Hi Bakerman and Welcome to Healing Well Chronic Pain Forum. From reading your post I think your life has kind of parallel to my own. I to am divorced after a very long marriage (35 years) and have two daughters and a couple of grandkids. And have had four spinal surgeries, ( three in my neck and one my lumbar spine) Anyway I had been on oral pain meds for well over fifteen years, and a year and a half ago I moved to a state that it is very difficult to find a PM that will prescribe oral pain medications. So I went the Pain Pump route, and for the most part it works very very well! I got mine implanted at the University of Indiana in Indy last June. I go back there every six months to get it refilled. My last refill was last December, and it was a piece of cake, took only about
fifteen minutes and I thought it was relatively painless procedure! I will tell you everyone experiences things differently, my pump is noticeable and does bulge out a bit! The one thing I notice most about
it, is if I bump into anything (such as the top edge of the back of the couch or recliner) and it bumps in to the pump or the pump area, it will definitely let me know!! To me it hurts like the dickens!! But that is about
the only thing bad that I have to say about
it. I think allot of it depends on how deeply the surgeon implants the pump and the exact
location! As for the catheter leaving the pump and going around into the spine, I have had no problems and don't even know that it is there!
When you get your pump implanted you will need to have a driver with you to drive you home and have somebody close by, to be with you for the rest of that day! It is about
the same as any out patient surgery or procedure where they sedate you! One thing to consider, the pain pump will only help relieve the pain that is generated from the local area where the catheter is implanted. I have lots of lower back pain and sciatica pain going down my hip and back of my legs. The pump does a great job at relieving this pain. Pain in my neck and generating from my cervical spine, well the pain pump does nothing for this! So if you have allot of pain coming from multiple areas of your spine, you might want to talk with your doctor about
the coverage you will get from having the pain pump. But if your pain is coming from a relatively isolated area of your spine the pump should do fine! The pump will not totally relieve all of your pain all the time, however it can effectively control your pain to a manageable and even a possibly comfortable level!
I am happy that I got mine and wish I would have gotten it years sooner! I also have the PTM that Straydog mentioned, it is a little device about
the size of a small cell phone, and it is preprogramed by your doctor. My PTM is set up so I can give myself up to ten bolus's in a twenty four hour period, but they cannot be given any sooner than two hours apart. You just put the device on top of your implanted pain pump and press a couple of buttons on the PTM and it will light up an indicator light and make a beeping sound and show you on the digit screen if it gave you the bolus. ( If it doesn't give you a bolus, it will tell you how long you have to wait before you can try it again!) I know a couple of times, I would try and give my self a bolus, and it would give a low beeping sound and would tell me on the screen that I have two or three minutes yet before I can have another bolus. Also you do not need to put the PTM right on your skin, it can be placed on your clothing, ( shirt, or other clothing as long as it is not to thick, such as a coat or something) and it is place directly on top of the pump.
I think the nice thing about
the pump is ( at least for me) since the medication is put directly into the spinal canal, and does not go to any other place, it not only takes allot less medication but I also don't feel any of the side affects of the medication. Some oral pain medications will give your a loopy feeling or make you sleepy or tired? I have not experience any of that with having this pump! It just relieves the pain in the region that it is being generated!
One more thing, I just had a total right knee replacement done this past December, and I had to go back on to oral pain medications to control my knee pain. This pain pump does nothing for the pain of this type of surgery. My PM even wrote a letter to my surgeon letting the surgeon know that this pump I have will not do any thing for pain from this surgery and I would need normal pain treatment for this procedure. ( My PM total me that some doctors mistakenly think that this implanted pain pump will handle just about
all types of pain including from surgery, and it will not!) So this is just something to be aware of if you have future surgeries.
Good Luck to YOU and I wish you all the best!
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.
Post Edited (White Beard) : 4/29/2015 5:07:28 PM (GMT-6)