This is a continuation of a previous post. I left off with three surgeries and no relief to my pain. Before I go into my adventures with pain management doctors, I’m going to write about what was happening in my life, with my family, during this time.
In 2000, when I had the rib resection surgery for TOS, I was out on medical leave from work for six months. That was the estimated recovery time. I never went back to work. I am 100% disabled by my pain. I had to get an attorney, have a hearing with a judge and an ergonomic specialist to determine that there is no job that I can do. That actually comes much later in the journey, the important thing here is that for the first time since age 15, I didn’t have a job.
Since I wasn’t working away from home, I figured my duty was to focus my energy into being a perfect wife and mother. Not that I wasn’t a good wife and mother before, but I had to do better, because I didn’t have a job. My issues with never being good enough and unreasonable expectations for myself really show through, huh?!
The day after I came out of the hospital from having my first rib removed, my younger daughter had her first seizure. It was Christmas eve and we were at my mother’s house. Older daughter was playing a video game in the back bedroom and younger daughter was watching. Older was 12 and younger was 6. It was a petit mal seizure but she was unable to speak afterward, so we all went to the emergency room. While there she was observed and started talking again. Referrals to neurology were made and we went home to have Christmas.
She was diagnosed with epilepsy and started on medication. Older daughter was going through all the trials and tribulations of a middle school girl, younger was epileptic, my arm didn’t work for three months and I was in constant pain and my husband was starting to have relapses with alcohol…after 8 years of sobriety. Life was one huge stressful mess.
So, that’s what was going on at home while I was trying to deal with my pain and be Suzy Homemaker at the same time. Enter my first referral to a pain management doctor.
I’d been taking Vicodin and Soma for a couple years at this point and I was sick from the acetaminophen in the Vicodin because I was taking 8-10 a day. Plus, they weren’t working that great anymore. I wanted a more intensive physical therapy regime with massage. I had had some success after my first surgery with full body exercise boosting my endorphins to lower my pain. When I spoke to the first Pain Management doctor about wanting to try this and maybe a different medication, he was all for it. He had taken my history, done an exam and diagnosed fibromyalgia. He gave me a prescription for oxycontin and wrote a referral for the physical therapy.
This is when the Work Comp insurance company really started to mess with me. Before, it was normal insurance crap…delays, more paperwork needed…that kind of stuff. Now, they were flat out denying things, delaying everything and sending me for second opinions from their doctors. My first Pain Management doctor was left with nothing except his prescription pad to help me. Oxycontin was the wonder drug of the time and my dosage slowly went up and up and up. I was up to eight 80mg tablet a day. 640mg of oxycodone…daily.
My husband was taking my pills because he’s an alcoholic and an addict and that’s what addicts do, they use. I would run short and spend a few days in withdrawl. At 640mg a day, it was a very serious withdrawl. Then I’d get my next prescription and promises from my husband and we’d all try to live life. It was a horrible, horrible time.
My mental health was rotten, my physical health was getting worse. My life was a mess! Then my doctor tells me that the insurance company changed their provider list and he’s not covered anymore. I’ll have to go to a different doctor.
My attorney set up an appointment for me because I had no idea where to go, and I was in no shape mentally to deal with this new crisis. My husband was out of control, very violent when he drank. My daughters were living in hell with my downspiral with pain and medication, and their father as Dr Jeckyl when sober and Mr Hyde when not. We’re up to about 2003-2004 I think. Anyway, a new pain doc.
Enter Dr Jerkface. This doctor told me on our first visit that I didn’t suffer from chronic pain, my problem was drug addiction and he was going to refer me to an addiction specialist.
And, I think I’m going to have to end here. This story is a lot longer than I realized and there’s so much I’m not even including. So, to be continued soon…