After living with chronic pain for twenty plus years, I had become increasingly doubtful of anyone who said they could help resolve it. Add to that the horror stories I had heard coming out of pain management clinics for years.
To me, they were the shady doctors in strip malls, pill pushers, and an absolute last resort.
Some months back I surprised myself when I agreed to go. My rheumy was insistent that they’d have better ways of treating my pain, leaving me with fewer highs and lows of Percocet and Tramadol.
My first visit landed me on extended release Morphine. I was fearful of the weightiness of the drug “Morphine” – that’s only reserved for patients in a really tough spot. Oh… Right.
I was perturbed as the doctor put me on a short leash of a fourteen-day pill supply insuring I’d be back to see him or risk ugly withdrawals. Doesn’t he know I have better things to do besides adding more repeated appointments to my list?
As my visits passed, it became increasingly apparent that I was not a number. This doctor genuinely wanted me in less pain. He would arrive to my appointments with typed up and highlighted notes, having combed through my other visits within the hospital, asking how he could help all of my pain.
If I came in complaining of my back, he’d come up with a plan for that, then ask about my headaches. I never brought up my migraines to him once, but he always asked, having taken the time to read my entire chart and try to understand the whole picture. This idea was so foreign to me that I had to re-adjust my approach as a patient.
No longer did I have to prioritize the details I had deemed important enough for my precious ten to fifteen minutes with my doctor. Instead we could talk through quality of life, and try to improve it – together.
The repeated appointments were put in place not to make my life more tedious, but to provide him a clearer picture of the ebb and flow of my pain, and give him a chance to fine tune my treatment.
After months of being heard, and my pain properly controlled via injections, pills, braces, and treatment plans, my mental health is stronger than ever.
Even as a chronic patient with a good grasp on the medical system, it’s important not to be clouded by pre-conceived notions. Whether that be towards Western or Easter medicine, diet and exercise, or a new kind of treatment plan.
When it comes to treating pain, we need to remember to trust those around us enough to let them in and help us.
Britt aka The Hurt Blogger