Surgery Log 2013 – Jan 15 – Pain level off charts

January 15, 2013 – Tuesday

For some reason, my pain level on Sunday was off the charts. No matter what I did or took, I could not get it to abate. But by Monday, it felt a bit better, maybe because I took a Gabapentin for the nerve pain. However, that halfway decent feeling did not last. I saw the famous pain management doctor who proceeded to rattle off, in a very stiff and uncompassionate way, all my options. He didn’t even call me Marilyn—he called me Ma’am. He basically told me why nerve blocks, steroid injections, etc. will not work for the problems I have. He did, however, give me a prescription for Lyrica, a new drug for nerve pain and send me back to the original doctor who did my steroid injections. I took the drug last night and experienced dizziness (a side effect) until early this morning, but it seemed to lessen the nerve pain a bit. The dizziness wore off completely about an hour after I was up, so maybe that was not so bad. What amazed me was that there was a total lack of empathy on his part. What happened to the art of the bedside manner? I just don’t remember doctors being so aloof and distant when I was a child. Now you call the office and you NEVER get through to the actual doctor, just the nurse, who relays (supposedly) the message to the surgeon. Since my surgery 2 months ago, I have seen the surgeon exactly 1 time and that is it—pretty sad! I submitted a letter to the surgeon and the nurse (more for me to vent than anything) telling them how shocked I was with their determination that I was “work ready.” I sure don’t expect any kind of response at all and I am not even sure if the surgeon ever got the letter at all. But, I felt better. I had a massage today too but felt very mentally bad afterwards. The reason is that I just had to admit that I may never return to that line of work at all. I cannot ever see that happening because you have to be physically able and I am not at all. I also met someone I knew at the Y who is the epitome of physical fitness. She was aghast to see me meandering slowly with my cane out the door so she wanted the scoop. I told her my sad story and she said she has been advised to undergo spinal surgery due to constant pain in her legs and arms, etc. I said she should think long and hard about that because back surgery is really hit or miss. There is an alarmingly high percentage of failed back surgeries (Post-laminectomy syndrome) where the patient has no relief or is even worse off than before. I think I fall into the latter category. If I had known this I never would have had this surgery. Now I just have to try to find a way to get better, or at least accept this hand that God has dealt me.

Surgery Log 2013 – Jan 8th – Depression, rage, self-pity

Tuesday January 8, 2013

I actually was walking a bit better today. I really think it is more depressing when I go to a meeting. What usually happens is that I see multiple people who have had surgeries after mine and they are either recovered or on the right road. That just elicits so many emotions such as rage, self-pity, depression, jealousy, etc. Last night I came home in such an agitated and depressed state of mind that I don’t know how I got through the night. I woke up almost as bad, but as I always say, all it takes is just a smidgeon of hope, which I did get today. First of all I called the office who sends out the medical records, only to be told that they don’t even have a record of this request in their system yet; not good. But, he told me that this is probably due to it being New Years Eve when I put in the request. It probably didn’t even get sent to then until this week, which is only Tuesday, because they probably missed the pick up last week, etc. Bottom line, it is severely delayed due to the holiday and there is nothing I can do about that. He assured me that as soon as they get it in their system, the turnaround time is small. He estimated that the new doctor would not even receive it for at least 2 weeks. Then I called the new doctor and spoke with Katie, the scheduler—who actually remembered me. She had spoken to the doctor and he said he would be glad to see me. HOPE # 1 – maybe, just maybe he will find something. HOPE # 2 – I saw Kevin, the PT at Augusta Back and he still thinks I will get better (maybe not 100% but a lot) and that it will still take time. He is more like a psychotherapist than a PT but he just is so nice that I always leave there with a sense of hope! I am scheduled to see someone named Dr. Cable, a pain management specialist, and we’ll see what he does. The PT told me he was surprised that they dismissed me to go back to work on the 11th. He just sat there, shaking his head and said that the criteria they use to determine work readiness is not geared toward the individual but rather the average patient. That is so wrong because each case should be evaluated on an individual basis depending upon the occupation and the patient, not some average value that does not apply to everyone. I felt that they showed so little compassion and were just plain cruel. I am still in pain and off balance but a little better today, so we’ll see. In the meantime I saw my PC physician for some antidepressants because I am finding it hard to keep on keeping on in this world lately.