Monday, May 9, 2022

Here We Go Again - - - NO, I am not a Drug Addict

I am usually not one to post cartoons.  But with my most resent experience with trying to obtain appropriate medical care this seemed quite appropriate and timely .  A laugh is always good especially after the fact .

My experience was certainly not laughable at the time and I hope I never experience anything like it again ! 

I continue to try and gain weight but it takes effort . I certainly never thought that could be a problem for me !

After  going to the E.R. for my weight loss when the severe pain started in my back and lower abdomen I once again went to the E.R and this time by ambulance!!!  The pain was so terrible that they gave me I.V. Fentanyl (small amount) during transport to the emergency. An EKG, Abdominal/ Pelvic CT Scan and lab work were done.  They had a copy of the MRI (from earlier) in my record and sent me home with four pain pills. It took two attendants to help me to the car. The pain was so horrific! 

In an effort to shorten this post I will jump ahead and say that after three more E.R. visits (one of which they had me do a Barium Swallow) they had me labeled as an abuser of  opiates and a noncompliant patient!  The E.R. staff was becoming hostile toward me. Then I went to a different county E.R. and I was shipped off to a Rehab facility that was two hours away (all facilities closer were filled) by ambulance for training on how to perform activities of daily living.  Nonsense!!!  All I needed was Pain Management!!!  And, that is what I was told that I would be receiving .  After four days of not being seen by an R.N. or M.D. (just laying in bed with severe pain) I checked out against medical advice.  The facility was filthy dirty and did not even have a seat on the toilet. And the trash can was overflowing with used diapers from the roommate. The food was non edible!

Since our county had recently hired a Pain Specialist Physician I was able to get an appointment and I was feeling optimistic. The doctor was running late and rushing.   Before I knew it he prescribed a synthetic opiate, took a urine sample for drug testing and had me sign a contract to participate in a Drug Rehab Program.  None of this was explained in an understandable way.  When I got home and realized (reading papers he sent with me) what was happening. I was FURIOUS !!! I did not take the prescribed medication and made an appointment to see him to explain that I do NOT have a drug problem and never have! I have not had any prescribed pain medication for my back since 2017!!!  I was directed to NOT go to the E.R. again! He offered an epidermal injection which I cancelled. I have had many epidermal injections throughout the past 30 years for my back disorder/pain without any benefit.  And, I will not return to his office ever again!

If my life circumstance had been different I would have had another back surgery when it was suggested years ago.  And, knee surgery would have been done three years ago when ordered for very painful bone on bone arthritic knees. 

Throughout this whole time I was dealing with near unbearable pain and no longer able to even go to the store at times for groceries.  Various people tried to help with assistance and transportation.  And, I have greatly appreciated their help. One taxi trip home from the hospital cost me $80 !!!  It is very difficult when you are older and do not have an advocate to assist and help with decisions.  Thank goodness I have my nursing background.

At some point I was talking on the phone with my Primary Care Physician who apparently finally reviewed my record and he explained to me that the abdominal pain was probably coming from the T12 (thoracic vertebrae) which made a lot of sense to me. Because the pain dermatomes of T12 travels across the low abdomen!  And, who knows - maybe that has something to do with lack of appetite ! 

If all of the previous doctors including him had read the MRI report carefully I would think that one of them would have been able to have some insight. 

I had a consultation with a Gastrologist and his assessment was negative for any significant issues.  Also, I had a video conference with a Stanford Hospital Orthopedic Surgeon and a two level Back Fusion Surgery was recommended after viewing my MRI!  I have not seen any doctor since I saw the Pain Specialist last December !

I have been so very, very , very angry that I will not go to a doctor until I need a refill of my routine daily medications.

I am not a surgical candidate at the age of 82.  OH, they would do surgery but remember there are no guaranties of improvement.  The statistical  success rate of improvement for the Super Elderly (patients over age 80) are not very good.  And, I could end up in a wheelchair full time. Nor would there be pain medication once I went home following whatever Post-Op care was provided!

I tried to get some relief with a prescribes medication that was to help with control of spinal pain.  Even with a very low dose I started having double vision and uncontrollable jerking of extremities.  It was scary!

So what am I doing since no one will prescribe regular pain medication at this time?  First of all my anger (I very seldom get angry) and tenaciousness are caring me along. I have always known I had a high pain threshold, but this is "just a little too much"!

I wear a back brace (I have several different ones) and knee braces (remember, I need both knees replaced because of bone-on-bone arthritic pain) and I take Extra Strength Acetaminophen along with use of Ice and/or Heat and a lot of bedrest and the use of a cane.  It is next to impossible to be productive with daily activities!  Some days are better than others.  And, many days are hardly bearable!  It is a  balancing act trying to be as active as possible but not overdue which could be very disastrous meaning  I would not be able to walk!

In case you do not know, I am a retired R.N. and I have stayed quite current with todays medical care and systems. And, I am not afraid to "speak up".  I have lived alone for a long time. I am Very Independent and have learned to be that way out of necessity for years!!! I do not have any available relatives (never have) and I have out-lived my close friends. 

I recently visited a Senior Living Facility (Independent Living to Memory Care) close to where I live that has an acceptable reputation. They are very expensive! As all of them are!  After an acute financial evaluation I was happy to realize that I could afford to live there. I have visited resident friends in the past . However, when I looked at it with the prospect of being a resident I almost became physically ill with the realization of how my life would change and I probleley  would not last very long.

"Living (Aging) in Place" is my choice even though insurance will not pay for any routine Home Care and/or House Cleaning or Outdoor Maintenance like maintaining the garden. I have not been able to do anything in my garden (and very little in the house) for over six months. Insurance will only pay for care that requires Skilled Nursing Services.  It is extremely difficult to find a Cleaning Person in this Northern California mountain area that is not associated with an agency which is very expensive. I have spent hours talking with people/agencies.  Some how-some way I will find a way to retain a semblance of my current living situation as long as I can retain my mobility!

I guess it is true that "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger".  But, I thought I was already strong enough!!

I have worked hard for as long as I can remember.  Take good care of yourself .  Remember, you do not have to work so hard that your body gives out before you are ready.  There are ways.  Even though it is difficult to adhere to at the moment,  you will be thankful!

My wonderful Special Needs Cat,  IVY, recently celebrated her 10th Birthday.

I have been her Mama for four years. And, she is my little "Lovebug".  More about her next time.

Wishing all of you beautiful days during this lovely time of year. Hopefully, you are not impacted by tornados, fires, floods or our world affairs.


1 comment:

  1. I am sorry to read of your troubles. Unreliable and inconsistent medical services seem to be a problem in many small towns. Please keep us posted on your decisions and progress. And give Miss Ivy a big hug and cuddle from me. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


Thanks for coming by. I love visitors and hope you enjoyed my little blog about a little old lady and her day to day life taking care of her little home and garden .

White Garden 2009

White Garden 2009
IN MY GARDEN there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The Thoughts grow as freely as the flowers and the dreams are as beautiful. - Abram Urban

Iris Flowers 2009

Iris Flowers  2009
In the garden I tend to drop my thoughts here and there. To the flowers I whisper the secrets I keep and the hopes I breathe. I know they are there to eavesdrop for the angels. ~Dodinsky

Pink Flowers 2009

Pink Flowers  2009

Yellow Flowers 2009

Yellow Flowers  2009