part of our lives.
Our journey with hemp began many years ago with Whitney’s fascination for natural remedies. She has forever prepared herbal remedies with items from her expansive garden. But pain management became a much larger issue one evening seven years ago.
I was halfway down a ladder that was perched against a frozen gutter. The ladder slipped and I fell, snapping my leg upon touchdown. But this isn’t a simple broken bone story.
More embarrassed than hurt, I made my way to the ER. The overworked on call surgeon had been at it all day. He needed rest, so we postponed surgery to the following day.
Things go Wrong.
The procedure went as planned. I gained some new stainless accessories. No drama. However, things became complicated in the recovery room. As anesthesia wore off I was in terrible pain. Much worse than before surgery. Much worse than any other surgical trauma. It was well beyond normal.
Hospitals in 2013 responded to pain with their weapon of choice – opioids. So that’s what I got, and many of them. Opioids are great for numbing you to the point that yes, I feel pain, but my brain is too squishy to worry about it.
All evening and all night I was gorked out of my mind, slipping in and out of consciousness. I was either knocked out or in agony. Periodically I would forget to breathe and come awake, gasping for air. And my calf had swollen to the size of my waist.
Before daylight a young surgeon appeared, saw my leg and called reinforcements. Doctors performed an emergency fasciotomy, opening it from knee to toes on both sides, allowing it to swell.
Afterwards, we learned that a complication called Compartment Syndrome had manifested during or after surgery. Compartment syndrome is where blood fills the muscle compartments, building such high pressure that no more blood can get in.
Without blood, things start to die. Which is painful. Capital “P” Painful. Worse than anything I could have ever imagined. Even with a smorgasbord of opioids.
A portion of the muscles in my leg had died overnight due to the lack of blood flow. To ease the pressure and allow easy access, doctors left the fasciotomy incisions open. They weaved surgical twine through holes in my skin on either side. For two weeks vampire pumps methodically sucked fluid from the incisions. Every few days they’d go back in to remove more dead muscle.
My leg looked like an oversized football, complete with laces. It was disgusting… even to me.
I had always been healthy and fit: learning sports quickly, injuries healing quickly. But not this time. In four OR visits over 12 days, we had multiple surgeries to remove dead muscle. By the fourth they had removed all of the muscle I needed to lift my foot.
That may not sound like too much, but it is how you walk. If you can’t lift your foot, you can’t walk.
You can’t run.
You can’t ski.
Or chase your grandkids.
Or even go up stairs.
You need specialized braces and shoes and patience.
Everything Changes. New Reality.
I left the hospital on Christmas day with less leg and a paper sack filled with opioids. There was fast acting, timed release, neuropathy targeting, whatever. My family created a spreadsheet to track which and what I needed to take at which hour. It was a ridiculous armory of multicolor pills, mostly opioids with some neurological stuff like Gabapentin, Neurontin and Lyrica. It left me like rubber. Zombied and drooling. I only knew they were working when my head felt heavy.
That might work short term, but chronic drooling is not a viable, long-term option. My wife insists it is not a good look.
During recovery friends brought gifts to make me feel better, bringing books, drink concoctions, and a fair bit of recently legalized weed. One day, my son brought a small white jar of premium quality CBD cream. We had heard of CBD but had no experience.
Candidly, I was skeptical. I believed that MMJ and CBD were medical excuses to use recreational drugs. It sat unused for a few weeks, almost forgotten.
After a particularly rough day, I’d had enough. This was ridiculous. Time for alternatives. Enter: the little white jar.
Stay tuned for part 2 – Recovery and Discovery.