pain medications are necessary in the immediate timeframe after surgery because of the acute pain from the surgery. Most surgical pain decreases very quickly, within 1 to 2 weeks, though some can last longer. After about 3 months, the pain can no longer be considered "post-operative" pain and is considered chronic pain
Chronic pain is physiologically different from acute pain. There is a growing body of knowledge, but it is still poorly understood. Once a patient is in chronic pain, most surgeons do not feel comfortable managing it, though some will continue to prescribe narcotics out of a sense of obligation, having done the surgery.
There is a very large problem in this country of prescription narcotic abuse, overdose
, and death. In fact, for certain age groups, more people die of prescription drug overdoses than from car accidents. A number of people will fake symptoms to get prescriptions which they then sell to others. The clean urine
sample was likely interpreted as her getting a prescription that she was not taking herself.
I am not a toxicologist and i don't know how long the medication she was taking should last in her urine. I also do not know if she was on a pain contract. Any violation of a pain contract is grounds for termination of all narcotic prescriptions and often dismissal from the clinic. The surgeon may have felt that if she was taking the pills only intermittently, she should have used fewer pills.
Unfortunately, in the interest of preventing abuse, people with legitimate pain are made to feel like they are addicts. Until we have a better understanding of pain and better drugs to manage it, we will continue to wrestle with these problems.
I hope you can find a physician to help your wife with these issues.