Pain in the Ask

I have chronic pain. Some days are worse than others. I work hard on my recovery and sometimes I over do it and only a strong pain killer gives me relief. When I asked my Pain Management and Rehab doctor for a refill of my meds, he flat out refused. I waited a couple of days before I emailed Dr. K in order to avoid calling him an egotistic, arrogant, jerk-face (I’m keeping it PC 🙂
Last Monday, November 6, I went to Dr. K my PM&R doctor. It was a scheduled visit to get my Baclofen pump adjusted and get Botox shots for my arm. Dr. K was condescending from the get go. I told him about my frustration with the pump. He tells me, “It could always be removed”. The removal process is a major surgical procedure. As was the installation. He didn’t care to discuss what my frustration was nor did he suggest what could be done for improvement. Having had the pump for a year, I mentioned that I hoped that the pump would be effective enough that I would have been able to run a marathon by this time. I think the eye roll he tried to hide almost broke him. He was so incredibly dismissive.
He adjusted the pump and when I asked what the dose was, he just said “I increased it by 10%”. Thanks pal, you couldn’t have given me an actual dose? It felt as though he didn’t want to be there.
When I asked for the medication refill, he gave me this explanation “ Narcotic or opiate pain medication could alter pain receptors in the brain when taken on a regular basis.” He also said that “people tend to misuse them”. He suggested instead to increase another medication I am currently taking. Why would I want to increase my meds on a daily basis, if I only need to take a pain medicine once in a while? I was so upset when I left his office that day.
I was upset because Dr. K didn’t even look at my chart, had he done that he would see that the last time I filled my script was back in June. He made a generalization about me based on my request. I sent him an email a few days after my visit. I had to calm down, gather my thoughts and figure out what I wanted to say. In my email, told him I felt that he incorrectly assumed i will be abusing my meds, I have tried over the counter medicines and they have not helped. Pain increases my blood pressure – the cause of the stroke.
His reply included a blurb about opiates are not helpful long term for chronic pain. I felt once again that he completely ignored what I said. He recommended pain management courses and chronic pain support groups.
I am upset because I feel like I am begging for a better quality of life. I cannot prove or disprove the doctor’s perception that chronic pain sufferers have a tendency to abuse pain pills.
I understand what he is trying to do. There is a huge opioid addiction happening in the U.S right now and doctors are understandably cautious. He is protecting me from what could be a horrible addiction and he is also protecting himself.
In the meantime, people like me who suffer chronic pain are left to well…suffer. In the spirit of advocating for myself, I sent the email. I do not plan on using breathing exercises when I could hardly breath due to pain.I use alternate therapies, but sometimes only pain medication helps. I am in the process of looking for a different doctor. This recovery process is going to be a long road and I need people who are willing to support me along the way.

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Bernadette

I am a 45 year old wife and mother. My husband of 20 years and I are in charge of shaping and moulding the lives of two young men who are now 18 & 14. Two years ago, our idyllic life was thrown into a loop when I had a hemorrhagic stroke. I now have to deal with a disability that I am working to rehabilitate. It has been a long, tough road but my family and I trekking it together.

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