I am so glad I made an appointment with my primary care doctor yesterday! I told her everything that was going on with my surgery, (she hadn’t gotten the most recent notes from my surgeon) and she reassured me that she will call him to check in and make it known that she handles my regular medical care and also to explain my pain relief regimen to him. I guess that was the biggest cause of my anxiety. My surgeon said he had never heard of the medication I am taking and that she prescribed and it scared me. My primary care doc told me that it is not unusual for surgeons not to know anything about pain medicine. This was news to me, I assumed they did. She said all they do is “cut and do” and handle the first 24hours of pain relief in the hospital. Their specialty is the surgery itself, beyond that, there will be a hospitalist and a pain management doctor from the surgeon’s practice that will prescribe whatever I go home taking. The appointment was so informative and reassuring and I am very glad that I scheduled to actually see her and not just try to talk on the phone. I have come to trust her so much that just being able to talk to her in person was enough to assuage my fears. I was crying when I first went into her office but by the time I left I was ok, smiling even. She assured me that she will see to it that I have “no pain” during my recovery. I wasn’t even sure if it was possible or even a reasonable expectation to be pain free after surgery but she told me that not only is it possible but it’s a necessity. How can I do the exercises I will need to do for rehabilitation if I am in pain? There is also the psychological aspect; my attitude will be a lot better in general if I am not in pain. If my attitude is positive then I will recover faster. I can’t believe the odyssey I have been on since I first injured my back. It amazes me how many doctors do not treat pain as a condition. I have even had doctors tell me that there was nothing else they could do for me because I was already taking the highest level pain relief there was (and I was taking 5mg vicodin which is by no means the highest level or even mid level pain relief). There was one doctor who told me that my MRI was normal so he had no idea why I was in pain and left it at that. Even I knew my MRI report in no way stated that it was normal, there was a whole list of highlighted items at the bottom. For years I watched my sister battle with long term pain as well, she went through all these same things as me. I wish I had understood more about it then but now that I have been in chronic pain, I completely understand her situation now.
My hope is that I am nearing the end of this painful journey. I am working with the assumption that once I heal and believe me I am going to work hard to heal well, I will have a pain free future! That’s my story and I am sticking to it!