About every 6 weeks I can tell my shots have worn off; while they provide no substantial relief, they make it a little better. Add 2 weeks to that and by the time this morning rolled around I was practically giddy knowing that while the pain relief would be minimal; I’d be able to at least use my right hip to walk.
I noticed Tuesday or Wednesday night while getting in bed that my right calf, ankle and foot were swollen. Don’t tend to retain fluids or swell up so this is unusual. I attributed it to the fact that the nerves have been so bad that my leg has been numb and shooting pain has been preventing me from even sitting comfortably.
First appointment of the day. Hadn’t even sat down in the exam room when he came in, chipper as ever. He realized the pharmacy gave me the wrong formulation of the last medication he prescribed me. I told him that for 3 or 4 days the relief was perfect, nothing had ever worked better. Then it just stopped cold.
“That’s not normal” he said.
Gee, doc ya think?
He launched into a speech about how tolerance to medications builds over years, not days. Well, duh. And if it was a good medication for me the relief would have maintained. Uhm. I tried to explain how I hypermetabolize certain things. For instance, alcohol. I can have a few drinks and get DRUNK fast. But the moment I stop drinking I’m practically stone cold sober within 30 minutes. This is not an exaggeration, and anyone I’ve been to happy hour with will tell you that’s how it is with me.
“I think the relief was in your head because there’s no reason for it to stop. You wouldn’t build a tolerance that fast; you’d just not get any relief at all so it was probably you thinking it would work.”
What? At that moment I could feel tears starting. I was flushed hot with humiliation. Before I could say anything he flips to the results from my knee x-ray and sure, not a surprise but they’re in his word ‘gone’.
“Probably because of your weight.”
Here’s another theory for you: PROBABLY NOT. Ok fine, yes I’ve always been a fat ass and even though my weight has dropped considerably and I kept it off, I’m still overweight. Fine. How about this theory: had I been properly diagnosed oh I don’t know even 3 years ago when I began complaining about HIP PAIN that I wouldn’t have been limping so heavily and putting extra strain on the opposite knee from the hip. See, that actually makes sense.
And then…a flood of tears, I couldn’t even try to hold it back. Then he starts discussing treatment and that really the only option is to have my hips and knee replaced. “Nothing is going to give you pain relief, or probably even put a dent in your pain because you have too many chronic issues to address. Spine, hips, knees.”
Cry some more
Then he tells me “have you been going to church? I think church would help with your pain, would give you some peace of mind.”
“Thanks, I don’t really need a reminder of my Catholic guilt that I haven’t been going”
While I’m sitting there suddenly wanting to jump out the window to escape he goes on to say that the assorted shots in assorted places don’t give me much relief. Uhhh they do give some and enable me to walk. Then he offers to give me one in my knee and I told him I needed it in my hip. “I need to be able to walk”
“You need to stop putting off surgery and just get them replaced.”
More crying. He gives me some tissues. And he’s not saying any of this rudely but it doesn’t matter, I hear the words, not the tone. Shit, I’m crying now. I explain ONCE AGAIN like I do at every damn appointment that I am waiting until I have saved up enough leave. I can’t just do it with not enough leave. I have to be able to be home and have leave for doctors appointment followups, physical therapy. And God forbid something happen and I need more time. I am not afraid of surgery or having them replaced. I am afraid of not having enough slack in case something goes wrong. Shit happens.
In our last appointment he told me all he can do now is try to make my quality of life better and get me through until I get my hips replaced. Of course now I’m looking at knee replacement too. There is no way around it.
Then he tells me that since what he last prescribed didn’t work that he wasn’t really willing to go much higher. Even the manufacturer suggests a 10mg jump. He’s willing to go 5. I have no desire to be drugged out, I don’t. Too many people rely on me. Too much is going on. But I know there is something that falls in line to work with my patch that can help.
“Since that didn’t work and you don’t get substantial results from your patch maybe we should just take you off everything”
I am certain my face assumed an expression of horror because he quickly replied telling me if they’re not helping there’s no need to be on them.
My patch is formulated in a way that it’s not like a regular narcotic. Good, right? It can make my average pain an 8. I’d rather have an 8 than a 10. It’s not much but it is something. Fuck. I just realized he didn’t give me a prescription for my muscle relaxer which I need because my groin and hip flexor are permanently tight from trying to support my hips. Great.
More crying. He leaves the office to get something, comes back. Talks about a condition I might have and how there’s a specific shot he can give me we haven’t tried before (or according to my records hasn’t been done). I don’t care. At this point if it will make it so I don’t feel like Freddy Krueger is shoving his knife fingers into my ass I will do it. Finally he’s asking me what I want. “I this point I can’t make any decisions. You’re the doctor. You decide.”
Oh and I told him about my swollen ankle and foot and he said I have to see my General Practitioner. Uhm, don’t you think it might be from my hip? Jackass. (Sidenote: while waiting in the lobby so I didn’t pass out as required by him I googled the swelling thing. I’ve decided it’s from taking motrin, which I’ve been taking to help with the arthritis inflammation and pain. So now, I’ll back off that. Oh I should add…enough arthritis in my knee AND hip for you to practically flinch when you discuss it and you don’t think I need an anti-inflammatory? Seriously? Oh sure the swollen knee is nothing.
I firmly believe prescription naproxen is better than OTC just like prescription motrin is better than OTC. There’s something about taking multiple pills versus 1 to equal the same dose. It does not work the same.
In the end I got the new shot which hasn’t helped yet but I remain hopeful. He prescribed a new nerve medication, which apparently is a new formulation of a nerve medication I already have and I don’t know HOW it can help. And any time he gives me something that has a ‘savings card’ attached I know it’s going to be just lovely. $$$ that’s what that means. He re-precribed my patch. And I go back in 2 weeks so he can do a nerve block if the shot didn’t help. I did get to see what arthritis looks like. As soon as I was under the X-ray and he was in the room he said “oooh that’s nasty”
I should add he is saying this while standing over my bare ass with a needle full of lidocaine. “Excuse me?”
“The arthritis in your hip, man that’s bad.”
So I turn and ask him to show me and I saw. Wow. It is horrendous and I start crying again. I left mascara and purple eye shadow on the sheet on the table.
The one thing he can do like a beast is give a shot so it is mildly uncomfortable but not painful like previous have been. And while he’s doing this he’s talking about how well qualified he is and how many certifications he has and that he knows what he’s doing.
Goody for me
I left, sat in the lobby feeling like I had to vomit but that I am sure, was nerves. The receptionist asked if I was nauseous or weak and I lied and said no. I had to use the bathroom and I had 6 minutes left on my meter outside. Oh and when I looked at my appointment card I realized he’s not even the same kind of doctors as previous, he’s a Doctor of Osteopathy, not a physiatrist or anesthesiologist (they are heavily what pain doctors are specialized in). He doesn’t have any idea.
Went to the bathroom, dapped up my eyes as much as possible then went ahead and went to the pharmacy to drop off my prescriptions. Big shocker they had to order them. Which was fine. I picked up some facewash cloths and candy because nothing says ‘your fat ass is the reason you fail at having healthy joints’ than chocolate covered peeps.
I had to go to our main headquarters and get my badge renewed so when I got to work, I had to wash my face and try giving makeup a shot again. Literally I kept crying. Had to wait a few hours before I could put it back on. That was nice.
I feel so…well the title of this blog says it all. Devastated.
All the plans I wanted to do this coming weekend, I now don’t want to do. I’d like to curl into a ball and sleep for a few days. I have nothing to look forward to. Nothing. I’m not even looking forward to new hips because it will be another few years before I have the time to take off to have my knee replaced. So there’s another 2 years of feeling like someone has kicked the outside of my knee with soccer cleats. Every time I put weight on it. Yay. Oh and by then, my back…which will ‘eventually’ require surgery…well by then it will. Yea being broken is so endearing to men. Who the hell wants to come into this? Who would want to be part of a life where a new partner is constantly hurting and in pain and going through this? I doubt anyone would Not even sure I would.
I know I say this, but unless you know the angst brought to you by chronic pain…you can’t understand. It feels so personal, like you’re being punished for something; like a timeout that won’t end. Being told basically ‘there’s nothing that can be done to help you because you have too much pain’ is…well…the most depressing thing you can hear.
I hurt physically, emotionally. I’m just checked out. I’m done. Maybe I just won’t go back. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I should stop the patch and not take the nerve meds or muscle relaxer. Maybe I’ll just suffer in silence and just man up. It’s certainly not getting better and it will only get worse.
Well I can no longer see because my contacts are covered with makeup residue and tears. I think this is it for my night. I’m going to bed.