Nov. 16, 2017

Pain Management Center Consult

Pain management is interesting.  The day after my temporal artery biopsy, I had an appointment with a pain management center.  To say the least, it was interesting, but the part that I really appreciated was that they, not one person, treated me like I was faking my pain in order to get attention and medication.  I’m incredibly stubborn.  I will choose to suffer before I ask or accept help, so keeping this appointment was a huge step for me.

I used my temporary disabled parking placard and parked right by the front door.  I needed this because I had pain running up and down my spine and down both legs.  Using a cane is humbling for me, but I used it.

Checking in was different this time.  I had never been handed a tablet to enter all my information before.  It was perfect has the tremors in my hands make my handwriting nearly illegible.  Within a couple minutes after handing the tablet back, I was brought in by a very sympathetic nurse.  This is unusual for me as I’m used to being forced to try to keep up with them.  She was friendly yet professional, and kept her pace to mine as she directed me to my assigned exam room.  As she proceeded for her check-in process, her sympathetic nature remained.  Not the type that made that “rod” in my spine stiffen, but one that made me feel like she seriously cared.  Apparently, one of my answers to one of their questions in the survey made her more inclined to help.

Within minutes of the nurse completing her process, the physician’s assistant named Dustin, who I was scheduled with, came in and asked precise questions and carefully listened to my concerns.  This isn’t always the case when seeking treatment, unfortunately.  He was also friendly, professional, and caring.  He studied the MRI results and asked if I was comfortable with him enough for him to do an examination.  For this, I had to perch myself on the exam table while he checked my spine and legs.  I am an extremely large woman and he was much smaller in size compared to me.  Yet, he took my hand and placed it on his shoulder to balance as I stepped up onto a stepstool in order to get on the table.  In my experience, a lot of medical providers don’t risk themselves to assist a patient who is considerably larger than they are.  Dustin was completely professional in his examination and thorough as he provided options. 

We settled on epidural steroid injections.  Yeah…a huge needle poking into my spine.  Can you feel my excitement?  Dustin assured me that this was an excellent option, considering the results of my MRIs and his examination.  He also gave me time to consider the other options.  Once we made the decision on the injections, he told me what to expect in terms of scheduling and insurance then led me back to the scheduling desk.

It took about four weeks for an appointment with their surgery center, which is in Bellevue.  This gave them time to gain prior authorization from my insurance. 

Everything about this appointment impressed me.  The care in which every professional in the pain management center was evident.  It takes a lot to impress me, so that should say something.  My gratitude is immense.

Next…epidural steroid injection procedure.