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Depression and Marital Advice

I have suffered back pain for a couple of years, but never continuous. Nothing my stoic German heritage couldn't brush under the rug. Recently it is constant 24/7 pain like many others here. I am 32 and male and I am having trouble coping with the loss of my independence and the ability to pull my weight around the house. I just had a major flare up and my pain is not under control. I have been able to hold down my IT job, through flexibility and trust gained from years of hard work.

With this current flare ul my pm doc fast tracked my final epidural for this week (very pushy to get me under the needle). I have a rx for hycod 7.5/500 3/4 daily through primary care, plus norflex and gabapentin.

My pain is not under control and I find myself fighting for help. I am trying to see if one of my docs will set me up with a tens to help through this breakthrough pain. But my pm clinic "doesn't do that"

I feel like some kind of criminal needing to get pain meds. My wife and some family members don't understand the need for all the "pills". Sometimes my wife says why don't you pop another pill when I get grumpy or I am hurting and my temper gets short. She is having trouble because I can't pickup things or keep the yard mowed when my pain is worse.

I feel depressed from having to ask for help and putting the extra stress on my wife. I don't want to push her away, but when my pain is bad like this I either find myself being mean or being distant. I know the pills have effects and change your mood (peaks and valleys) to the point where you don't notice it, but other people do.

I am looking for advice on how to keep a marriage together and how to ask for help when I need it or just general thoughts

I am new here and i just needed to vent too.



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • PamhoffcaPPamhoffca Posts: 163
    edited 07/22/2013 - 1:14 PM
    It is true that unless someone has felt this kind of pain they have no idea what it's like. Since I'm a woman, I guess I get away with crying better than men do. I think my husband took it serious one day (this happened while on vacation) when I collapsed on a puddle of tears and sobbing at the pain and my brother-in-law took over and told my husband, his brothers to get me in the car to urgent care right now. he did and I was given some pain meds that made the rest of the trip more bearable.

    I'm wondering if you need a stronger or different pain med. I had/have Hydrocodone 10-350s and they seemed to manage my pain pretty well. I think the 10mg is the opiate and the 350 the Tylenol. You might ask for a stronger opiate pill. Yours are 7.5 mgs. Start with getting your pain managed and see about getting your dr to order an MRI to get things rolling on a diagnosis.

    Also, hire a gardener for the time being until you are able again. Have a sit Down with our wife and tell her you have sucked it up as long as you can and you now need some help and understanding. Explain to her about the moodiness...that its your way of suffering. You don't cry, you get bitchy. My husband does the same thing,,,,,suffers in silence, get real quiet and distant, then will get sarcastic and mean. He had his medical crisis last year with going blind in one eye....really had to depend on me for many things...driving, yard work etc. Nursed him thru his surgery last July. I was happy to do it...just didn't need his blow-back...understand??? Ironically, it's me In crisis this year and him taking on more. that's love my friend.

    Next, it is obvious that the injections are no longer effective. get the MRI, or an appt with a neurosurgeon ASAP!!!!

    Not sure how your work is, but I took a leave of absence with the Family Leave Act and my job is safe for 12 weeks. I also applied for CA Disability Insurance and got my 1st payment within weeks. it's not my full pay but it helps.

    Hang in there!!!

    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
  • Tired of the painTTired of the pain Posts: 197
    edited 07/22/2013 - 2:20 PM
    Hi and welcome. I have been in and out of the forum since struggling with neck pain back in July 2010. I tried everything other than surgery and then I had to finally get r done! My advice is to get a thorough work up that includes MRI, CAT scan and nerve conduction test. Ask your wife to go with you Once she hears about your diagnosis from a specialist, a nuerosurgeon she may have more respect for what you are going through. I agree with Pam that you need to have a sit down with you pain specialist and tell him you don't get relief.
    My husband is very understanding. After hearing that without surgery I would be paralyzed we both took this more seriously. Even after the surgery I suffered pain and I still do because I found from the nerve conduction test after surgery that there was permanent nerve damage and I resist taking the pills. My husband, friends, coworkers all know when I am in pain because my personality changes and I wear the pain on my face. He will tell me to take a pill because he doesn't know how to cope with the powerlessness he feels with the situation. I know that he would do anything to take my pain away and he prays for me hourly. He does all the housework which makes me crazy because I feel worthless, but he does it because he doesn't want me to risk any aggravation of the pain. I know this because we have had many frank conversation about pain and how this situation has changed our lives.
    I struggle with the frustration of the pain and the lack of controlled and independence. I saw my pain management specialist today and had been on 10 mg of oxycotin 2x a day and Percocet 10/375 3 x a day for breakthrough. I had a revelation today when they told me that I was on a very low dose and we could easily increase it to try to find the effective dose. So tonight I am hoping to have a full nights sleep without waking up and waking my husband up with my cries in my sleep.
    Hope you take some of this advice.

  • Sometimes life throws hard situations at a person. You are having to deal with back pain and the impact on your family relationships. I have a TENS unit and don't use it very often. I was able to get my TENS unit through PT. Did your doctor send you to PT?

    The family situation is more difficult. I am in the IT business as well and have been in various management positions. The one thing that I learned from that is that people are the most difficult thing to manage since we are all different and there are no silver bullets that solve all relationship problems. I think that you will need to better understand your spouse's perspective as well as your other family members. They may even be acting as you would act if things were flipped.

    At any rate here are some suggestions that may or may not work and that you may have already tried:

    1> Involve your wife in visits to your doctor and allow her to ask questions. Openness helps sometimes. I tried that with my wife and she did not want to come.
    2> As far as your other family members, don' worry about their opinions. You should focus on making your wife happy. If she is happy, you will be much happier and have the strength to deal with the other family members.
    3> Ask your wife to read some of the material on this forum. She will discover that you are not the only one that suffers at your age.
    4> If things are starting to get rough for you, seek help from a professional councilor. It is better to get things worked out up front from an independent professional before more damage is done. If you sprain your ankle, you shouldn't keep running on it if you want it to heal.
    5> Your wife is having trouble coping with the new situation. She is young like you and is having a hard time understanding how this can happen at a young age. This is a normal reaction. Cut her some slack when you do feel better and apologize frequently. Let her know that you care about her and are doing your best. You will have to figure out how to make sure that she knows you still care about her. Sometimes this is not easy when placed into a stress situation and the pain is shooting spikes up your back and down you legs. When you feel this coming on, you need to let her know that you need a time-out so that you can respond better. Guess what, I don't do this well either all the time. I messed up big-time yesterday. But I as will be the case for you need to keep trying. Try to be positive. Do what you need to do to keep you and your family happy.
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