I would like to preface this post by stating very clearly that I do not want what I'm saying to snowball into a "doctor bashing" thread! As we all (should) know, it is against forum guidelines to "doctor bash", and understandably so. I have been tossing the idea of this post around in my head for a few days just to make sure I worded my reasons for why I want to change providers in the least disparaging way to my current pain management clinic.
So, here goes.
After my surgical experience, I learned a whole lot more about pain medications. Not everything, naturally, but enough to know that my current pain management team just hasn't been getting it right in my case. At the hospital, one of the staff doctors came in to discuss my pain management medication plan with me. Kudos to her--not only was she professional, she also had the ability to explain in a clear and understandable manner how pain medications work. After seeing what I'd been prescribed in addition to learning the type of work I do, she asked how on earth I was getting through a day at work. Yes, the 2 10mg oxycodone (and the thought of bills to pay) helped me function enough to get through the work day, but I wouldn't be walking upright by the time I got home. I admitted to this hospital doctor that I could show her an exact schedule of when I had to take a third (but not specifically prescribed) oxycodone--my college schedule. Sitting (especially in night classes for 2.5 hrs +) caused my pain level to skyrocket.
I knew I was taking a huge chance of being red-flagged by this physician by admitting that I was not taking a narcotic "as prescribed". Without overtly knocking my pain management team, she said she thought the long-acting OxyContin may be a better choice for someone in my situation. Anything I've read when I've accessed my charts from this entire procedure and follow ups just states I'm progressing well, and I've seen nothing anywhere about my "misuse of medications". So far, the medication regimen this doctor prescribed has been working well. In that alone, I know I am extremely blessed. I see the anguish in some of your posts surrounding pain management issues, and I just feel plain bad for anyone who has to endure so much to sometimes receive so little (in whatever sense "little" has for you).
I am one of the multiple members on here who have issues in two (or more) regions of my spine, and though my lumbar recovery is going swimmingly, I'll likely still need pain management services for my cervical spine problems. Honestly, I neither feel adequately cared for nor do even feel KNOWN by my current pain management group. I have experienced my lowest pain ranges in a long time in my cervical AND lumbar areas, and that's post-op. In a way, I feel like the doctor who took care of me in the hospital in terms of medications listened in a way that my current pain management providers are not. At times I feel invisible, at other times, under an unnecessary microscope (both of which are demeaning in their own ways). The hospital has a policy that the patient is released after a certain time because they deal solely with post-operative pain management, and I get that.
I've only been to this one pain management clinic, yet I'm concerned with the concept of "doctor-hopping". There are such a wide range of perceptions about this issue. Some places are highly sensitive about people changing physicians--particularly in situations like pain management where narcotics are often part of the equation. If those of you who have had a similar experience to this would please share their knowledge with me, I would be very grateful! Did the process of change go smoothly?
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for anything you might have to offer!
Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
Firm believer in PMA!