You know that look/feeling almost every doctor gives you the moment you request stronger pain medicine, even just a refill? I would like to avoid that situation with my doctor but am unsure how to go about it. Here's the situation:
I had an ACDF and Corpectomy/Vertebrectomy at the C6/C7 level on 3/21/12 for cervical myelopathy. Other levels are bulging and show signs of DDD, but none as significant as that level. My pain in my right arm, shoulder, and neck area is greater now after surgery than before surgery; however, the goal of my surgery was to relieve the severe compression of my spinal cord, not to relieve my pain and other symptoms (as my surgeon said). My orthopedic surgeon said he was surprised I was still walking before surgery after seeing my bulging discs and osteophytes during surgery. After the usual pain pump and stuff in the hospital, I was discharged with oxycodone 5 mg, 2-3 every 4 hrs as needed. I have only needed the original prescription I was discharged with plus a refill for mid-April and now May. The first 2 weeks I was taking the pills around the clock, but after that I tapered off to taking 2-3 pills only 2-3 times a day. For my May refill though, instead of oxycodone, I was prescribed Norco 10-325, every 4 hours. I had no problem with downgrading at first, I hate the cycle you get stuck in with feeling nauseous then sleepy with oxycodone but the Norco has not touched my pain. How do I approach my doctor about a different or stronger medicine? Should I wait until this prescription of Norco is gone so it looks like I at least tried it for longer than a week? I am afraid to wait too long because then the doctor might say that if I could survive one month, then I can survive more months. Before I decided to go to Seattle for my current doctor (I live in a fairly rural area of SE Washington), I went to a neurologist where I live but he would not prescribe anything because there is a huge local addiction problem. In fact, most doctors in my area require pain contracts. Right now, my surgeon from Seattle is still prescribing my medicine. I don't know if that means he does not require a pain contract or if it is because I still require follow-up care with him. Seattle is radically liberal compared to where I live. I have actually seen multiple people lighting up a certain illegal substance (hint: it's green and its grows naturally, when not eradicated) in broad daylight in very public places without people blinking an eye on each trip to Seattle that I have taken.
Has anyone been in this situation before? How did you handle it? Any ideas?
Thanks for reading!