My difference between a good doctor and a bad doctor the answer this question: Do they seem like they want to help? Throughout this journey I’ve experienced and shared with you all, I’ve encountered many doctors that actively or passively express disinterest in assisting me. While being legally required to assist, they don’t make me feel like they want to do anything other than blocking any questions to shuttle me away to the next patient.
My pain management doctor suggested a Ganglion impar block injection.
What I will always do, regardless of whether I fill out pages of documentation, is I will explain the situation again to any doctor. I try to keep it brief. It should be like an elevator pitch. I explained what happened post-surgery. I told him what the anesthetist theorized happened to me post-surgery, since it was good information for him and since he studied anesthesia as well. When I told him that anesthetist’s theory, he said ‘interesting’ in the sort of way that implied there was much more to it than merely that I “may have had a neurological deficit that may have been a psychosomatic physical break.”
His injection suggestion was explaining two main causes of post-surgery spinal pain.
One is more innocent than the other. The first is that the spine could be sending pain signals down to the tailbone, since the Ganglion impar is an area around the tailbone that contains many sensitive nerves, so if there was anything that might still be hurting, that pain could transfer down to that series of nerves. The second, spoken with some hesitation, could have been the result of some trauma during or directly after surgery. From my knowledge, I lost consciousness in the pre-operative room and woke up in the PACU with the aforementioned lack of physical agency of my fingers and toes. I could have been transferred wrong at any point there and just not felt significant pain as I was on post-operative painkillers.
But here we are nearly six weeks later and the pain is still severe.
If there is any advice I can wholeheartedly provide – because, as I’ve noticed previously, Dr. Zombiepaper here is no medical advisor, holding no medical background; only a troubleshooting career and experiences with the American Healthcare System – I would say it’s important to feel out your pain as much as possible. For me, I pressed my finger along all the possible areas to figure out where my pain was located. I felt my tailbone, which is at the top of the butt crack, and it felt raw. I told him that it felt like sitting for 30 minutes would be the equivalent of sitting on a hard, uncomfortable chair for 6 hours. A good doctor will ask you for more information; a bad doctor will hurry you along. Here, my doctor asked about the types of pain I felt in this regard.
From there, he recommended the aforementioned injection.
It’s an interesting consideration about that trauma, especially considering that he hesitated to mention it because I hadn’t experienced any sort of tailbone pain prior to this. Years ago, and I’ll bring this up when I go in for that appointment, I did fall on my rowing machine right on my tailbone. That pain lasted for a while, as I recall, but it wasn’t as painful as this is now. If it were, I would have done something about it like I’m doing now. It was probably a casual pain, like a pain where you might not think it’s a date until you’re halfway done with dinner, rather than something like this persistent pain that interrupts my ability to write, which is secondary to my primary concern: I can’t even sit for more than 15 minutes on a phone call without experiencing pain.
This, too, happened during our video-conferenced call.
Meeting the doctor in-person that I’ve talked to virtually four times will be nice. We’ve had a good rapport during each meeting. It does make a difference to feel like you can actually trust in a doctor rather than having to verify everything. I will, of course, need to verify with my insurance company [and maybe the worker’s compensation company] regarding the particulars of the medication to make sure it’s covered. I’m at the point now where anything I need to have happen, outside of a simple prescription, I check with everyone so that way they’re content with forward-facing progress. It’s exhausting to do. I haven’t been as productive in resting up as I’ve had to deal with communicating with all of these companies that seem hellbent on contradicting each other.
That’s the problem with the American Healthcare System: it doesn’t care about the patient.
So when you find a provider or a contact that does seem to care, it’s almost like an incredible oasis out in the middle of this vast, uncaring desert of tragedy. I’m sure everyone gets busy with what they’re doing and I’m sure that I haven’t acted with the best interests of every single person I’ve ever encountered, but we’re not talking about saintly people here. We’re talking about doing basic things like treating patients like human beings that have a problem that needs solving. It’s nice to know that an injection like this is fairly common and should help resolve this problem. As I consider all the other negative experiences I’ve received, like my old primary care physician prescribing Prozac to me as almost a joke because I was starting to feel disheartened because I couldn’t find any relief from the constant spinal pain I was having back in April and May. It was frustrating dealing with the old pain management doctor that kicked me to the curb because my pain wasn’t something he could stylishly resolve with drugs, but was rather a spine surgery problem. An overwhelming majority of my experiences in the American Healthcare System were a pain in the ass.
Will this injection relieve at least one pain in the ass?
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I’d write more but even writing this in two sections has been a pain in the ass.|
|Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Written On: 2020 October 08 [11:09pm to “the aforementioned injection” at 11:29pm] October 09 [12:10am to 12:27am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 October 09 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|