I’m a dentist who lives in the suburbs of New York City. I’ve had CRPS for twenty years. It happened when I had surgery to fix Radial Tunnel Syndrome in my right elbow. (Similar to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome of the wrist). I had a lot of scar tissue in my elbow that was compressing my nerves and stopping me from practicing. Since that surgery, I’ve been in constant pain.
In all that time, I’ve had two main doctors that treated my pain.
They couldn’t be more different.
The first was a pain specialist at a major hospital. He was the typical specialist. His waiting room was always crowded and I never waited less than 45 minutes to see him. He heard enough of what I said to increase my pain meds but never really listened enough to help. He prescribed plenty of pain meds, but I was still in agony and too “doped” up to function. It’s a long story, but I had an intrathecal pump inserted in my abdomen that pumped fentanyl into my spine. It wasn’t helping and he kept ignoring me when I asked to have the dosage increased. We had a falling out when he forced me into rehab but then increased the dosage of fentanyl in my pump. I was in rehab for a week but still was getting fentanyl the entire time. It made no sense.
Then my luck changed.
I told my primary care doctor my story. We had known each other since we did our residencies in the same hospital. He offered to take over my pain control. He had always been the Marcus Welby type doctor and continues to be to this day. In all the time I’ve been his patient, I’ve never been rushed and only had to wait twice when he had an emergency. While my first “doctor” was a nightmare, my current doctor is a Godsend. I consider him to be my angel. He listens to me and we discuss what to do next. When the opioid crisis occurred, nothing changed. He never mentioned reducing or stopping my fentanyl. In fact, we just increased it. I’ve even told him that if he feels uncomfortable writing prescriptions for fentanyl for me, I’ll understand. I don’t want to get him in trouble. Every time I tell him, he tells me not to worry because he isn’t concerned. Given everything I’ve read and the state of prescription medications, I consider myself very fortunate to have such a great doctor.
I’m sorry for those that don’t.