November 16th, 2008

MCU + Clint Colourful Shot Lined Up

Pain management doctor mismanages pain.

I recently had an appointment at a pain management clinic because my pain is heavily impacting my ability to function. Unfortunately, the doctor there was dismissive, barely did an exam, and cited my age as a reason to not treat my pain properly. I am young, but I also have a 23 (almost 24) year history of heart problems and an eight year history of pain. I've decided to write a letter to the clinical director about my experience while asking him/her to set up another diagnostic appointment for me with a different doctor. I could use some advice on it, since it's a bit long.

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The whole experience was pretty awful. I don't expect handholding, I've been to too many doctors to even want that, but I did expect professional, non-discriminatory services. Being young doesn't mean I have no pain, especially when I have two direct relatives -- my dad and my grandmother -- who developed arthiritis in their late 20s/early 30s, as well as nerve pain (same grandmother), migraines (paternal grandfather), and non-congenital heart issues (grandfather and father) that lead to chest angina (painful). The doctor completely ignored MY history, my FAMILY's history, and the words coming out of my mouth to made a snap decision based on the fact he didn't feel adequate narcotics to handle the pain were appropriate to give to a 23 year old. GRR.
shrubbery

Worst. Doctor. Ever.

Saeva's recent post motivated me to write this. I started having back trouble in 2005, and was eventually diagnosed with a herniated disc. The neurosurgeon wanted to shove needles in my spine or operate. I said no. I've done three rounds of physical therapy, and the last two were pretty intense (none of that stretching hoo-haa). My physical therapy doctor eventually referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. Well, they told me that I couldn't see him unless I actually needed surgery; I just wanted to explore more treatment options, and see how viable of an option surgery was. SO! I saw an orthopedist there and he was the worst doctor I've ever had.

He was late (my GP is almost always running late, but I know she's worth the wait). He didn't introduce himself or the student with him. He asked for my symptoms, then had student boy play "guess the spinal problem!" He proceeded to talk about me as though I wasn't there and touch me without telling me beforehand. He told me that P.T. is an absolutely inviable option (bullshit!), and that my only options are surgery and an epidural. I told him about my needle phobia and he acted like I hadn't said anything; apparently, I needed to take care of this problem so that I could have babies. Being childfree, I found that quite offensive.

He told me that I needed a new MRI because mine was almost a year old. OK, fine. I go talk to his nurse about scheduling it and I ask for an open MRI; I don't like the enclosed space of a regular MRI. What'd she say? "Well, you got through the first one just fine!" *twitch* I insisted, and she acted like I had asked her to cut off her eyelids or something.

Needless to say, I never went back. My third round of PT proved effective; it's been a year with significantly less pain. I have almost no sciatica *knocks wood*, though I still have some numbness. My back went out in March, and oh god was that awful. Muscle spasms, Flexaril, and Prednizone. It was the first time I've missed class because of my back; I literally could not move without being in agony.  Nothing would beat my sciatica into submission, which scared me; it's always at least <i>responded</i> to OTC NSAID's. Prednizone finally whipped it into shape. I'm terrified of feeling pain like that again. Gotta say, though, my back's been good lately.
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