Your first thought might be, “back from where?” But, you’d be wrong. Not that kind of back. It’s the kind of back that keeps us upright and keeps us moving. But this time, it isn’t my back, it’s my husband’s.
I went through two years of misery with pain in my back and hips to the point that I couldn’t roll over in bed, I couldn’t get out of bed and when I did, I had to stand still for a moment or two and wait for the wave of pain to subside. I remember standing beside my bed one morning and wondering if I was going to wet my pants before I was able to move my legs. Then, after hobbling to the bathroom, I never knew if I was going to be able to get up off the toilet or not. Sometimes the waves of pain that encompassed my entire pelvic region was so severe, it would make me shake.
Over two years I tried chiropractic care; I got a new mattress, different shoes, and finally decided I would call my primary care doctor. I went to her office not really thinking she’d be much help to me; that all she would offer me would be muscle relaxants, but after I told her what all I’d done to try and fix my problem and the length of time I’d been dealing with, she advised me to get an MRI. I was so happy, I almost cried and I told her so.
The MRI, which was done only to my back, showed I had some degenerative disks disease and normal aging changes and some disk protrusion, but nothing major. After these results, she referred me to a pain management doctor. I’d never been to one but I’d heard of them but I really had no idea what they did. Of course, as with making a new patient appointment with a specialist, I had to wait two months for my appointment. And believe me, by now I was counting the days. I could do nothing that did not cause me extreme pain. I couldn’t get out of the car, I couldn’t walk up stairs or even bend over without leaning on something so I could push myself back up. The silver lining here was, my husband started unloading the dishwasher for me, a job I hate.
Early in 2019 I had one an epidural steroid injection in my back and when that didn’t solve the problem, the doctor suggested that it might very well be my sacroiliac joints. I had an injection every two or three months in my sacroiliac joints and although they did give me some relief, (along with temporary paralysis to my leg), it wasn’t until I quit my part-time job that my joints finally healed. Turned out the chronic inflammation was caused by the uneven hip movement of me climbing on and off the raised stool at our stand up desks for ten plus hours a day!
During the last year, while I dealt with my back problem and with my newly diagnosed Atrial Fibrillation, my husband was also dealing with a problem with his right hip. He’d also had epidural injections in his hip and was getting nowhere with the pain and it was getting increasingly more difficult to the point that he was beginning to limp. His doctor finally ordered an MRI which showed that he too had protruding disks; however, his were worse than mine. He had a follow-up appointment scheduled with his doctor the day of my last very bad AFib episode which landed me in the hospital and caused him to miss his appointment. It wasn’t until the next month or so that he finally got around to rescheduling the appointment. His doctor first sent him to an orthopedic doctor who told him he would not perform back surgery, and then referred him to a Neurosurgeon.
He waited seven weeks for that appointment with the neurosurgeon and when the day finally arrived, he asked me to go with him. We were both sure that this would be the beginning of the end of his pain and were mentally prepared to have him have the surgery, heal and get on with his life. His appointment was for 3:00 p.m. and we sat and waited and waited and waited. Forty-five minutes in, I asked the receptionist if this doctor always ran this far behind and her answer was “yes, he’s very thorough”. She asked me my name and said she would check and I know by now my husband was probably cringing. I told her, no, it was his appointment, not mine, and he wasn’t complaining. I just have no patience for waiting like that even though I come prepared with something to read, it just irks my rear end to be kept waiting. And the longer I wait, the more irky I become. The new push for doctor’s offices (apparently it doesn’t include specialists, because they are ALWAYS late) is to have a patient seen within 15 minutes of their appointment time.
Forty-five more minutes later (now 4:30 p.m.) he was finally called back into the office. After waiting in the office for fifteen more minutes, the doctor finally came in. After an examination, he told my husband that he would need to have physical therapy and see a pain management doctor before he would consider surgery. Even though my husband had previously received steroid injections, since they hadn’t been performed by a pain management doctor who consistently monitored his condition, the surgeon required that he start that process again. So, we are back to square one with waiting weeks for another doctor appointment and spending quite a bit of money with potentially weeks of physical therapy.
And that’s how our Monday with Morie went today; his first physical therapy appointment.