| | Telling Pain Doc Personal Info?
I want to thank everyone for your replies. I'm so glad I joined this forum!
My question involves whether to tell my pain doc about non-pain related problems in my life, such as financial stresses or family problems. I've read that it's a bad idea to confide non-pain related problems to a PM. PM's are not therapists and they don't need to know the everyday details of our lives.
I've been seeing my pain doc for 5 years and have an excellent relationship with him. I'm open and honest about everything. However, I don't want to waste our time by talking about any of my personal problems. Stress can make my pain worse, and yes, I've told my pain doc this. I take my meds as prescribed and don't "medicate" my stresses away, just to be clear.
I have done a fair amount of research regarding how much personal info to share with one's PM, and the universal consensus is: Don't share too much. I've never had a problem with my PM, but I've read stories where other people have had terrible problems with their PM's, over all sorts of issues.
Here's what's happening in my life now: My father is in the hospital, slowly dying. The doctors don't even know exactly what is wrong with my dad, which makes it even more frustrating for me and my mom.
At the same time, my dad's illness has caused terrible financial problems for me and my mom. The whole situation is a mess. I haven't been able to work due to constant severe pain, and my mom is too old to work. I have two older brothers, but neither one of them has helped out my mom one bit. Not one red cent, when my dad paid for ALL of their college, grad school, and way beyond. One brother lived at home till he was 33, and he basically used my mom as his personal maid and cook. Then at 33 this "bad" brother actually sold our family home out from under us! (Long story).
I've never really lost anyone who was very close to me before, so losing my dad is incredibly tough for me. It breaks my heart. My dad and mom were married for 55 years, so of course it's even harder for my mom. My mom doesn't have a home (thanks to my brother), so my mom is just staying at the assisted living place where they cared for my dad. The place is super-expensive, so my mom will need to find an apartment very soon. It's SO much for her to go through all at once!
I'm the only child who lives nearby, so I try to help all I can. It's hard, though, due to my constant pain. It's about a 20 mile drive or so. My "good" brother at least has a heart. He didn't steal our home and money like my elder brother did. But he also doesn't make nearly as much money as my "bad" brother does, so I don't know how much he can help. My "good" brother is coming up for one day to try to help my mom find an apartment, but he lives 500 miles away.
Back in 2004, my "bad" brother even refused to pick up my parents at the airport when they traveled 3,000 miles to visit him! (My brother lives in another state). Then my "bad" brother's wife threatened my mom and told her she'd better "get out of town". We've been nothing but nice to my brother and his wife, so we're all puzzled as to why the wife hates us all so much. Oh, well. They live far away in another state and have no contact with our family.
Okay, enough about my family dysfunction! The worst thing is the fact that my dad is dying. Should I volunteer this info to my pain doc, or should I pretend like everything is okay in my life? (All my doc can really do is say "I'm sorry". He's never met my dad.)
I should emphasize that I've been a model pain patient for these past 5 years. I actually take LESS meds than I am prescribed, due to side effects. I haven't noticed any sort of tolerance. My meds work pretty well, considering that my pain is excruciating without meds.
I just wondered how a PM might view a patient who is grieving the loss of a family member? Are they worried that the patient might "self-medicate"? I have no plans to do so, I'm just asking. It's actually very hard for me to mention my dad's condition without getting choked up or crying, so that might be another reason to avoid talking about it. Maybe save that conversation for the grief counselor? Thanks in advance for any advice!