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Hi & Glad I Found You All


I am so glad that I found this Forum. I am at a loss in trying to find out if I am asking too much for pain relief from my Dr's.
I'm 62/F Las Vegas & am so disappointed in the medical care here. Lived in DC/Northern Va all my life until 5 yrs ago & the medical care here is just unbelievable. Had 2, L 4-5 laminectomies in 1980's & have DDD, retired on disability. 4 days after arriving in Vegas, I got double pneumonia, pseudomonas, & a staph infection. I still have the staph which has turned into MRSA, which makes no surgeries possible.
In July I woke up with a crink in my neck & within 2 hrs, the most excruciating pain I have ever had all down my arm & neck with numbness, tingling & burning, like a lightning bolt had hit me. The sciatica kicked in full force along with the arachnoiditis from 1980. It was horrible. It was almost 8 weeks of debilitating pain at a 15 pain level. All of this now runs about a 7, with some escalation if I pretty much do anything with my arms, not the 15 like it was.

Xrays, Mri's, EMG's revealed:

Cervical:Extensive posterior disc protrusions C3-C4-C5 & C5-C6. Posterior annular tear C6-C7 intervertebral disc. Broad-based central & right posterolateral disc extrusion C6-C7. Severe bilateral neural foraminal narrowing C3-C4 & moderate foraminal narrowing C4-C5 & C6-C7 levels, & mild bilateral neural foraminal narrowing C5-C6.

Lumbar: Posterior facet joint hypertrophy L1-L2 through L5-S1 bilaterally. Annular tears L2-L3 through L5-S1 intervertebral discs. Posterior disc protrusions L2-L3 L3-L4 & L5-S1 levels. Right posterolateral disc extrusion L4-L5. Mild central spinal canal stenosis L2-L3 L3-L4 & L4-L5 levels.Mild bilateral neural foraminal narrowing L3-L4 with mild right-sided neural foraminal narrowing L4-L5.

EMG: Right Ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow.Bilateral C3-4 & C6-7 involvement. Probable sensorimotor neuropathy.

Knees MRI: Left Knee-Chondromalacia of the patella with Grade 4 chondromalacia of the midpatellar apex. Right Knee-Focal & mid patellar chrondromalacia, Grade 3 with underlying subchrondral cystic changes developing.

I'm a MESS! Again with the above I have the Arachnoiditis which is brutal with the pinging & bee like stings from pelvis to feet,especially in the right femoral thigh nerve.

Vegas has a drug problem. Not even my neurosurgeons will prescribe medication! You have to go to these scam pain management clinics where they are loaded with the ambulance chasing lawyers clients who will submit to anything for a bigger $$$ award. There is no communication from the pain to Neuro at all & here is a PA prescribing what they think works for me & not a Neuro! I even asked my back Neuro, that he if anyone should know what pain I am experiencing & meds would help me. His response was he focused on neurosurgerey & not pain management????? He will not prescribe any RX so the minute you would be released from the hospital, you would have to go to pain management & get a RX! Have you ever heard of such? To think you would let someone go so close to my spinal cord, and still have the trust & confidence in him?

Also no medications are available at the Pharmacies. I have been without any medication for over a month & am slowly, wondering why I am trying to get better? Even my Walgreens that I have used for 5 years has no medication. I went to 17 drive thru pharmacies a week ago Sat. with no luck. I feel like a drug addict having to chase down meds. My Neuro knew this & said I might want to go to the Hospital emergency room for meds. I was so upset & just at my breaking point walking to my car & a young man who was working on the computers in the office there followed me to my car & said he knows what I am going through & felt so sorry for me & pulled out his RX for Oxycodone 10mg & offered me the 11 pills he had left. How sad is that that a stranger offers to help & my own Neuro does nothing. I finally was moved up to in Dec. 6x a day 10-325 percocet which barely takes the edge off & now no one in town has them. They had me on Lortabs 4x 10-325 before. I am so broke with all these medical expenses & have sold everything of value I have & even canceled my homeowners insurance to get $27 back a month. These crazy pain management have tried to sell me on Blood platelet spinning which is $9000.00 for my knees & not covered by any insurance. 2 weeks ago they called in an experimental cream from a compounding pharmacy in California that was $5000.00 for 360 grams! My copay with BCBS was $2247.00. And the pharmacy said that the pain Mgt authorized 6 refills! I called BCBS & told them not to approve it as there was no way I could pay for it & once the compounding pharmacy sent it out, I was obligated to pay for it. I am at a loss as how to get pain relief here. Last month they did a urine test that was $3650.18!!! My copay was $290.00. They did 17 inquiries for the test. Now what could they have been looking for? Gold? I have paid 6 copays of $30. in less than 30 days & still no medicine! I am in excruciating pain, can not walk more than 20 ft & really can not care for myself. I'm a insulin dependent diabetic & my sugars are in the high 300's as I am not eating properly-just cups of noodles & crackers, as I can not go to a grocery store. I go to a gas station grocery & the manager shops for me. I have no family or anyone out here to drive me or help me in anyway. I'm driving with my left foot & can't turn my neck. I go nowhere except to the Dr. & have been stopped 2x for eratic driving & have done major damage to the back of my car backing into something. Very disheartening after driving for 46 years with no accidents or tickets. I've always been so independent & resilient, that I just can't get back on track to do for myself. I just need to be able to mask the pain so I can work through it & that is not happening here. No one here cares! They aren't making any money from me just prescribing pills. I have had to see 3 Neuro's, one for the neck, one for lumbar & one for the ulner nerve as no one here does it all. The 3 have told me even if they could do the surgeries, there is no guarantee that the pain would be gone in the neck, back or elbow. It took me hours to type this in a lot of pain, but I just needed to spill all this & hopefully somebody can give me some insight, suggestions or any info. Am I asking for too much? I am so ready to give up & am so afraid & alone.. Thanks for listening. Annie


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,833
    contains so many various and distinct difference pieces, its very difficult to grasp and understand your situation, except for the fact that you have a laundry list of problems, beyond spinal.

    What does come across is that there are no pharmacies in the city of Vegas that has medications. And that you picked up some narcotics from a stranger.

    You have no medications, you are in extreme pain, yet you are driving. That does not sound safe, since when anyone is in the pain you say, judgement could be impacted, as indicated by you from being stopped by police.

    I would advise you to stream down what you are trying to say, your thread is overwhelming
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 03/28/2014 - 10:29 PM
    If you have any family or any friends you need to call them and ask them to come to you. I know it;s hard to ask for help but you need to do it. I have no idea how your health system works but you need someone with you now. Call your closest friend or a family member and tell them you need them, that you cannot cope, and ask them to come to you. Then if I was me I would ask them to help me get out of Vegas, back to where the Drs know you.
  • Annie 9251AAnnie 9251 Posts: 2
    edited 03/29/2014 - 1:28 AM
    Ron, I am very sorry for overwhelming you & the thread with my post. Everything in my life is overwhelming & I have tried to handle it the best I know how. If you go back & reread, I said the stranger offered me his pills--I did not say that I took them from him & further on, I stated I have been without medication for a month. I am a low income senior, but a rich one being $96.00 per month over the $1300.00 limit to get any help from the 27 agencies/non profits that I have called. I do not have any family left, absolutely no one*** no one*** to help me with driving,etc. Once my obligations are paid, I have less than $300 a month for copays, medicine, food, gas, repairs, emergencies, etc. I have to drive myself as the last thing I could afford is a cab. Everyone I know is in their late 80's/90 that aren't capable of helping. If my complex didn't get free cable/internet, I wouldn't even be able to be on the internet. The pharmacies are under such scrutiny with the DEA here, that everyone is afraid to even prescribe meds.My pharmacist for 5 years, told me that they get such little quantity of pain medicine that they are literally out by the first days of a month. They feel bad about it, but it is beyond their control.
    I never thought by posting here, you would be so insensitive with your post & criticize me for trying to reach out. It is basically the same insensitive treatment that is rampant here. I won't be posting here or visiting this forum again, as the last thing I need is to be made to feel any worse about what is going on in my life. I am in pain, rattled, confused & tried to handle all this the best way I am capable of. This now is another reason, I am having a hard time trying to justify putting myself through all this trying to get well. I really don't want to do this anymore. Please delete my thread. I am again sorry for posting here & overwhelming you & anyone else who might have read it..
  • LC84LLC84 Posts: 599
    edited 03/29/2014 - 3:47 AM
    I hope you continue to give this site more time. Ron was not trying criticizing you, we just want to better understand what you're going through so we can offer the support you need. It does sound like you have a lot of issues but maybe the neck and arm pain is causing you the most problems? If other treatments have failed, maybe surgery would be beneficial? I'm very sorry to hear that you are unable to care for yourself. I know you mentioned trying to call some non profit agencies, but maybe there are still some other options? Have you tried applying for either Medicare/Medicaid insurance? It may be free or very little given your income. If your nerve pain is the primary issues have you tried over the counter pain meds? Ice/heat to the affected areas? Over the counter creams to help relieve pain ( you can ask your pharmacist about these things). Since you've recently been seen my specialists maybe call again and consult with the nurse ( who should consult with the dr) regarding alternative options instead of going in each time. Sometimes having a good primary physician can also help to guide you down the right path, and co-pays may be less than a specialist. I'm sorry to hear that you're having so much trouble, but stay strong and seek other opinions if you are unhappy with the way you're being treated. From what I can tell you are being prescribed pain medication? If it's hard to fill, find out when they get it in so you can fill it when they have it. Have you looked into facilities that may have volunteers willing to help drive you where you need to go? See if something like that is offered in your area. I hope you find relief, I wish you well.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
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