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Updated: Apr 27

I sat down in the sterile medical exam room with the Physiatrist, which was a brand new territory and avenue that I hadn't tried yet before - other than the one time I was in Vancouver to get my si joint ruled out many years before by one, but I wasn’t taken in as a regular patient. Having a Physiatrist like the ones I heard about, researched, and had been given tidbits about, was like this exciting thought. I needed a doctor that felt like my trust fall person ( in a dramatic visual term). I've had to dig my heels in, research my butt off and take any and every little lead and pursue it. Those of you that have read through my blog, can attest to the many avenues that I have done and tried, but there have been too many treatments to account for and write about, which add an even bigger, lengthy list to my repertoire. It's exhausting. I'm exhausted.

I had to hype myself up for this appointment and try to push down the fear, the skeptical parts, the worry of another dud doctor and try my hardest to stay positive. I was relieved to know that the Physiatrist had all of my information, my history, just everything on me, which would make for her being prepared to know about me and my body ahead of time, and we could get right to it. Except, when I sat down in her black pleather chair, and her on her office stool, I was met with, "I've read your file but I'd like to hear it from you." "Hmm, not sure where I should start." I replied. "I want you to start at the very beginning." She said. Maybe I should feel happy at this request, but honestly I wasn't wanting to compile eight-ish years of my complicated journey, especially having to start at ground zero. "Like, you mean the accident and everything?" "Yes, start there and walk me through everything."

I tried my best to do a hop, skip, and a jump relaying my life and experiences and hoping and praying that I wasn't missing big key things, or not being too desensitized by it all, that I miss relaying the severity of what I've been dealing with. I wanted my appointment to be focused on forward motion, game plans, ideas and brainstorming.... and more importantly I wanted her to connect and see me for who I am and be willing to fight for me. In hindsight, I think I was naively wanting a fairy godmother moment. Like a Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo kinda thing and I'd leave feeling elated, seen, heard and overflowing with hope, hugging her afterwards and knowing that someone else was trustworthy enough to now take the reigns.

We got to the physical exam portion. She went through each of her findings, which weren't knew to me. I'd known about and heard all of the findings many, many times before. When all was finished and she was satisfied with all of the information before her, I anxiously sat on the edge of the examination bed, holding my breath waiting to hear what the game plan was. "I noticed that you've had some shifts and positive changes in your body, even since your referral has been sent in, which is really great. You have a really good understanding of your body and it sounds like you've worked really hard to find your team and have surrounded yourself with people that have added value to your care. My thoughts are for you to just keep doing what you are doing. I would normally hand out a cookie cutter physio exercise sheet but you've got a really great physiotherapist and you are farther along than most of my patients that I see." Okay, I was grateful for the positivity and for the recognition of my progress and team that I built, but I felt like there had to be more, like she was just getting started here right? We sat there for a moment and I realized that was all that she had for me. I had romanticized this appointment to be way more than what it was and had this whole ABC plan on the timing to talk about certain things. But those things had no time for fostering a relationship, before I could have the opportunity to slowly leak them out to her.

Talking about pain, especially pain management that included stronger drugs is like this land mine/tip toe walk with doctors. There is such a fine line on timing and presentation with this topic, hoping that it doesn't cause an automatic walled in, shut down where the alarm bells go off and I am now being looked at as a drug seeker. Now having the doctor’s demeanor and tone shift, and I'm left shamed to feel like I'm asking for something so wrong and unimaginable.

My current family doctor prescribes my pain meds but he has made it very clear, that he is not willing or wanting to walk with me on my journey and help me out, other than the pain meds. I have a signed contract with him that I will not accept any pain medication from any other doctor than him. He is also almost two hours away from where I live and I figured that with what a Physiatrist is described to be, she'd take me on and I could get rid of my family doctor and have her as my sole advocate, pain medication and management doctor. She sat across from me and listed off a handful of drugs that she was willing to prescribe for my pain. Every single one, I had already tried in the past- gabapentin, lyrica, amytripline, etc. All absolutely horrid drugs that had horrible side effects. I told her my history with her recommendations and told her the pain meds that I was hoping to have her prescribe me and take over from my family doctor, but she said no.

I had to be completely upfront and vulnerable and tell her what my hopes were for this appointment. How I really needed her to be willing to take the reigns and to be able to get rid of my GP. I explained even with the pain meds, I was having issues and was needing someone willing to help trial and error maybe other pain medications through the recommendations from my Pharmacist. I explained my struggles and she said, " I won't prescribe those pain medications for you. My suggestion to you would be to stick with your doctor and keep doing what youre doing, because that's what's working best for you. That’s what I would do, if I were you."

Before we parted ways, she said she could possibly do trigger point injections on me and we could check in, in a few months. And that was it.

Now, the dreaded walk back to the car where Brandon had been anxiously waiting to hear about the appointment and what the next steps would be. I was trying so hard to hold it together but as soon as I sat in the car and he asked, "How did it go?" The dam of tears wouldn't hold any longer and I lost it for a bit, unable to articulate the deep disappointment I had just experienced. As we got closer to home, the anxiety of seeing my girl’s faces and having to let them down once again, made the whole thing feel even harder and heavier.

Being a parent, I would move mountains to try and keep away heartache and pain from my girls. And yet, when's it's me, my body causing the disappointment, heartache and pain to their hearts... it's a whole other layer and ballgame. Before my appointment, they were filled with so much hope and were giving me love and encouragement, letting me know they had been praying for me and that "I got this." Seeing their faces full of concern and watching their faces drop, knowing that this was another dead end, when I walked through the front door, there are just no words. Nothing can prepare your heart for having to experience that, on top of everything else, especially when this isn't the first time.


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