Most of the time, having experience in the medical field is a help. You don’t need a translator, you expect the wait, you know they’ve seen and heard worse, and people wear dirty underwear. Okay, that last one doesn’t really help, but it’s true. When the pain didn’t get better and the medicine and PT weren’t working, it was decided I should have an operation. Thanks to my uncle, Uncle Sam, I have been a combat medic, and x-ray tech, and a practical nurse (specialized in trauma for him); I also spent time as a paramedic for NYC EMS in the South Bronx and was a paramedic supervisor in White Plains, NY. All that to say, I thought I had a handle on this next step. As far as I could see, I should have had a fusion, but then that’s not part of the protocol. Some people feel better after just a discectomy. Well that’s great, but I had a mechanical problem; as far as I could see it needed to be stabilized. No, that wouldn’t do. So I went into what was more like an office building and--cut, scrape, sew; “Take him home Ma’am. Here’s some Oxycodone to take after the anesthesia wears off.”
It kind of worked, for a week. Then I started PT again and it got worse than ever. Since surgery failed and PT made it worse, back to the pills I went; this time they weren’t playing. I was sent to a “Pain Management Physician”. That’s in quotes because it is one of those few medical areas that isn’t nearly as regulated as are most of the other specialties of the profession. I saw the doctor on a Thursday and was put on morphine pills faster than I had ever been given an antibiotic. After sleeping through Thursday afternoon, Friday all day, and most of Saturday, my wife called the doctor’s office. Hours later, the doctor returned her phone call and told her to just keep giving me the morphine and I should get used to it. Really? What part, the sickness or the sleeping incessantly? How about you? Are you an individual, or a number? Does your doctor listen, or nod a lot like he does with his wife? Is the medication supposed to be worse than the pain? Is there something better? What’s your story?