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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Not ready for the straight jacket yet, Doc.

I saw a new doctor yesterday. I'd been putting it off for so long and I don't know why. My primary care doctor of 12 years has been pushing me to go to Texas Tech because they have a new pain management facility in our area. He gave me the referral in August and I only just called on Tuesday.

I guess I'd just given up that anything could be done to help me. But, of late, the pain has been so unbearable that I could not put if off any longer. There was also the nervous breakdown I feel is imminent and my mother's gentle pushing (love you, Momma!) that made me realize something needed to get done -fast .

So, I went. Honestly, I don't even know if the doctor I saw today was a pain management specialist or a general practitioner. First I spoke with a 4th year medical student (totally cute! And me looking so frumpy! Shit!). He took my medical history and talked about my symptoms and that took about 45 minutes. I made sure to tell him every detail of my pain, what triggers it, how most times nothing triggers it, how it feels like my bones are being crushed, and I can't turn my head to the right without considerable pain, etc. Every sorry detail.

When my new doctor came in, he had already been filled in on everything by cute Dr. 4th Year. We talked about medication I've taken (I took in my empty Rx bottles to show what I've taken, the dosage, etc - I didn't want there to be any question); we talked about what worked and what didn't, how long some meds worked and the bad reactions I've had to others. Then he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "I'm going to help you."

"I'm going to help you."

I have never had a doctor tell me that. Usually it's me asking, "Will you help me?" or something to that effect. But he was sincere and seemed confident that he was, indeed, going to help me.

Then he started talking to me about my depression. I explained I've been depressed pretty much my entire life. He asked if it was worse now and I agreed it was, stating, "When you're in pain 24/7, it gets rather depressing." Hand on shoulder again, he says very softly, "I know."

Of course, this is when I start crying.

At that point he asked me if I was suicidal. I didn't say anything at first, as he was giving me a look that said, "You can trust me." I told him I frequently thought of death and dying (frequently being pretty much all day, every day), but I wasn't going to kill myself. Then I added, "I just wish a meteorite would come down and kill me instantly. I won't take my own life. I just wish something beyond my control would."

Dr: It's hard to live with the pain, but you won't kill yourself because you have people who love you.

Me: Exactly.

I guess he trusted me, because I'm not under 72-hour observation at our local state psychiatric hospital (where my uncle works, incidentally - I could have been hanging out with him for the next three days).

He tells me again that he's going to help me. He's going to request my records from my 12-year primary care doctor (I wonder if this means we've broken up), then I am going to return to see him in three weeks. But for now, take this extra-strength Vicodin for the pain, along with the usual Rx regiment, and relax. Relax because he is going to help me. We'll run tests and panels and take MRI's and CAT scans and everything will be ok. He just wants to see my records first.

Dare I hope that this doctor knows his shit? Dare I hope at all? How many times have I been let down by doctors in these years of constant pain? Only to find one about 5 miles away from my home who understands, cares, and promises to help? What are the odds?

Gentle hugs and shine on you crazy diamond,

P.S. Totally unrelated: I spend a lot of time playing on Tumblr, which is kind of blog site in a totally different way. If you have a Tumblr account, I'm HERE. Feel free to follow! Send me a message and I'll follow you, too. I also spend a lot of time on Goodreads and you can see my profile HERE. If you're a member or reader who would like to join, please feel free to send me a friend request. Next month's group read will be The Plague by Albert Camus. Would you like to join me?


  1. Oh that is the best news! I wish I lived near you....I want to see your doctor. I hope he is as good as he sounds. Please keep us posted. And God bless!

  2. YAY! Cautiously optimistic happy dance being done here!! Wishing for the best to happen for you...

  3. So glad to here you found a Dr. that is willing to help you and so close. I am on Tumbler but do not tumble much yet. I have ran across Goodreads and love the site. I will join that soon. I have my own issues to deal with before I can relax and have fun.

    Best wishes,

  4. Hi Jesse, catching up with your blog today and reading your "news." Congratulations on finding this doc. Competence only barely rates above compassion. In the long run, I think we can put up with a little in-competence if our doctors only have compassion. My thoughts and prayers are with you for success, Cinda

  5. Hi Jessi... Candi Shields here... we're twitter friends...
    I almost teared up when I read about your visit with the new dr (I'm real emotional today for some reason). I am so happy and hopeful for you. It's so hard to find a doctor who is compassionate and understands. I was lucky enough to find a pain management doc who is well-versed in fibro and is also caring. Of course, he's not perfect: 1) He doesn't believe narcotics help FM (but thank God he still gives me my oxycodone - at least he BELIEVES me that yes, it does help & I can't live w/out it); 2) He refuses to fill out disability forms; and 3) He wouldn't give me a handicapped parking permit b/c he thinks I need all the walking I can get. My gp gave me one though, so I'm good. Anyway, gee... maybe you might think he's not so great afterall, but he is the only one around here who cares & knows a damn thing about FM & doesn't just wanna shove pain pills down my throat w/no talk of other therapy. The most important thing to me is what I just said: he CARES, and he knows WTF he's doing. I hope this doctor can help you - I truly think he will.
    Oh, by the way, are you on SS Disability? I applied & got denied, but I think it was b/c my f***ing disability *advocate* failed to get/submit my records from said PM doc. Any tips or advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated!
    Sorry for the long comment, but it's nice to talk about all of this with ppl who can relate.

  6. I had a wonderful Dr that actually listened and took the time yours did with you this time. 15 yrs...then he retired. I have been out in the cold for 1 1/2 yrs now..truly. No meds at all... Soooo I am in the depths of hell right now and trying to get out and find a decent dr. Good luck with this one, I hope he has as much promise as he seems to!! They ARE hard to find!

  7. WOW! To actually have a doctor truly listen to you and then to tell you that he's going to help you. What a wonderful man.......I hope he's everything he seems to be! Good luck!

    I look forward to following your blog!

  8. oh my goodness girl, i could have written this myself. thank you so much for your incredible gift of honesty.

    please know you have more support and comrades than you know what to do with. you are so strong!

    praying for you, and some peace from god!


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