I wanted to share my details and am curious if this was “normal”. My appointment a week ago and I wrongly assumed there would be something like a couch to recline on. Guess I have watched too many movies. lol I have severe S1 nerve damage, and must stay reclined or within 20 to 30 minutes my pain starts skyrocketing.
The neuropsychiatrist chatted with me for 20 to 30 minutes, asking about my schooling, my family, my life, etc. Why do I want the SCS, why do I think I deserve the SCS over someone else.
When he was done with the verbal questioning, he took me to another room with a countertop and standard office chair, the kind that you can lean back in if you have control with your feet on the ground. I thought that chair would be fine, but I was wrong. It only came across my mid-back and did not support my back and head. He then gave me several things - a pain rating sheet, asking many questions, wanting the best thorough answer I could come up with. It had options to click what type of pain - stabbing, burning, constant, etc. What are the first 5 things I would do in priority order if my pain were diminished?
What meds am I currently on. What things help lessen my pain. What triggers my pain or makes it worse.
He also gave me the 567 question MMPI2 test, with a question booklet and answer sheet, with ovals to color in with a pencil. All true/false, asking the same questions over and over but in different ways. Example: I love to go to parties; I tend to talk to people I meet; I consider myself outgoing; My friends would describe me as shy.
From what I have read, these questions are repeated/rephrased to evaluate if you are being truthful. They have all kinds of ways to rate it - faking good, faking bad, etc.
In my case, after my 20 minutes or so in that office chair and after the 30 minute interview, my back started spasming something awful so I quickly got on the floor, which was a concrete floor with commercial carpet. I lay on my back and worked to complete the test, holding it up so the light wasn't in my eyes. At one point, the doc left his office and saw me on the floor. He brought me a clipboard and a cushion to put under my head. (I had already explained to him my limitations with sitting/pain.) :''(
I think I took 35 more minutes that they expected, but it really slowed me down lying on the floor. After a while, I was able to get back up and try to finish. The pain was getting really horrible and I didn't have any options. If I got up to take a break, my back would have still been killing me. The answer is always to lie down or fully recline, and the only option I had was the hard floor.
My husband had come to pick me up (oldest son had driven me) and when we got to the car, I was trying to be really upbeat and hold it together. But when he stopped to get me something to eat and went in the store, I fell apart. My pain was at an 8+ and hadn't been that bad in a while. We had the van seat reclined with a pillow for me, the heated seat on, and were doing the best we could. It has now been 8 days, and the pain flare this visit triggered is finally calming down.
I got to the appointment at 1:00 and left at 3:40. I think they expected me to be done around 3pm. I had to really focus on the questions to make sure there was or was not a "not" in that question. Missing that "not" changes the entire answer for that question.
I simply answered all 567 questions truthfully, trying not to overthink the answers. Some really odd ones, such as “Did I abuse animals as a child” type questions. By the time the pain really escalated, it was getting really hard to read the questions and fill in the ovals on the answer sheet. I was mentally and physically worn out by the time I finished and wished I hadn’t had such a pain flare during the experience.
I will find out this coming week if I “passed”. My doc can’t imagine that I wouldn’t and I am trying not to worry about it. If I am found to not be a good candidate for the SCS, we will continue with meds adjustments and eventually end up with a pain pump (per the doc on the last visit). I really would like an opportunity to see if the SCS could diminish the S1 nerve pain signals. If so, I think it is highly probable that I could be much more active and return to doing some of the things I used to enjoy.
Did anyone else have such an involved psych evaluation? I apologize for the length of the post, but when I was searching for information, I would have loved to find one full of details. Hope this helps someone else who may be searching or info.
Thanks for reading,