I’ve had numerous surgeries in the past including two total shoulder replacements and four hip surgeries. My most recent surgery was a total hip replacement with the removal of existing titanium hardware installed years ago to ‘postpone total hip replacement’. Removing the existing hardware that was in diseased and damaged bone (My Femur bone) proved more difficult this time as some of the bone had to be “Sawed off” in surgery to remove the ‘bad bone’. A titanium ‘stem’ had to be inserted down into the middle of my femur bone during surgery.
This surgery happened on January 2nd, 2019. It’s been just over 5 weeks since my surgery and if I had to do it all over again, I NEVER would’ve had this done. I’ve been in a whole lot more pain since the surgery than I was before the surgery dealing with a fractured hip.
I did not take into account that I would have to go thru this major surgery without adequate post-operative pain management. I did make 3 attempts to get into pain management months before my surgery with no success. I had only one “Pain Management” practice see me. It took several weeks to get the initial appointment. My appointment was set at 8:00 am on a Thursday morning. I showed up about 20 minutes early partly due to the approx. 30 mile trip each way to get there. Upon arrival, I saw dozens of others pulling up and forming a line at the front door. I then felt forced to join in this line. While standing in line, I learned that EVERY SINGLE PERSON there also had an 8:00 am appointment. When the doors opened, everyone hurried to the reception desk to check in and we were all given paperwork to fill out. Once the paperwork was filled out, at least a dozen people were ‘herded’ into a small, narrow hallway and was given a plastic cup for a urine sample where we stood in line waiting on an available restroom. There were only 2 restrooms available so standing there waiting with a cup in hand was pretty humiliating and degrading. I felt like they were treating us all like cattle.
I made it thru the line and was taken back to the smallest exam room I’ve ever seen. This room may have been 5 feet by 7 feet total. I sat in there without seeing anyone for about 90 minutes before the first nurse entered. Her first words were to ask me if I had already been put on GABAPENTIN. I told her ‘No. This is my first visit and I had not even seen a doctor yet”. She asked a few more standard questions and left the room. Several minutes later a second nurse entered and asked me the same question and I gave the same reply. This second nurse stayed longer, took my vitals and asked many questions. Before she finished up, a ‘physicians assistant’ entered the room and again, asked me if they had put me on GABAPENTIN yet. I asked him “Why does everyone keep asking me that?”, which he replied, “Most of our patients are on it”. Finally, about 3 hours after my appointment time, a “doctor’ entered the room. Again, the same question. It’s now obvious that everyone was asking me that question without even looking at my chart.
I explained to the doctor that I have a bone disease (Vascular Necrosis) and I had broken numerous bones in the past and have had numerous surgeries in the past. I also informed her that I currently had a fractured hip which she was ‘reluctant’ to believe (To put it nicely). Even though I had brought recent x-rays with me to my appointment, she thought my walking on crutches may be a trick to get pain medication and she wanted to ‘verify’ the fracture for herself by taking their own x-rays. She did not believe that I actually had a fractured hip, even smugly commenting that I was ‘Taking a fractured hip very well”.
After getting several x-rays and was taken back to the tiny room where I again waiting for quite some time. The doctor and a nurse re-entered and confirmed that I did indeed have a fracture. I was then told I’d get TYLENOL 3 for my pain.
After being at that appointment for nearly 4 hours now and in pain the entire time, I complained that Tylenol 3 was NOT going to help me with pain. The doctor informed me that she could only give out 7 days worth of pain medication upon my very first appointment. She wanted me to return in 7 days and if the Tylenol 3 did not help, she was give me something “A little stronger”.
Seven days later I returned for my second appointment and was seen by the same doctor, after again standing in a narrow hallway with a cup in hand for a urine sample. This appointment didn’t take quite as long as the initial appointment but was no less humiliating and degrading.
The doctor did her very best to try to talk me into taking the seizure medication GABAPENTIN but I refused, citing that it had hurt me in the past causing me terrible bouts of worsening cluster attacks. The doctor then sent me for an x-ray of my back for some unknown reason. I NEVER complained of any back pain and I questioned her reasoning for the x-rays ordered. I was told it was because of my hip fracture that would ‘lead to back pain’. I reluctantly went and got the x-rays and returned to the tiny room again. The doctor entered and told me to return in one month. I asked about changing the pain medication to something stronger that may actually help but was met with fierce resistance and rude comments. I was told that Percocet was the very strongest pain medication that they prescribe and that I would get that at my next visit. I Headed to check out and get my next appointment date and time when I was informed that the doctor also wanted me to get “Soft tissue evaluation” and a consult with the chiropractors, which were both conveniently located in the same office. I scheduled the appointments and I left upset, humiliated and still in great pain.
My third visit to this place was more of the same. Standing in line in a narrow hallways with cup in hand before getting a tiny room to wait in for the doctor. They did their best at trying to get me on GABAPENTIN again. This time, I saw a different doctor who would not make any changes in my medication leaving me stuck with non-helpful Tylenol 3 for pain. I was then told that ‘Due to getting x-ray imaging, my insurance REQUIRED me to get the “Soft tissue evaluation”. I felt right away that this whole place was some sort of SCAM to bill insurance as much as possible WITHOUT adequately treating any pain.
I cancelled all future appointments and informed them that I would not return. I just could not justify driving nearly 30 miles each way, standing in a line of people in a narrow hallway with cup in hand to urinate in and not getting any pain relief at all. It felt like every single employee there was judging me and every other patient there. It was an awful and degrading feeling.
I returned to my primary doctor and asked for a referral to a ‘real’ pain management doctor. About 3 weeks later, I received a phone call from the second pain management office which simply told me that they would ‘NOT SEE’ me at all due to one of my other medications, which is considered a Benzodiazepine. (My neurologist had been prescribing me Valium on and off for nearly 25 years). They did not even ask if I was currently taking this medication or when the last dose was.
Again, I informed my primary doctor that the second pain management doctor refused to see me so the doctor made another call and referred me to a third pain management office. Another couple of weeks past by when I received a call from the third pain management office. I was told that the doctor reviewed my files and was willing to see me as long as I knew beforehand that I would “Never get any opioid pain medications’. I asked them, “What do you do then?”. She replied “You would only get injections in your hip”, which did not seem appealing to me at all and had not been helpful in the past at all, so I refused to even go see them if they would not prescribe pain medications at all.
I made up my mind after that. I would not seek out help for pain any longer. I refuse to be treated like a drug addict or drug seeker. I will NEVER stand in a line with a urine sample cup in hand in hopes of getting pain relief. I would have to suffer (Needlessly) thru the fractured hip, the major surgery and thru post-operative pain, which is still hurting me badly as I write this.
It took me several months of attempting to get some pain relief with NO SUCCESS at all. It’s a real shame that people like me, people in chronic pain, are forced to needlessly suffer in pain because politicians have intimidated and targeted doctors into NOT TREATING PATIENTS IN PAIN. I (We) should not have to suffer in pain because of what OTHER PEOPLE have done wrong in regards to their pain medication or other drug habits.
I’m sure they stopped some drug addicts from getting pain medications, but they’ve HURT SO MANY, MANY MORE PEOPLE by refusing to adequately treat their pain. Our quality of life has greatly diminished due to these unjust, unfair and inhumane ‘guidelines’ and laws targeting ALL those needing pain medication.
It’s a SAD STATE OF HEALTHCARE that we are suffering in now in what is supposed to be the best and most compassionate country in the world. The compassion for people in pain no longer exist. When doctors are too afraid to prescribe anything more than a limited prescription for Tylenol 3 to a patient with a fractured hip in need of a total hip replacement.
My only advice to everyone reading this: If you are in need of surgery, be sure to ask the surgeon BEFORE ANY SURGERY if they are going to adequately treat your post-operative pain. If they hesitate, act reluctant about it, or flat out tell you NO, then you really need to weigh your options. How badly needed is this surgery? Will you die without it? Will a different surgeon treat your post-operative pain? If you’re told you’ll be denied pain medication or that you will not need it, you really should do some research and some ‘soul-searching’ and think long and hard about weather the surgery is worth going thru knowing you will not get help with pain afterwards.
If I could go back in time now, I would’ve NEVER had this last surgery. It’s just been too painful and too much needless suffering. I was better off with a fractured hip than I am now, 5+ weeks after surgery. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to walk right again or that I’ll fully recover from it. It’s too hard to try to rehabilitate when your in constant terrible pain. The surgeons got to do this surgery on me which I’m sure made them a TON OF MONEY and then they left me to suffer in worst pain than before the surgery. It’s just NOT FAIR AT ALL !!
SHAME ON THE POLITICIANS AND THE DOCTORS FOR TREATING PEOPLE IN PAIN LIKE THEY’VE TREATED ME.
The overall number of ‘overdoses’ MAY have went down in the past few years BUT the overall number of SUICIDES have went WAY UP in the same time frame. Why ?? People are in great pain and cannot get help.
AGAIN, SHAME ON THE POLITICANS AND DOCTORS FOR NOT HELPING PEOPLE IN PAIN !!