For the past several months I have been dealing with chronic pain. An old back injury had turned into new constant battle.
I pulled my back several years ago. I’m a nurse, I’m hard headed. I simply took some meds, a little heat, some rest, call it a day. I never got it checked out.
I regret that.
Pulling on unconscious trauma patients has aggravated that old back injury. It’s inflamed with a bulging disc just for added pizzazz. I, in my hard headedness, decided I was going to ignore it. Again. Because I’m an idiot. Yeeeeeeah, no. This time I had to go see someone. I can no longer lie flat on my back or my stomach (which is how I used to sleep). I can only sleep on my side now. I have trouble standing up if I have been sitting for too long, my lower back will spasm. It’s affected my life. I’m always tired because I don’t sleep for more than a 2-3 hours at a time, the pressure on my hip wakes me and I have to reposition to the other side. I’m always in pain. Always. I refuse to take narcotics. I have an addictive personality and I know that. I’ve struggled with alcohol before and I don’t trust myself. I’ve seen my spine patients. I’ve seen them go through withdrawal after surgery waiting for us to hang their opioid tolerant PCA. I don’t want that.
So the ortho-spine doc sent me to the pain clinic. She wants me to have an ablation where they burn the nerves in the inflamed area for longer lasting pain relief. Yay!
Except our hospital insurance is a hater. I can’t just go and have the ablation on both sides like we want. No. I have to go and have one side temporarily numbed up. Then schedule another appointment to have the other side numbed. Then schedule to have the ablation on the side that was first numbed up and then schedule another appointment to have the other side ablated. Four different procedures for one problem. Awesome. I’ve had the first numbing procedure and it helped… For a few weeks. They basically injected lidocaine into my back near the inflamed nerve. My back muscles spasmed so bad during the procedure that it moved the needle each time they inserted it, so it took multiple attempts and hurt like hell. The doctor told me it was the hardest one he had done and wrote me a prescription for a muscle relaxer. That was in October. I can’t get any of the other procedures until January because that’s the next opening they have. So I’m waiting on that. I’ve dealt with the pain this long what’s a few more months right? What I did not realize is how inflamed the nerves on that side would be once the numbing medicine wore off. Let’s add constant sciatic pain from the low back to the calf muscles to the party.
Fabulous. Another spine appointment, another med. I’ve gone from taking no prescription meds to taking baclofen and neurontin. Nothing hard core thank goodness but I don’t like being on meds. It could be much worse so I’m thankful that at least we have a plan in place to try and help me get better.
To all my chronic pain sufferers, I feel you. I understand your frustration. I get what you’re going through. You are stronger than you know. Don’t give up.