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Relationships with doctors

deloriearddeloriear Posts: 19
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Pain Management
I am a new pain sufferer with chronic neck pain due to DDD, Stinosis, arthritis and I am not off to a good start with my Doctors. I am a vet who has private health insurance through my employer but I go to the VA b/c it is cheaper and the NS at the VA has a respected private practice in Albany NY. He is only there 1 day a week and he is at his private practice 4 other days. I went to him and he recommended going to see his colleague (pain management specialist) b/c I had private insurance. Well, if you have read previous posts PM DR has treated me like a drug addict who wants pain pills and it almost makes me want to live with pain just so I don't have to deal with him. I haven't have pain meds in 2 months due to PM attitude but can no longer deal with pain. Anyone out there deal with the VA. I don't know much about VA drs but I know they have an inferior reputation. Should I stick with the VA or pay and see another PM dR. The VA Dr recommended the PM Dr b/c they are colleagues but I hate his attitude but don't want to tell my NS from the VA his collaegue is a jerk. I feel like I don 't want to insult anyone. I myself have a PhD and know I am just as educated but feel as if they look down on me as a pill pusher but haven't had meds in a long time and my pain is becoming unbearable. I don't know what to do..any advice?


  • Hello - Pain makes us do a lot of things, like blame ourselves for being there. We don't deserve this either! There is another Vet here - His name is "disabled Veteran". Find one of this posts and PM him. He is a no nonsense kind of guy and will help you!

    I would find another Dr and tell your NS that he is a jerk.

    Pain Management is just that, management. It involves a lot of things but it certainly involves meds first!
  • I don't know anything about the VA but I do have experience with PM docs and PM clinics. As a rule, I think, these clinics treat patients poorly. When I mentioned my observation to my current PM doc, (adding that my dog is treated better by the vet) she responded that my dog isn't going to the vet to try to get pain meds. You kind of have to feel bad for these docs if its true that 50% of the people who walk through their doors really are drug seekers. But in what way are you or I responsible for that? Find a new doc. This guy should have dropped the attitude after chatting with you a bit and realizing you are on the up and up. Let the physician who recommended him know how poorly you've been treated. There are some really good, caring PM docs out there among the many who have become jaded and cynical because of the junkies. Happy hunting. Susan.
  • I don't know anything about VA care...but I agree with optimist's sentiments.

    I also agree that the doctor deserves to know how his fellow practioner is treating patients. You can find a way to tell your doctor without insulting the PM doc. It wouldn't hurt to tell him you have been doing without any pain medication because you do not want to have to deal with this man. Perhaps that is why the PM acts this way -- he makes things sufficiently difficult that the patient has to really need the medications to put up with his attitude.

    In any case, you shouldn't have to deal with this and be made to feel the way you do. I guess I have been very lucky in that I have never experienced anything close to this. But I have read many others' stories on this forum.

    I hope you will have better luck with a new doctor.
  • My Primary gives my meds. I've seen PM Drs just for the injections. That is so wrong you're in pain. I hope you find a good Dr. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I am so sorry for your ordeal.
    I am personally fed up with drs being scared to treat us and using druggies against us.
    If we have legitamate and documented proof of our pain and conditions, I feel drs should not even bring it up! Not just anybody should walk in a dr office and get drugs. If a patient or dr can't show proof of pain THAT person just needs to be kicked to the curb. Legitamate drs shouldn't be afraid to help us in true need and documented conditions at all. Whats so hard about that? I don't get it! If a dr is afraid to treat us then there is a problem if he can't tell the diference by exam and exrays,prior surgeries and documented problems. I am just bout fed up with them using druggies against us. They should have no fear if we are for real and should be able to tell the difference.
    Through rambling, just angers me!!!!
    Good luck to you and don't settle for less than you deserve and don't give up!
    None of us should have to live with less than the quality of life any human should have.
    If drugs are all that help then drugs are what we need.
    There's a difference in needing and wanting and there's a difference in being addicted
    And being dependant, and my dependance is on a better quality of life!

  • I would recommend sending a message to Michael aka Diasbled American Veteran http://www.spine-health.com/user/disabled-american-veteran

    He is extremely familiar with the VA system and is always willing to help!

    I agree with several of the previous posters, that a.) you should notify the NS of his colleagues attitude and b.) find someone to treat your pain.

    If you don't want to use your private insurance, speak with Patient Advocacy at your local VA. They can also assist you in finding another PM doc, however he/she will most likely work in the same clinic and may be influenced by the doc you are seeking to avoid.

    Good luck and Welcome to Spine Health.

  • I am like Charry. I get my pain med refills from my primary care physician. He says he knows nothing about spine issues, but he knows I am a responsible individual. He put me on MS Contin, I stopped myself five months later because it was wrecking my stomach. He gave me a Rx for 360 Vicodin tablets, I take one a day. I just got a Rx for Gabapentin good for a year.

    About VA hospitals: I know an elderly man who goes to your VA hospital and gets good care. I don't think all VA hospitals are bad. That said, I agree with everyone else. Stop going to a PM doctor who gives you a lot of crap. Since you have private insurance, use it. Find a good PM doctor who will tell you which drugs are right for your condition, and get you started with the right Rx.

  • He is very knowledgable about the VA.
    And I know whenever my dad has problems with VA, he's at his desk typing letters to our local congressman who has helped him get results on a few occassions. He's all into the political side of it all. He's good at getting results and always gets a response back from congresman and his support.
    I've read several of dis. Vets comments and he's blunt and to the point. He could really help you. Find him and see what he says. He's very educated bout the VA and what to do.
    Good luck to you!
  • This site is tremendous, what support. I talked to my NS and his colleague and without much detail he said the PM Dr is going through "personal problems" and is currently planning a move to Tampa. My NS is in his late sisxties, maybe 70 and he is "old school" saying Dr's today are paranoid regarding pain meds. I'm not going to read into what PM is going through, I don't want to know. I will use private insurance. I guess the thing that bothered me the most is I brought a copy of my latest MRI to PM and he said that for a young man I have some pretty significant damage to my spine, then he turns around and pulls this. By nature, I'm a guy who hates arguing or any type of conflict, but you are all correct...pain will make you act different. Thanks again for all of your help...I just would love to find a compassionate Dr.
  • Over a year ago my primary doctor sent me to a PM doctor. After two visits and his attitude didn't drop, mind you he never wrote me script for any pain meds but thought that was what I was after...I returned to my primary doctor and he searched for over a year to find a person that wasn't a quack. When I met the new pain guy I told him I didn't want meds but that was all that worked right now...until he figured something else out I wasn't going to go cold turkey. He spent an hour talking to me and helping me find alternative ways to look for relief. He listened to me...didn't judge me for pain med use and actually wrote my script for them to contact him when I needed refills. I don't abuse them and try to stretch them out...but sometimes you can't. He was so understanding and never judged me. I have more faith in him for looking past that and realizing I wasn't seeking anything put relief. Find you another doctor and keep looking until you feel comfortable.
  • I'm glad I have drs that listen and don't judge me,too. I just hear over and over again there attitude, using druggies against us with legitamate issues, and documented! If they are are on the up and up and doing right, they shouldn't have to worry and freskout on US. They have documented proof!!!!!
    It's a ridiculous attitude they have about it, they are or should be educated enough to tell the difference.. you woud think so.
    But I agree, find another dr and be upfront with them that this is what it takes til they can 'figure' something else better to do!
    Good luck!!!
  • While on active duty and in the desert, I had a couple of injuries that I had to get VA care for once I returned stateside.

    Paperwork for the VA stinks! It is a government system within itself. However, every doctor I saw was top notch. If not for the red tape, I wouldn't mind using VA doctors all the time.

    Most PCP's will only write pain med prescriptions for short periods oif time. If they continue to write them, they have to file reports with the FDA/DEA. Most doctors go out of their way to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Most PM's have drug tests and pill counts so that they can justify the amount of medications dispensed.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Since you have private insurance, use it and find some doctors that respect you! I realizes its cheaper to go the VA, but its not worth the inferior care. With a few exceptions like Walter Reed, Brooks in San Antonio, USHSC, most VA hospitals work the way any other government involvement in medicine works (or doesn't work I should say!!). The employees (from aides, to secretaries to nurses) are the epitome of careless government employees, and with the exception of some good residents rotating through and attendings that have to do their day a week at the VA for university tenureship, the docs are pretty pathetic. A few are there because they genuinely care about those who served us, but that number is really the minority, plus they have to deal with all the government bureaucracy that burns out even the best of docs quickly. The docs get paid less than half of what they would make "on the outside" (many are just trying to get their J-1 Visa's)...it sad we think so little of our vets. You can extrapolate my sentiment on "government run medicine" but this isn't a place to be political.
    So, in your best interest, to get yourself well and treated with respect, use your private insurance and see someone "on the outside". Good luck and thanks for your service.
  • Since everyone of the above replies gave you excellent suggestions regarding obtaining a new PM doc, I won't revisit that issue.

    My reply is mainly regarding: referrals.

    Sometimes (not always, but mostly) docs meet up in one way or other, and will give each other business cards, or hear about a particular doc through word of mouth (much like ourselves) and don't actually know them on a personal level. Maybe they just heard "of" them. Hopefully that's what happened in this case.

    Personal problems or not, he should not have treated you the way you were treated. No one who has legitimate medical problems - no matter what they may be - should ever EVER be treated that way. PLUS, everyone is entitled to a second opinion.

    My father was 83 when he passed away recently. He was a WW2 vet. In the late 70's early 80's, he was going through VA for some issues he was having. He HATED the VA clinics here in Louisiana. And swore he would never go back. And he didn't. He had private insurance provided through the Local Union where he worked and saw doctors of his own chosing. Some 20-30 years later, I imagine the VA doctors have gotten better (at least I hope so). Our veterans deserve better.
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