I’m to see a new pain specialist (my third) next week, but I was hurting so much this morning that I called my internist and got a late appointment. He changed my oxycodone prescription to a much higher dose of Oxycontin (time-release oxycodone) and nearly doubled the Neurontin. He also suggested that I might be an candidate for a TENS unit (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) or an electrical implant. I already have a TENS unit, but I never used it much and would greatly prefer an implant anyway because that way I wouldn’t have to change out pads, snake wires through my clothing, position the leads, and so on. Besides, one TENS unit wouldn’t be enough. By comparison, an implant would be worry free except for having to go in to have the batteries replaced.
I didn’t initially tell my internist about the new pain specialist because I was afraid he would want to hold-off on increasing my narcotic dosage (as he was, he gave me so much more than expected that I could have kissed him). After my internist left the office, his assistant started talking about the pain specialist he wanted me to see (for the TENS unit or implant), so I told her about the one I’m already supposed to see. She said she would ask the internist whether to cancel the referral he was going to make, but I asked her to put it through anyway because it takes months to see one of these guys, and since I don’t know how I’ll like the one I’m to see next week, I had just as soon have a replacement lined-up.
I chose next week’s pain specialist based upon the fact he used to inject steroid shots into my osteonecrotic (as in dead) neck vertebra. This was a big deal requiring a twilight sleep anesthetic and a fluoroscope, and since he struck me as competent and kindly, I had my back surgeon in Portland (the one I saw in February) refer me to him. Still, he wasn’t a pain specialist when I last saw him, and I haven’t been impressed with pain specialists. You would think that, if there’s one kind of doctor who would be compassionate, it would be a pain specialist, but that hasn't been my experience.
I get so tired of living in pain (having been doing it for around eight years now), yet I came home with a small degree of renewed hope. So many people don't have a doctor who gives a rip, and at least I have a good internist. The problem is that he's my age, so he'll probably be retiring before too many more years.