For the last year and a half I have had neck pain. I have two degenerated discs in my neck and most of the time I can tolerate the pain. It's never gone-it's always lurking, ready to attack when I least expect it. I have mentioned this recently in a couple of different posts and how it has 'flared' up over the last week. About 6-8 months ago, the pain was so bad I had Kris take me to the ER. They put an I.V. in and gave me Morphine, which did NOTHING. At all. It was awful. I'm crying because the pain is so intense and frustrated that even Morphine wouldn't take the pain away. They switched over to Dolotin and finally I felt true relief for the first time in a year. Mind you, it didn't last long...but those few hours I felt better than I had in a long time.
Throughout the last year and a half I have been to physical therapy (more times than I can remember), seen a neurologist, a neurosurgeon, a pain management doctor and a chiropractor. None of them could figure out what was causing the pain (the neuro guys didn't seem to think the pain was from the degenerated discs??). The pain management guy was willing to TRY to treat me, but cautioned that if I started pain management at 30 years old it would be far less effective when I was 50 and really needed it. And I left all of that feeling as if I was doomed to a life of pain.
Most days it is bearable. However, there are some days that it is the only thing I can think about. It interferes with my job, my family life, every aspect of my life really. That has been the case this past week. I found some relief on Monday and had hopes that the weekend recurrence of intense pain was finally ending. But I was wrong. Yesterday the pain worsened until today I was in tears all day at work. The pain wasn't quite as bad as the first time Kris took me to the ER, but it was pretty darn close. So, we made the decision to go back to the ER tonight.
Here is where it got interesting. Now, everyone knows that you can't just get in and out of the emergency room. It's just not possible. I do not know how those places operate, but I know that it isn't at a fast pace. Which is really odd, because they always seem to imply that they want you out so they have the bed available for someone else...but then it seems to take forever to get a doctor to see you and then forever to get discharged once you are treated.
Tonight was no exception and probably one of the slowest ER visits ever! We waited in the main waiting room for about an hour. They finally called me back into a room. A nurse came in after just a few minutes and told me I had to give them a urine sample so they could make sure that I wasn't pregnant. After the nurse took said specimen, she told me that someone would be in the room shortly.
Two hours later, after we are quickly becoming convinced that they have forgotten about me, an intern or nurse came in and said "Well, you're going home!" First of all...I could have really used a Xanax right around this time. I'm WHAT??? How can you send someone home when a doctor hasn't even been in to see them??? We questioned the guy and he was like "Hey you know the same amount as me" or something to that effect. We asked him if a doctor was going to come in and he didn't even tell us yes or no. He was just very vague and said he just does what they tell him. So I am now quickly approaching panic mode as he walks out of the room. Fortunately, Pastor Jeff (our pastor...in case that needed explaining) was there at the time and we all had a good laugh about it all. A short time later the same man came back in and said that he got confused and it was the person next to me that was going home. I became concerned that this man was missing some of his brain cells...he left the room saying he likes to stick people with needles. I prayed that if any needles came my way, he would not be anywhere near me!
Finally after over 3 hours of waiting, a doctor came in. I felt hopeful. They knew I was there and now they would give me something to make the pain stop. He sits down and says "What can I do for you?" I told him what was wrong and he just kind of looked at me expectantly...like I was supposed to tell him how to treat me! I will give him credit though. He sat in the room and talked to us for about 20 minutes. Basically he told me that everything the doctors had done over the last year and a half made sense and was the right way to approach the pain. And he really had me worried that he wasn't going to give me any medicine at all. He kept saying how he couldn't fix the problem and while it wouldn't be bad to have another MRI, they don't do MRI's in the emergency room. He also told us about epidural blocks, which they are also unable to do. This conversation continued until I was almost in tears thinking I had wasted the last 3 hours in a place that wasn't even going to help me.
At the end of the conversation, he agreed to send me home with some Vicodin and a muscle relaxer. He mentioned something about a shot too, though I wasn't sure if he was actually going to give me one. He basically told me that regardless he suspected I would leave the hospital still in pain. Gee thanks doctor...
About an hour later, a nurse came in with a needle. I was really scared that the crazy nurse from earlier was going to come back in and give me the shot but fortunately there was a new bubbly, very friendly nurse that would be administering the shot. The shot went in the rear; I can't remember the name of the shot, but it started with a T. After about 10 minutes, I could tell a difference in the intensity of the pain. I had more range of motion and while my neck still hurt, it was more like the normal day-to-day pain I have learned to live with. I left a short while later with a prescription for the other two medications, which I will fill tomorrow. We got home around 11pm and while I am still fairly uncomfortable (worse if I bend my neck), I feel a lot better than I did. Which is what I wanted. I don't have high hopes that I will now be pain-free. But I do have an appointment with a new chiropractor tomorrow morning. I found someone near work that does acupuncture as well as work specifically with people with degenerated discs. So hopefully they can help me too.
Oh, and something worth mentioning: I STILL DON'T KNOW IF I AM PREGNANT OR NOT!! ;-) Kidding mom and dad...I'm NOT. But if they said they were going to check to see if I was pregnant the least they could have done was tell me the results!
Speaking of 'pain in the neck' is anyone else getting way too many spam comments on their blog?? Is there any way (besides moderating) to control those?