Friday, June 22, 2007

We are nothing but a file!!

To continue my story from the last post, When my wife got me home, I was in horrible pain. After about 2 weeks of this my wife requested a meeting with the Doctor who performed the surgery. At first he told my wife that he just didn't believe that I was in that kind of pain. Finally, he decided that I should come back to the hospital for another CT scan. He said, after the test, that it looked liked a small piece of bone that had come loose during the surgery. So Guess what!! I had the same surgery all over again. I just thought I was in pain before. After about 2 weeks he refused to even take our calls. He did refer me to another surgeon, this time an orthopedic surgeon. At the time there was a turf battle going on between neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons about which speciality should be operating on the spine. That is one of, if not the main reason that the Spine Surgery Board was created. Today both groups are board certified spine surgeons.

The orthopedic surgeon looked at the test and kinda shook his head, looked a me and said, I don't understand why he didn't do a nerve decompression and then a fusion. Another opinion!!

What neither of them knew was that neither procedure would have worked because I had spinal cord nerve damage from the chymopapain injections and the other test they did. Hey believe it or not, at the time they were using contrast materials for mylograms that had "glycol ethylene" in them. In case you don't know what that is, it is the active ingrediant used in car antifreeze. So my life of unbearable pain would continue because that was 15 years ago. I am sitting here 25 years later wandering if I can even sit at this computer long enough to complete this post. However, that is not the worst part. There are several million people out there tonight living the same lives that I am living.

Monday, June 11, 2007

My continuing Saga with Chronic Pain

The Chymopapain injection, my first medical procedure as explained in earlier posts, sounded simple enough as explained to me. The problem was that it was largely unproven and the sugeron who performed the procedure had just completed the one day training course in Canada. I, of course didn't know this until later. Photos that my wife took of the procedure did not match up with the explanation that the operation physician gave me before the operation. Of course, it wasn't until several years later that I learned the real truth about Chymopapain. Go to my entry of "The tale of the floppy eared bunney" where noted Neurosurgeon Dr. Charles V. Burton's article explains.

When I woke up from the procedure I was in unbearable severe pain and that pain would continue for months, then the months turned into years. After about 5 years I started going to different Doctors looking for some other treatment or surgery that might help the pain. I got a variety of opinions, depending on whether the surgeon was a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon. Finally in 1991 I saw a neurosurgeon who said that I needed to have a laminectomy. At the time I had done very little research on the spine. Today there is no excuse for a patient not getting all of the information they need with the rapid growth of the internet. I don't care what your condition is, there is so much credible information out there, so DO YOUR RESEARCH!!

One of the things I learned early on, is that many Doctors understandably, do not want to clean up someone elses "mess". When I look back on the reason that I chose this particular Doctor, I think it was his personality. He assured me that a laminectomy would take care of my problems. At that time I didn't know exactly what a laminectomy was except what he told me. Armed with the information that I have today, I would have known that at the least it would not help my medical problems and the worst it would make them worse. Sure enough, it made them worse. I woke up from the surgery in absolute agony. Even though I kept asking for my doctor he, did not come by my room at all the first day. Finally on the second day my wife was very upset because my pain level was so high and the nurses would not increase my pain medication. She called the office of the doctor who had performed the surgery and was told he had left the day after my surgery for a 2 week vacation. I was furious and the next day I asked to be discharged from the hospital. The next year of my life I lived in pure hell. Had it not have been for a primary care physican I do not think I would have made it through that year. True story FOLKS!! Unfortunately, this wasn't the end of it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Some Doctors have a valid point about prescribing opiods

I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal earlier tonight about a Doctor who seemed sincere in his efforts to strike a balance between prescribing powerful drug medications that so many people desperately need to live in order to have a decent life. For Doctors like this one I can understand how frustrating it can be for the one's who want to sincerely help people like myself and at the same time not jepordize their careers. He is right in saying there is a balance that people like him have to take when prescribing opiods.

As an example he talked about a patient that called his office multiple times on a weekend and even resorting to calling his home and then trying to circumvent him to get the Doctor on call that weekend. This is an example of a patient who may or may not be faking their problems just to get access to highly addictive drugs. The thing that I really admired about this Dr. is he stated; this particular patient would have to seek treatment with an addiction medicine specialist before he would try to help them anymore. He also had several things to say about the pain management specialists who only want to do expensive steriod shots and physical thearpy, then send the patients back to primary care Doctors like him once they had used up all of the patients insurance that they would pay. These Doctors have a legitiate right to be angry. I have heard this story more than once from primary care Doctors. I understand their frusteration.

The thing that I admired most about this Doctor was that he wasn't giving up on his patients that he knew desperately needed these pain medications or opiods to even exist. In cases like this PATIENTS have a responsibility to not use their Doctor and appreciate the fact that he is trying to help them.

I have been going to the same Doctor for 15 years. I do not miss an appointment. I have been taking the same amount of medication for the past 5 years. I have not ask for increases in my medication. I have never lost a prescription and I corporate with him in any way that he asks. That is , I feel, my duty to him and it is the duty of everyone in chronic pain. DO NOT ABUSE YOUR DOCTORS TRUST!!!