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Please help... I don't know what to do... I'm at my breaking point.

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Lower Back Pain
I have a herniated L4-L5, bulged L3-L4, tear in L2-L3, and a bunch of other crap wrong with my lumbar spine, spinal canal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and some other stuff I can't remember at quarter to three in the morning on a work night.

Currently on a 100mcg/h fentanyl patch every 48 hours ($106/10), Lyrica 150mg 2x daily ($496/200) Hydrocodone 5mg 1/6hrs ($65/30) and Baclofen 20mg 3x daily, as well as Cymbalta (unsure of dosage, unsure of cost)

Unsure of the dosage on Cymbalta because my drug plan is maxed out. Unsure of cost on baclofen because I currently have some left.

3 Fentanyl patches left, about 8 Lyrica left, and a pile of the hydrocodone left (It makes me sick as hell, so I try not to take it. I am currently working on a different breakthrough medication, even though I won't be able to afford it)

What are my options here?

My drug plan is 'maxed out' according to the reply from the druggist and I can't afford to lay out a g-note a month for drugs, even though there are days that I can hardly even walk.

I am currently still working as a truck mechanic but my workload is limited, thus, so is my paycheck as I work on a flat-rate system where I get paid based on the jobs I do.

Flat rate: Say if a brake job pays two hours, and I get it done in one, I get paid two hours. If I do the same brake job in FOUR hours, now that I am injured.... I still get paid two.

Plus having been recently abandoned by my (now) ex-wife, I am saddled with an obscene amount of bills, behind on almost everything including my mortgage...

I am really up shit creek.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I am in SW Ontario, if it matters.

I looked into the Trillium program, and it appears that I will have to spend almost $3000 of my own money as a deductible before I receive any assistance. This isn't going to help me much, as I am currently in need of about $750 worth of prescriptions TODAY...and I am sure my doctor's appointment tomorrow is going to have me trying something different for breakthrough pain.

Suggestions there would also be appreciated. I have tried the following:

Oxycocet 5/325 1-2 as required (used to work)
Dilaudid 2mg 1-2 as required (never worked)
Oxycodone 5mg 1-2 as required (used to work -- after being on the oxycocet for so long the tylenol ripped up my guts)
Oxycodone 10mg 1-2 as required (used to work after the 5mg stopped working they upped the dose to 10-20mg)
MS Contin 15mg 1/12 hrs (poor choice by some doctor -- a time release formula that basically is built on the same chassis as the Fentanyl patches... as well, any morphine derivatives have not done much for me in the past.. had 8mg intravenous morphine at the hospital and it didn't even take the edge off)
Tramacet (can't remember the dosage but it made me sick as hell)
Tramadol (can't remember the dosage but it made me sick as hell as well)

Currently taking Hydrocodone (5mg) and the first one I took made me high as a kite, and nauseated as hell. I took the first one about 1:45 pm on Saturday, and was at home in bed by 2:30. Couldn't function. Hard time walking, sweating, nausea, almost vomited, migraine headache. I ended up being in so much pain I tried taking another one this afternoon (Sunday about 8pm) and it didn't do anything at all.

I got an injection of Torridol (sp) at the hospital last weekend, didn't do shit.

I used to take naproxen regularly as an anti-inflammatory but it didn't seem to do anything.

I was also taking Valium at one point as a muscle relaxant, 5mg, it wasn't doing anything, as far as I know.

I would like some pain relief. I began dating a girl about 3 weeks ago, and she mentioned to me something to the effect that she's never seen me not in pain. For a while there, I was doing quite well. Unfortunately, this was immediately before I met her. She is truly an angel... she is so concerned with my pain level, if I'm feeling alright, every day asks me how I am feeling, it's absolutely astounding. She has more concern for me, in only having gone out with me 2 or 3 times, than my ex had in the four years I went out with her.

I would love to at least show her I can not be in pain. I would love to go for a walk with her on the beach, dance, ride bicycles....anything. She knows I can do it, and has faith in me...but I am sometimes beginning to wonder if I even have faith in myself.

The best the neurosurgeon can do is September 20th for a consult. This is after my consultation in June's report said something to the effect of "If Mr. Angry Hillbilly can continue managing with medications, there will be no need for surgery." I have explicitly stated to EVERY health practitioner that I AM NOT TAKING PILLS FOREVER. I am getting so frustrated with the health Canada runaround.

I called a spine surgery place in Ohio on a wednesday afternoon. The lady told me unfortunately they were closed on Thursday, but they could get me in first thing Friday morning. TWO DAY WAIT. A TWO DAY WAIT. I have to wait TWO MONTHS for a CONSULTATION, which will likely put surgery sometime four to six months down the road. Oh, why don't I get it done in Ohio you ask? $20,000 is the CASH price. Edited is the place. I'm not faulting them on the price, it's just not something I am keeping in a shoebox under my bed right now.

I had a cortisone shot in February. Another specialist appointment in March. Scheduled for a laminectomy in June. Got a staph infection in my back week before laminectomy surgery was scheduled. Had to miss the surgery. Had an appt in late june with Neuro here in Windsor as a follow up from my stay in the hospital after loss of bladder control in late March about a week after the appointment with the orthopedic surgeon in London.

I can't take this anymore. I am becoming a disappointment to myself, my employer, my co-workers, my father, and last but very not least, my new sweetheart. I can't get out of bed in the morning. I can't pick my cat up to set him up on my shoulders. I can hardly get in and out of my truck.

I am continued to be forced to work as I am unable to pay bills otherwise, and disability doesn't even come close to paying any of my mortgage, let alone any of the associated costs of a house that I no longer wish to live in.

What do I do here? Someone please offer me a suggestion aside from checking myself into the funny farm...

URL Removed. Solicitation or advertising of other companies, products, services, or web sites is not permitted. Moderator haglandc


  • Long time no chat!!! I am so sorry you are where you are at now. *HUGZ* Trying to think of alternatives here....okay? Aside from Ohio, have you looked closer to the border? What I mean is Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester? They have excellent health care, and I am sure (due to their size), there are Neurologist or Orthopedist (I don't know which you are using) there? I would also guess the cost would be much lower?

    I can't speak to the medications as most of my pain is nerve, and Lyrica takes that to a level I can deal with. Pain stinks period, and so I can fully understand your present frustration, so just looking to areas that might help? Burlington is another area I can think of? I hope you can find "sooner" consult than what you have now. I am again sorry you are in this position. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Nodding... I think we ALL do that at one time or another Hillbilly!! I know for me, when I hurt a lot, my emotions are very tender, and as such, we see the other happenings in our lives more intensely. It's kind of like watching a movie you've seen 10 times, the hero dies and you cry like a baby for an hour over it!!

    Nothing 'un'manly about that Hill!! *HUG* As for the advice of your nurse friend, yeah I know the thought of going that route isn't sitting well with your morales, but when we get to a certain point, and no one will help.... I think that is possibly part of the survival instinct in us? We all have a point where the rubber meets the road and we have to do something! I don't think you should look down or think less of yourself even thinking of taking her advice. If I could take all of our pain away, you betcha I would!

    Always here if you need an ear or a hug darlin!!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Why can't you return to the Surgeon who was going to do the surgery before you got the infection? Great to hear about your new girl friend she sounds very supportive. I hope you find a Dr. to help you. I live in To and met a great Neurosurgeon but unfortunately was unable to help me. No one will do surgery on me due to minor issues on my MRI though I have major pain everyday for over two years. Good luck and keep us posted. 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
  • The doctor I was seeing before, RETIRED.

    The FRIDAY after I was supposed to have my surgery, on Thursday. I know that it's likely not the case, and the same care goes into every one... but I'm not sure I'd like to be the last surgery someone did.
  • Hey Brenda, Missed ya.

    Traveling to Ohio is not that much of a stretch for me. It's only about a 120-150 minute ride from Windsor, the way I drive.

    It's the cost that is prohibitive.

    Burlington/Toronto is an idea, I had a customer from up near Toronto who's truck I fixed and his wife/girlfriend (Super, SUPER nice people) told me she's an O.R. nurse up there and mentioned I should go to "x" hospital (the name escapes me right now) to emerg, and likely if I complain just right, I will get emergency surgery. I pray it does not come to that, but if it does, I will do it.

    I slept... maybe about 90 minutes last night, and it was very broken sleep. *Sigh*. The problem is I find myself overthinking stuff, especially with work, medications, and my girlie too...

    "What if work says?!"

    "How the hell am I going to pay for this?"

    "What the hell does she see in me, that's making her stick around?"

    Stuff I'll obviously never know the answer to, but makes me lose sleep anyhow.

    I suppose I had better start my "getting ready for work" procedure, it should only take me about 40 minutes to get my pants on today, I'm thinking. It's almost enough to reduce a 6'4, ~230lb guy to tears. Not the pain, I mean. The thought of how EDITED long oit takes to dress myself is the upsetting portion....

    I'll give 'er a go today.


    Sorry, but cursing, especially the particular word used, is not allowed. Removed by authority member, Cath111.

    My apologies, frustration took over. Won't happen again.
  • Well, I'm in the US, and I haven't found anyone who is a 2 day wait for a first appointment :) So, you might have just gotten lucky ;) I waited a month and a half for my surgeon of choice, and then got cancelled and waited 3 more weeks. Supply and demand works the same everywhere.

    I have no clue as to the system there, so not much help, but lots of positive thoughts coming your way. I know that my doctors always have ways of doing things cheaper if needed, I sure hope yours does too!
  • You oughta check out the website in my above post... they do a non-invasive procedure... and from what they told me, their waiting period is very reasonable.

    they have locations in Ohio and Texas.
  • BAH,
    We all set of with the intention that we did not want to be taking medication forever and given the chance or opportunity we all thought it would have ended, although is has not.

    Pain is a test of oneself and we all have similar problems with only limited options which seem to get less over time and we all want that pain to be less or repaired, managing it is only a second option and we all wanted a satisfactory outcome, CP is never as simple as we initially imagined. In some way we are all angry with what has happened and although most here keep that hidden, proportionate venting is at times helpful, better out than in.

    On the basis that the things you have tried have been less than successful we can only offer proposals and ideas for improvement, each has to find a suitable plan for themselves and see what specifically works for them, this does take time.

    We all had time when we fought ourselves and used that strategy against ourselves, it is understandable and time will improve things or even the perception of how things are now. The future is never as we imagined and pain does highlight the shortfall in squaring when we expect and what happens in reality.

    Many here have vast experience of what you are experiencing and they are here to help you, we cannot do the impossible or change this, you are working through your limited options and if we can help you more with that process we are here to help. Over thinking has its place and does intend to cover all the options, what things can you do to help yourself, we can all relate to that frustration and the time scale.

    Those limited options at times have to be experienced to be fully understood, we have that knowledge and support. With all those decisions arriving at once we sometimes feel overwhelmed at which way to turn and what to do for the best, do what you feel is right and change it when you find something that works more effectively or suitable.

    Others sometime see the gifts that we have that we do not see in ourselves and can see beyond the pain and the effort you are making to endure this challenge and try your best.

    Take care and be kind to yourself.


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