Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine

     And we're right back where we've started, so damn many times. My husband had to call into work today for the third time in as many weeks. The pain in his back was so bad today that he laid down on the floor and couldn't get up for about thirty minutes. Yes, I know. Why didn't I help him up?

     I tried, but he A) wanted to do it himself and B) weighs too much for me to get up by myself. I could've done major damage had I pulled something too hard or twisted him the wrong way. (Also, there's a huge psychological factor to incidents like that and I know it won't make sense to anyone who isn't in my position, but I had to let him try and get up by himself, to prove to himself that he still could.)  Why didn't I take him to the hospital? TO WHAT END?!?! Why would we go back to the hospital for the same damn thing we were there less than two weeks ago for? So they can dope him up again and he can go through hydromorphone withdrawals again? No, thank you.

     I'm sorry if I seem callous or angry at the moment, but I'm very frustrated and very scared right now. I don't know how to help him, I don't know what we're going to do about this in the long run, I don't know what we're going to do to keep this from happening with this level of frequency. The painkillers are not the answer, trips to the ER are not the answer.

      I can't find any sort of viable option in alternative medicine that looks like it could be successful and I'm ready to tear my hair out in frustration. Once he's awake (he's currently in a Flexoril-induced coma), I'm going to ask my husband to call his pain-management doctor, though I don't think that's going to do us any good. I've asked him about it before and my husband says when last he spoke with that office, the consensus was to give him Flexoril to get him by until his lower spine had degenerated enough to warrant surgery.

     I still think he needs to be seen by that office again, because he hasn't gone in too long. They may not be able to do anything right now, but we've got to try. This constant, debilitating pain he's in has got to stop. Maybe they can try something else, something that wasn't available when my husband was first there. Or maybe they'll take a look and say it's time for surgery, which will ultimately be the best thing, but is not what I want to think about right now.

     On a practical level, it means he'll be out of work for at least two and a half months. Financially, we're not prepared for that and I don't know how quickly we could get there. Also, who will take care of him while I'm at work? I can't take that much time off myself, but it's probably not a good idea to leave a spinal-surgery patient to fend for himself for hours at a time.

     We do have three cats, so I suppose I could put them to work if I had to. Failing the felines, I'll have to fall back on family, which I know I can do if need be. They'll pull together and make it work, because that's how we roll. I haven't even tried to think about the emotional level of it and, pardon my inner three-year-old, but right now - not gonna.

    Of course, surgery may not be an option at this point in time. I know it's going to happen eventually, though, and we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Right now, all I'm concerned with is finding a way to make him stop hurting. I'm losing faith in the doctors and I know it's too early in the game to be feeling that way, but this helplessness is not something I deal well with. Why aren't there more options for him?

     I've never looked at doctors and the world of medicine in general as something mythological, where everything is always the right answer and the doctors are demi-gods. There are those that do and I think that's foolish. Doctors are no more than human and can't possibly know or fix everything, but dammit, there has to be something they can do for my husband. There has to be something better than living in this loop of non-answers and band-aid fixes.


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