Posted 4/16/2008 8:41 PM (GMT -6)
I've been very blessed since I switched primary doctors in finding a PCP that actually cares about the amount of pain I'm in. My current PCP actually tries to be proactive about the pain and has no problem helping me in any way that she can. She referred me to one pain doctor that only specialized in shots - so after several painful rounds of steroid injections/trigger point injections/nerve blocks, I finally told her it wasn't working, so she called him and told him I wasn't going to be seeing him anymore.
Well she referred me to another pain doctor who I waited three months to get in with - only to have them call the week before my appointment to tell me that they were no longer seeing new patients. ***? Yeah... so she referred me to yet another...
I was referred to the Integrative Pain Center of Arizona. I actually feel like this guy gets it. Not only is he a doctor specializing in pain, but he's a neurologist as well. The entire experience was great. I signed in, finished a few things, then sat down. When called back the nurse for my doctor came and brought me back. She was great - very friendly. She let me know that every time I call them - she's who I'm going to talk to or leave a message for. She said she relays everything necessary to my doctor - but she's who I go through. She was great - I didn't feel that she was just shoving me through as a number, but that I was a person.
The doctor comes in and introduces himself, and he brings in a lady with him. When she entered I'm thinking she's an intern, nope. They have a pharmacist on staff, who comes in with the pain doctors to listen in, and give advice, answer questions about medications. That way if there might be a problem, or a kink, they know just how to handle it.
The doctor gave me back my CT Films, and did a quick exam. He asked a few questions - and then asked me why I allowed myself to suffer every single day. I'm caught way off guard. He told me that given the look of my spine, there was no way the medication I was taking was helping as much as I deserved. He asked some more questions... a little bit more discussion and he tells me he would like to get me on a more weight loss surgery friendly medication. He switched me from MS Contin 30 mg to Kadian 50mg, he said it was a strong dosage - but pretty much the same thing just in a form that should do better in my system. He informed me that he wasn't going to force me to run the laps of pain treatment as I'd already been through a bunch of failed things. (This in itself was great, as I can't afford to go through physical therapy, and shots all over again just to be in the same pain). He said that given my history, he felt that there was not point in forcing me to jump through hoops to end up at the same spot. He changed me from soma to something else (not sure the name, and in too much pain to look). He also answered my questions. He told me he definitely would not be able to make me "pain free" he said it just wasn't possible in my case. He did tell me his hopes were to get my average pain below a 5. He is referring me to a shrink of some type... basically one that specializes in chronic pain. He said that I have to learn how to accept that I am in pain, and to not over do things just because I need to - which is something I've been told a million times, he also told me that I didn't need to be superwoman anymore.
A few other things he did that surprised me - he wants to see me back in six weeks - but he wrote out TWO scripts for the Kadian (narcotic pain med) both were dated today, but on wrote that it was for May 14th to June 12th. He said he didn't see the point in forcing me to come back in a month just to pick it up. He also told me he was not asking me to sign a pain contract with him yet - his job is to find a treatment plan that works for ME, he then discusses this with my primary care doctor - if my primary care doctor will, he passes me back to her for pain medications. If she won't - then I sign a pain contract with him, and my scripts will be automatically pulled up every 28 days, for me to pick up. I guess they do that normally in 3 month sets so that you don't have to make a visit every month just to pick up scripts. They do charge 20 dollars for a visit that is only to pick up prescriptions - but that beats a whole doctor visit just to get the medication. They also made me do a pee test for drugs before they would give me the scripts - this was the hard part as I have a very shy bladder. I basically was there for an extra hour and a half just drinking water to try to pee in the cup. The nurse told me that it's a random thing - but always with new patients so they can make sure they aren't using anything other than what they are prescribed.
Overall I was very pleased. It was great to get a doctor who took ME into consideration - but one who wasn't going to force me to jump through hoops that I've already jumped through. I like that they aren't insisting that I ONLY see them for pain help - he said his goal it to find me a plan that works, and then send me to my doctor to continue the plan. He said he gets to help more patients that way.
The main thing I liked was that I didn't feel I was wasting his time, and that he didn't make me ask him to help me feel better - he told me he was going to. He didn't make any big promises, or feed me any lies. He told me what he wanted to do for me, and said he'd do the best job he could.
Anyways - I just wanted to share the visit - I was scared to death it would be another "I can't help you" but this guy actually sounds like he's going to try darn hard to help me feel better. :)