Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On Chronic Pain

I haven’t talked a whole lot about this because when I choose to moan and groan I prefer it be in regards to grander issues that perhaps citizens as a whole can help to deter through “people power.”

I’ve been in constant, yet varying amounts of pain since my back surgery in September. I have had week(s) where I felt my pain was improving followed closely by weeks where my pain became yet again a personal adversary. I’ve seen my pain medication dosages titrate up, titrate down, then back up again. And on occasion, I’ve felt desperate and helpless enough to cry.

Yesterday was a big day for me. Two weeks ago I decided that I needed to transfer the care of my medication management for pain to my primary physician (rather than my surgeon.) I also decided to call a local interventional pain management clinic (which helped me years ago with a neck injury) and seek care there as well. I saw both yesterday. I saw my primary physician first. He changed my medication regimen slightly, hoping to help me better control my pain. We discontinued alleve and ultracet and began ultram, supplementing with Tylenol as needed. Later that day I saw my pain management physician who began with recommending another MRI to help determine what type of pain I am having (bone, disc, or muscular.) When this is determined he can help to recommend different types interventional therapies to treat my pain. Lastly I scheduled an appointment with the doctor I began with before surgery from the Physicians Neck & Back Clinic. This clinic specializes in especially intensive physical therapy (pain is a part of their game.)

My pain frustration is high, and some days I believe that this pain is forever. When I feel like this I also want to cry. Because of my history of addiction to narcotic analgesics, I am being very careful. I am avoiding narcotic pain medications at some personal expense, which is increased pain. I can’t constantly be on narcotics, regardless of my pain level. The tramadol is a good solution to my pain without the nasty side effects, but even that can make me tired and can decrease my ability to focus. There is no even ground with chronic pain.

Oftentimes I find myself wondering, would I take my surgery back to have less pain and need a cane? Or would I rather be walking care-free but unable to sit or stand comfortably because of my pain?

There is no answer. No answer at all.


Scott K. Johnson said...

Major suckage Sarah! Sorry to hear about that.

Sounds like you are between a rock and a hard place with all that now, but hopefully these new players in your care team will find a solution that works well for you.

Anonymous said...

Scott - you are dealing with some really tough, hard issues. I wish you all the best in your treatment and life. I do not suffer from Chronic Pain myself, but I am very interested in Comprehensive Pain Programs as a solution to the status-quo for many of those currently suffering needlessly. I just wrote a post about this - would love to hear your opinion: