After reading posts, and especially after the treatment I received last night in the ER... I realized I there's been a kink in the care and it is more bureaucratic than medical.
Chronic pain is problematic and confusing enough but what has made this more complicated is Worker's Compensation. You see, so far all my spine problems stemmed from a job injury which at first the company refused to take responsibility for so I had to use the welfare hospital. Eventually I won my case and my care was moved to private practice where the third surgery was done by a esteemed surgeon and the chronic pain is managed. They do not and can not respond to any other problem areas, dispense drugs, tests etc unless it is directly related to my case. Fours years later of so much to deal with, it seems like the spine is wearing out. Right now, the company is paying my cervical related bills but we are still fighting for them to pay for the long term disability they owe me. I did win and yet the check does not come. Money is very tight to put it mildly. So with the new problem in the lower spine needing to be imaged, diagnosed, treated etc. how does one go about finding and paying for all this? While I searched for answers I also hoped and prayed that the pain would just magically go away.
It did not. I could not take it anymore. I went to the ER last night. I walked in at seven pm. I was seen at seven am this morning, twelve hours later. The doc spent two minutes tops with me I think. I was treated rather cold, with indifference and maybe one could even describe it as hostile? He asked me point blank why are you here after all the other nurses who had checked me in had asked the same questions and taken down notes. I had replied that after three months of unrelenting pain, I couldn't take it anymore, and was worried about my right leg. I also remarked that it astounded me with all the heavy meds I am on, how could the pain be so unrelenting and that had me worried. He then replied that I was on all the drugs one could possible take and had doctors caring for my chronic pain, so again he asked me why was I there?
I wanted to throw something at him. But I didn't. I calmly explained that my other wonderful doctors hands are tied with invisible ropes, that by law, keep them from performing healing measures on any area of the spine other than the levels specified by the worker's comp case. So, if I need medical care than I will have to pay out of pocket, but because I have no medical coverage other than the one at this hospital than I am at the mercy of this ER for a referral. I also explained that I had already first tried to take care of the problem two weeks ago at their day clinic, where I sat for hours, waiting to get a standard x-ray (which showed nothing) but was told that if it got worse to come back. So I here I am doc, sweating pain bullets but don't know the cause... still. waiting... got referral?
The hospital will not send to a specialty clinic unless your referred. Getting it is next to impossible but I finally got it.
I can see that chronic pain creates little patience in doctors, drains the medical system of finances, and provides little hope to those patients who do not have deep pockets.