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Life in the aftermath of a rear-end collision
By October 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm 2,384 21 4
About a month ago I told you I was involved in a rear end collision. Having had a failed L4-L5-S1 fusion in 2001, I laid on the couch and watched the horrors of September 11, 2001 unfold, calling work at regular intervals to keep my gang up to date.
A couple of very uncomfortable years followed until I was offered an early retirement. The company was a good one, keeping me on payroll for six months to let the wheels of Social Security to gain momentum, followed by making full Cobra payments for two years until Medicare kicked in. I was indeed fortunate to end my career with such a stellar company, albeit I hated leaving a profession I dearly loved.
Then came the time where my Family MD was uncomfortable with the type and quantity of medication I needed and he referred me to a Pain Management clinic. After a series of interviews with one PM MD and two psychologists, the PM MD decided I needed to go to a detox facility to get clean before establishing a medication regimen. As I had done nothing wrong - I had stayed at the prescribed dosage and was not an abuser, after a short decision-making process of about 30 seconds, I told the PM MD he could take his clinic and put it where the sun doesn't shine.
First lesson: Stand up for yourself. If you know you've done nothing wrong, don't take the rap. Don't label yourself as an abuser by going through the hell of a cold turkey clinic.
I then contacted an Addictionologist friend of mine to ask if he could help. He knew I wasn't an abuser, but told me the only way he could correctly access my needs was to put me in his Detox center and start lowering my dose gradually until he found the appropriate level. We reached a point where I could no longer tolerate my discomfort; you wouldn't believe to look on my clinic mates when they ask how much lower did they take me and my telling them I was going up on my dosage.
Remember that an Addictionologist wants you to take as little as physically and mentally tolerate. They understand there is a legitimate need for Schedule II narcotics; they look for those not in need of medication and try to get that monkey off their back. His findings were in a clinical environment with limited activity; nothing like a real word condition. When I told my second choice of PM MDs of my treatment, and his realization that he was at the opposite end of the spectrum as an Addictionologist and learning my clinical dosage would simply not work for day-to-day life, he gradually increased my dosage, a Godsend. I was able to work effectively, even go into the field on company missions. Life was getting easier.
Second Lesson: Once it is established that you are a legitimate severe pain sufferer and you are not out to destroy a MD's career, treatment is available. You can have a productive life with the correct medication.
Now I'll fast-forward to the rear end collision. At the time of the accident, I felt that little had changed. But after a month, things started going downhill quickly. My pain level increased and my sciatica had moved from one area to another. While my FP MD only took a series of lower abdomen x-rays, my PM MD, another Godsend, ordered nerve damage tests. I will let you know the test results whenever they become available.
Third Lesson: Things take time until the full impact of the accident is realized. I am not one for frivolous law suits but this may be a life-altering condition. While the person that hit me had allowed his insurance to lapse, my uninsured motorist policy kicked in; although I had to pay the $250 collision deductible to have my battle cruiser repaired, I was entitled to the benefits I had assigned. The low-life likely had minimal coverage, as set by law, my coverage is ample to cover any medical treatment necessary and for the pain and suffering I have experienced. Odd as it may seem, we were both covered by the same carrier. My insurance carrier was going to pay one way or the other, and his allowing his policy to lapse worked to my benefit.
Fourth Lesson: The basic part of your auto insurance is the most expensive. Your choosing higher limits to protect those you may injure - God forbid me from bringing someone else into our fold - may also end up taking care of you.
With my best wishes for a life without pain but tolerable pain if that is your calling. And thank God that He has blessed us with a support group like BackPainConnect, Lester