I have had spinal fusion from T8 to S2 (10 surgeries over a 7 year period) and have had both knees replaced (a year ago).
Leading up to the surgeries were 10 years of incorrect diagnoses, until I came across the surgeons who operated on Gloria Estefan (broken vetebra from a bus accident in 1990), and I received my first proper diagnosis, which led to my first spine fusion surgery.
Along the way, one of the surgical implants broke and pierced my spinal cord and I was hospitalized on and off over a six month period with bacterial meningitis.
For that 7 year period I was on morphine, as the level of pain at times could be extreme. I could not take fentanyl, as it is usually delivered via patch and I am allergic to latex and most surgical adhesives.
If you were to meet me, you would not pick up on any of this, as the only possible give away is that I look fatter than I really am, as some of my ribs on the left side were removed (bone is used to augment spine fusion) and my left side protrudes out about 10 inches.
I have taught myself how to walk, speak, and write again. I can not sleep in a bed. Every day involves a conversation with myself about how I am going to put one more day in the record books.
I tell my story for only one reason ... what my journey has taught me is to never comment or speculate about the pain that anyone feels, because I don't know what pain level he or she may be at and what their coping skills are.
Without coming off as preachy, Tom Petty deserves that consideration, as well. So accidental or not, better off or not, it is a conversation that he has with his maker.
I feel for his family and friends and all those dependent on him, because it has most likely not been a fun journey.
And please, no comments about my journey. It is a personal one and I chose to share about it only to make a point.