As you may already know, I’ve been incapacitated due to back pain. Serious back pain. Serious pain.
My HMO, in their infinite wisdom, recently reassigned me from the primary care physician who has been my doctor for more than 9 years to some new guy I’d never met before. I found out via a letter, one unsuspecting day, announcing to me that I could no longer go to my regular, much-trusted doctor, anymore.
I groused and I bitched and I moaned for the two or three weeks between when I received the notice and when I actually had to go to the doctor’s office. Let me make one thing clear: I fully intended to look into who this new doctor was and pick someone else before I needed to make an appointment. Of course, me being me, I got busy and three weeks later, I still hadn’t.
What that meant was that the morning when I woke up in so much pain that I could barely sit up enough to talk on the phone, much less get out of bed, I had to call my HMO to get the particulars on this new doctor. Then I had to call the doctor’s office to try to get an appointment.
And I find out that my new doctor doesn’t take appointments, only walk ins. And he only sees patients between 10 am and 3 pm. Lovely.
I got my brother to drive me to the doctor’s office, which was as unimpressive as you could get without actually doing it on purpose.
Relatively speaking, he did get to me within a couple of hours of waiting. Of course, I was in so much pain I had to ask one of his nurses to find a place for me to lay down while I waited.
The doctor saw me, told me that it was probably a pinched nerve, gave me some anti-inflammatory medicine and some muscle relaxers and sent me for x-rays. He said that based on what the x-rays showed I might need an MRI.
I asked him for pain medication. On more than one occasion I asked him for a prescription for pain medication. He said that the anti-inflammatory contained something that would take care of the pain. Reluctantly, I believed him.
I went for x-rays that afternoon. I got my prescriptions filled. And I spent the weekend resting.
I should say right now that even in full rest, in bedrest, on the medication, I was still in some pain. But I’ve thrown my back before and I know that some pain is expected.
So I did something really stupid. I went to work on Monday. And that’s when the fun really began.
UPDATE: see a chronology of pain, part 2.