MRI's don't lie...
Remembered that left arm pain I was talking about in my last post? Well, a lot has gone on since the last time I wrote to you. Over the summer, the pain in my left arm kept getting worse so I saw the ortho and he thought that I had a frozen shoulder (technically called adhesive capsulitis) because I had literally lost almost all of my range of motion in my left arm. He wanted me to do all of these stretching exercises and I outright refused until he did a MRI to make sure that nothing was torn in there.
He scoffed at me and even wrote in his note that he didn’t think that it was warranted but that “to appease the patient,” he would order a MRI without contrast. So, I didn’t do any of the exercises and I had to schedule an appointment with my pain management doctor just to increase my pain meds to tolerate the agony I was in. That was another saga.
I had the MRI done and VOILA! I have an infraspinatus intrasubstance 3mm X 5 mm delamination type partial thickness TEAR with moderate biceps tenosynovitis. Basically a rotator cuff tear in the back AND NO ADHESIVE CAPSULITIS mind you….. So there. Needless to say, there have been no exercises done by me over the past six weeks as I have waited in agony for my follow up appointment. As a matter of fact, a few days ago the shoulder popped out of its joint and my hand went numb so I had to put it back in by myself. That was pleasant. My appointment is tomorrow and I can’t wait to find out when he is gonna fix this freakin’ thing.
The pain management was another story. After already seeing him for my July appointment, they made me come back in to get another prescription to increase my medication by 30 more mg twice a day to add to the 60mg I already take twice a day right now. Then when I got the results of the MRI at the end of the month, they made me come in AGAIN to get another prescription to increase my prescription for August because he had only written the increased dose to carry me through until the end of July. When he found out it was actually a tear he agreed to continue the higher dose but made me come in for an appointment AGAIN on July 26th just to get the prescription!!!
For a normal person, going into the office would be no big deal but you have to remember that I am a bedridden person with a heart condition called POTS disease which means that every time I stand up my heart rate shoots up to 130 bpm or higher. So, to go into a doctor’s appointment I have to dose myself with a boatload of heart medication, slowly get dressed, rest in between everything I do, lie down in the back of my mother’s car while she drives me there, use a walker to get into the lobby, sweat the entire time, slowly walk to the exam room, have the visit, crawl to the car and then when I get home I am wiped out for the remainder of the night. I will literally sleep from the moment I get home until the following day. It is like running a marathon to go to a doctor’s appointment for me. So, asking me to come in to an appointment just because you want to give me a prescription when you have already seen me twice this month and you know what is going on with my shoulder is simply ridiculous.
So, I dragged myself into the pain management office AGAIN at the end of July to get the increased prescription because I needed the medicine to endure the pain until I could see the ortho in follow up. Well, that wasn’t the end of it. My pain management appointment for August was today (the 13th) and my ortho follow up is the 14th. As it turns out, my pain doctor who I loved was leaving at the end of July. So, when I got into the office today I learned that the replacing doctor would only fill today’s prescription and then I would have to find another office to go to because he is not someone who fills my level of pain killers.
Can you freakin’ believe this? How can these people call themselves pain management doctors if they do not take an oath to manage pain??? The FDA has now made it impossible for honest pain patients to get relief simply because those who are abusing medications are making doctors fear lawsuits so badly that they are refusing to write prescriptions for doses that are high enough to control our pain. This is unbelievable. I left the office with a prescription and tears in my eyes.
They are going to make some phone calls for me but I don’t have a lot of faith that I will be able to find another doctor to take my case. How are we expected to function in this world? What are all these cancer patients going to do? There must be someone out there who has a right to dispense medication to help us? I have always avoided medical marijuana because of the stigma attached to it and I didn’t want to dip my toe into that pool of potential litigation but it seems that I will have no other choice soon if the government makes it so impossible for me to manage pain with normal pharmaceuticals. Talk about disheartening for a former medical practitioner. It makes me glad that I have left the medical profession at this point.
While all of this has been going on, we have been in the midst of buying a condo. We found out that our apartment complex was bought out for the third time by a big corporation and they have been making a lot of changes around here. Our favorite maintenance man has left and they have started renovating the exterior of the property. Rumor has it that they will begin renovating the interiors of the apartments and I simply cannot withstand the upheaval of that so it was time for us to make a decision. Not to mention, when a new company comes in and does this, it undoubtedly leads to higher rents. So, we began the process of looking for a place to buy.
We closed on a beautiful condo on August 10th. Now there is some minor work to be done but we should be able to move in by Oct 1st. In the meantime, I have my shoulder to deal with and I have finally had my appointment with the POTS specialist at MAYO Clinic on the 8th of August. He has set me up with numerous consults, tests and lab work that needs to be done through the month of September so things will be very busy for us over the next few months.
During all of this craziness, I also got the book back because I had to put numbers on all of the pages!! Apparently the author was having trouble getting her program to do it so she sent it back to me and I did it for her. I don’t know how much longer it will take her to get the book out to print because she is having some health issues right now but I really hope that it will come out soon. We have worked so hard on that book and it has been in the works for over three years so if the artwork can just get done, it will be all set to go to print!! I really want it to get out there.
As you can tell, there is never a dull moment around here so if you are wondering why I don’t get to blog very often there is typically a reason. The next few months will be filled with doctors’ appointments, packing, moving and probably shoulder surgery so I am not sure if there will be blogging in there but I am thinking of you all out there fighting the good fight with your chronic illnesses. Hang in there. If I can do it, then you can.