Wanted: Orthopedic/Pain Specialist in Ohio
I suffer from multiple conditions that cause chronic pain in my lower back and neck. These include several ruptured discs, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, arthritis, canal stenosis, scoliosis, and others. My family doctor treated my pain for nearly 20 years with a combination of chiropractic treatments, physical therapy referrals, narcotics, and muscle relaxers.
In April of 2007, he changed my medication from 7.5mg of Percocet four times a day to 20mg of oxycontin three times a day. A year later, when my pain continued to worsen, he referred me to an orthopedist.
I continued to see my family doctor and the orthopedist each month through November of 2008. The plan was for the prescription-writing responsibilities to be transferred to my family doctor once the orthopedist found the proper mix of medication. Note: The orthopedic doctor spent only about 5 minutes with me on two separate visits. All other appointments were with his LPN. When I refer to "the orthopedist," I am referring to his LPN.
The orthopedist, my family doctor, and I agreed on a treatment plan. My pain would be treated with medication until my insurance company approved skin reduction surgery and a panniculectomy (I am a gastric bypass patient). If I still experienced the same level of pain after the skin reduction and panniculectomy, or if the insurance company denied the appeal, I would undergo spinal cortisone injections.
Due to my body size, previous injections had failed. I have had nine injections in the past, and none of the doctors were able to inject in the correct location. However, all of these were "blind" injections without the use of an x-ray during the injections.
During my regular monthly appointments with my family doctor, we discussed my progress with the orthopedist. I told my family doctor that the medication he had been prescribing was more effective than the medication the orthopedist was prescribing. During the first few months I was under the orthopedist's care, while she experimented with different medication mixes, I was completely incapacitated much of the time. My family doctor continued to prescribe oxycontin as a supplement to the medication prescribed by the orthopedist.
By July of 2007, I was still experiencing pain, but to a much lesser degree. The orthopedist said that her goal was to achieve 65 percent pain relief, and this was the best she could do. When I informed my family doctor, he continued to prescribe oxycontin, but at a lower dose. However, I stopped filling his prescriptions in July.
In November, I was scheduled to have a rectal surgery to remove hemorrhoids, fissures, and fistulas. When I informed the orthopedist, she said that because of my body's tolerance to narcotics and my body size, the surgery would cause so much pain it would be unbearable. I asked her if she could prescribe some additional medication so that I could function after the rectal surgery, but she refused.
I panicked. My lifestyle requires that I work 70-80 hours a week. In addition, I care for my two young children full-time, and I am halfway through my second master's degree. I am also in the process of applying to a Ph.D. program due to start in September. I could not be placed in a position where I was unable to work, care for my children, or continue my studies.
By this time, I had four month's worth of unfilled prescriptions, so I proceeded to fill one to ensure my ability to function and uphold my responsibilities after the rectal surgery. When I returned to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription, the pharmacist said it could not be filled because I was being treated by another doctor. Two days later, I received a letter from my family doctor saying that he was terminating our doctor/patient relationship due to "illegal behavior."
I contacted my family doctor immediately to ask him what I had done that was illegal. I told him I had no idea it was illegal to fill a valid prescription written to me by my family doctor of 20 years. I also asked him why he continued to write prescriptions if he did not intend for me to fill them, but he refused to return my calls. The orthopedist also refuses to treat me.
Meanwhile, I have been unable to secure treatment from another orthopedist, and my medication will be depleted by the end of the year. At that time, I will be facing withdraw symptoms that could be fatal. I was taking 40mg of Opana ER twice a day, 5mg of Opana IR twice a day (for "breakthrough" pain), and 800mg of Skelaxin three times a day.
I am seeking an orthopedist who will treat my pain. I am open to spinal cortisone injections (under an x-ray) if that is my only option, but I prefer to remain on medication until after my skin reduction and panniculectomy.