The very last thing Morgan Stickney remembers from earlier than her decrease leg was amputated is lying on a hospital gurney ready for the anesthesia to take maintain. With a debilitating worry racing by her thoughts, she requested her surgeon to carry her hand. They talked about swimming until she handed out. “It’s the final second I had with two legs,” she mentioned. “I used to be within the pool, probably the most comfortable place for me.”
Five years earlier, Stickney had goals of turning into an Olympian. At 15, she ranked within the high 20 nationally within the mile, a freestyle occasion, and was a rising star out of Bedford, N.H. However by the point, she was wheeled into surgical procedure final Could, her Olympic dream had long since vanished. Comparatively minor foot harm in 2013 had dragged her down a rabbit gap of five surgical procedures, quite a few examinations and many theories, none of which relieved — and even defined — the fixed, intense ache that left her unable to stroll by the day after which, cruelly, stabbed her awake at evening.
The one options supplied by too many shrugging docs had been the prescription painkillers that, Stickney and her household knew, have been turning an as soon as a cheerful teenager right into a dreary, opioid-dependent 20-12 months-outdated pushing herself around her faculty campus on a kneeling scooter.