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    Old 08-16-2006, 07:29 PM   #1
    Hope4U2
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    just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    Shoreline,

    Don't know you and have never posted. I just finished reading several of your posts, though, after stumbling on this website. Remarkably similar experiences. Bad wreck, failed back, 4 years trying everything...and just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago. Now facing big questions about career or LTD. [ REMOVED ] Seems like your one of the experts around here, and I can and will go back through posted topics to learn...just have so many questions, though. Thanks.

    Last edited by moderator2; 08-17-2006 at 05:53 AM. Reason: posted contact info

     
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    Old 08-16-2006, 10:19 PM   #2
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    Hi dave! I'm glad it worked for you. Any relief is better than none. It was probally nice to feel good after years of pain. I too appriciate the knowledge you have shared with us. I have something you may look into. i'm in the same position you was in with w/c. They really are giving me no choice but to settle my claim with them, even though I am far form being better. In fact i'm worse now than when I started treatment. I'm going to settle with them and then when I'm more stable money wise, I'm going to go to court and try to get my case reopened using duress as my reasoning. It's not right to be put in that position and I think any court will agree with that fact. I don't know if your state has a statue of limitations or not but it can't hurt to run it by an attorney. They may owe you alot of money and still be responsible for paying for your future care. It all depends on what your circumstanses were at the time that you settled. I hope this helps. Let me know if you pursue this as I'll be doing it myself in the near future. TEXASCRITTER

    Last edited by moderator2; 08-17-2006 at 05:53 AM.

     
    Old 08-17-2006, 09:42 AM   #3
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    Hope
    I saw your post and wanted to let you know that I also have a pump implanted (not a Medtronic though, I have a Codman). I was injured at work and after several years of trying many other treatments I ended up needing lifelong pain control. I was recently approved for SSD. If I can help you with any questions about the pump, etc. I'll be glad to do what I can.

    Take care

     
    Old 08-18-2006, 07:46 PM   #4
    Hope4U2
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by charliecat31
    Hope
    I saw your post and wanted to let you know that I also have a pump implanted (not a Medtronic though, I have a Codman). I was injured at work and after several years of trying many other treatments I ended up needing lifelong pain control. I was recently approved for SSD. If I can help you with any questions about the pump, etc. I'll be glad to do what I can.

    Take care
    Thanks so much. After being on a natural high for the first 7 days after the pump surgery, I'm now beginning to wonder. I've only had two bad days, but it does not bode well for returning to work. My question is with respect to medication and dosage. When I left the hospital 2 weeks ago, I was on just under 2 mg/day of Dilaudid. I was still in pain, but for the first time in several years, my head was clear and I was getting some pain relief. I also attributed a lot of the pain to a long surgery, two incisions, etc. The doctor was pretty optimistic as well.

    He's been monitoring things very closely and every 3-4 days he's upped the dosage, the most recent being changed to about 4.8 mg/day. I'm still pretty clear mentally, but I'm so sleepy, which is actually kinda new for me. I was on high doses of Oxycontin/Oxycodone before the surgery, and for whatever reason, my reactions to those meds was that I actually got anxious and irritable, but not overly sleepy. So, when I see him Monday, I will probably tell him I've hit side effects already, and maybe that's normal and this is a high dosage, I don't know.

    I have overstated my pain relief to everyone now...more in anticipation of an increase in relief with each increase in dosage. I just did an activity that will sound weird, but since it's repeatable and very painful, it's a good baseline for me to use as a comparison. Shaving and beard triming, done in front of the sink just like brushing teeth, results in a spike in my lower back pain to about a 9. Having just done that and getting the usual spike in pain, I realize now that I've been getting way ahead of myself. I've been resting to recover from surgery, which has been slowed due to diabetes, and as I resume activity, doubts are creeping in, although I still would prefer to be mentally alert than in a fog.

    So my question is this...what medications have your heard of, or anyone else has heard of, being used in the intrathecal pain pump besides Didaudid? Is there a liquid version of something similar to oxycodone? I've heard it's not as strong...is that true? Eventually, for me, combinations of high-dose opiates and relaxers and xanax will break through the anxiety and make me sleepy. That's where I was at before the pump. Now, the exact thing I hoped to avoid is back again, and it will take me a while longer to see if I'm actually getting any improvement in pain relief. Any comments on meds used in pain pumps and the side effects? Thanks for any info provided!

     
    Old 08-19-2006, 10:50 AM   #5
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    Hi Hope
    Your shaving test is probably a good way to gage your progress - actually it's a great idea I know that this is a painful movement because even though I don't shave my face (I'm a woman, so thankfully I don't have this problem ), but it's a similar movement to washing your face and this is a very painful task for me.

    It took me several months to get to my final dosage after I had the pump implanted. They have to do the increases very slowly, so you've got a long way to go in this process. Hang in there though - once they get the dose where it needs to be you'll only have to go once a month or once every two months depending on your pump. I am confused by what you said in your post of "I have overstated my pain relief to everyone now...more in anticipation of an increase in relief with each increase in dosage." I'm not sure who you've overstated your pain relief to, but please be very honest with your doctor (and yourself) about what pain relief you are getting. You're only a couple of weeks into this and it's going to take time to get where you need to be. If I misunderstood what you meant, I apologize. Also, discuss the side effects you are having with your doctor if you are concerned about them. Unless they are serious side effects (decreased breathing, fainting, etc.) most people will get used to the medication and the sleepiness will subside. It's been years since I got a good night's sleep so I wish I had the sleepiness you are having

    As far as what medications can be put into the pump, I believe there are many options. I have morphine in mine. Once you get up to the level your doctor wants you at in the pump, then you'll know how the dilaudid works for you and can go from there if you the meds changed.

    How are you feeling at the incision sites for the pump? When I was in the recovery room after surgery my abdomen hurt so terribly bad I thought I was going to have an alien shoot out from my stomach They gave me several injects of something and I was still crying in pain and they finally told me they couldn't give me anything more. Thankfully the pain subsided fairly soon after, but wow did it hurt when I first came to.

    I'm not sure if it's the same with the Medtronics pump, but I have to make sure I don't go in a sanau (sp), hot tub, etc.. Apparently the increase in your body tempature will effect the pump and increase the amount of meds that are released. Mine works on hydrolics so I don't know if your's will react the same way.

    How often will you need to have the battery in your's replaced? Do they have to do surgery and get to the pump to do it? If you don't mind me asking - why did you and your doctor decide to go with the Medtronics over the Codman? For me being so young (30's) we decided it was better to go with Codman so I wouldn't need to worry about battery replacement every 5-7 years (if I remember right), so I'm just curious.

    I know this part is frustrating - you've gotten the pump implanted and now you want the relief you are hoping to get from it. Try and be patient, it's just going to take some time.

    Anything else I can help you out with? Hope you are having the best day you can!

     
    Old 08-19-2006, 12:14 PM   #6
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    charliecat,

    Thanks for your response. I don't know why I didn't search out for a peer support group for this a long time ago. I've just kept as much to myself as possible to keep my family from worrying and to keep my employer from running me off even faster.

    As for overstating my pain relief, I think I was just so happy after the pump was installed because for the first time in quite a while I was mentally clear. I also started out on the minimum dosage, and the doctor told me we'd be taking "baby steps" to find the optimum dosage, timely bolus amounts, etc.

    The first bump in dosage came 3 days after the initial, and I did notice an improvement in relief without side effects. Understand that 6 months ago I had resigned myself to LTD and loss of my family and much more...severe depression...and what had seemed impossible (significant relief) now felt like it was inevitable. I let my employer know that it was a question of when, not if, I would be back to work. I assured my family, especially my wife, that I would be returning to "normal" as soon as the dose was dialed in. So, when I say "overstated my pain relief", I guess I mean that I really jumped to conclusions, perhaps because that's what I wanted to believe so badly, and I dismissed the pain from surgery and the only partial relief from the pump initially as something that would just go away when we hit the right dose.

    To clarify some things, when I say the current dosage makes my sleepy, it's not like I feel the natural onset of sleepiness someone experiences as they get ready to go to bed for the night. I do get very drowsy, though, and I just have to sit down. This does not result in a long sleep, however. Rather, I nod off until I get restless legs or get a good shot of pain. I know what you mean by not being able to sleep well, despite medicines that cause drowsiness. I cannot remember the last time I slept through the night, or for even two straight hours for that matter. With the medicine, though, I'm saying that the side effects right now cause me to drink a whole lot of caffeine, and yes, even smoke, to stay alert and sharp. It's a totally different effect from all the oral med's I was on, but it still ends up slowing me down mentally. I know that I'm very early on in this new treatment, and patience is imperative. It just so happens that I am at a crossroads in a number of other life issues...if I'm to stay in my house and sustain my former lifestyle, I have to get back to work in a matter of weeks. If not, I have to move very quickly to sell as much as possible and downsize my life to a level that matches LTD. Throw in a marriage that's been on the skids for quite some time, and I'm just overwhelmed.

    I'm trying to sort this out, and being under such time and even divorce constraints is wearing me out. I think that I'm trying so hard to get back to "normal" and return to work in a frantic attempt to keep my family together. I'm riddled with guilt as well, and I know that my pastor, doctor(s), parents, etc., tell me it's "not my fault", everything happens for a reason, and so on, I can't help it. I feel guilty about taking medicines, for not being able to just "deal with the pain", for failing as a husband, failing at work...just about everything.

    As for the incision area, YES, I was miserable after the surgery. I kept thinking that the staples were barely holding the pump in place and that it was bound to bust through at any time. I was told that's a normal feeling, and that the pain that came with it would subside. Well, 10 days later when I went back to get my staple removed, I again told the doctor it sure did hurt and that the staples should stay in longer. He went on to tell me that it's all in my head, and that my incisions had healed wonderfully, my pump was placed just right, and the pressure sensation was something I'd get used to over time. It sure didn't help things being "all in my head" when he abruptly stopped removing staples after clipping just the third one and started barking orders to his nurse about getting glue strips, gauze, stretch tape, etc. He told me we'd have to wait a little longer to take the staples out, and when I looked down, sure enough, about a 1 inch section of the wound, where the staples had been removed, had started to separate completely, blood everywhere, etc. He blamed it on me being a diabetic and taped it all up very tight. I'm to go back Monday for another shot. Oddly, the same exact thing happened with the staples in my back incision.

    As for the pump type, Medtronics, that's the only one that was even discussed with me, perhaps because of insurance limitations. Battery life is supposed to be 5-7 years, and yes, it requires another surgery to replace everything. Also, the cathetor can move, kink, even break...which would require emergency intervention if that happened. Same story on the temperature extremes...no hot tubs, saunas, or extreme cold. There is a narrow tolerance of like +/- 1 degree Fahrenheit for optimal performance, and anything beyond that can cause major problems. I was told I'd need to get immediate attention for any fever...but I need to find out more about that, as that could be a pretty big concern for me if it happened. With Crohn's disease, I do get bacteria infections more often than others, and I can't take Tylenol. Three years ago, being naive and just learning what "real pain" was, I was put on Lortab 5/500, to be taken 2 times every 4-6 hours. Thinking Tylenol was the safe alternative, I took two Lortabs along with two Tylenol every 4-6 hours. One month later I was in the ER, violently ill, diagnosed with "Nash's syndrome of Hepatitis", which basically means the disease was caused by medication. After being so diligent about medicine all my life, I sure did feel stupid when I found out just how deadly this can be, and luckily for me, three months later w/o Tylenol or Ibuprofen and plenty of helpful meds, my liver recovered to a point that was acceptable. Again, I'm probably rambling here telling way more than anyone wants to know, but the point I was trying to make is that the easiest and most effective ways to hold down a fever are no longer an option for me, so I'll be following up on this issue.

    I wish I'd know about the Codman pump, as going through another surgery every 5 years will be costly and painful, and due to a factor 5 deficiency (I don't clot very well), diabetes, and other issues, my risk factors of bleeding in the spinal cord and getting infections is very high. I do feel like science is still catching up on the most effective and non-invasive developments and treatments for managing chronic pain.

    Finally, one last question. I've seen three different pain management physicians in the last four years, and each has a very different perspective on chronic pain relief. On the one extreme, one doctor treated me like a criminal, an addict waiting to happen, and was generally just very condescending, telling me that if I was looking for narcotic handouts, I needed to go elsewhere. Another doctor had similar views but not quite as black and white, and originally, he was going to install my pump. I was referred to him by my Neurosurgeon after being told by a nurse at the clinic I do like, and have attended for over a year, that they did not deal with pain pumps.

    Anyway, this doctor told me that my 4 Oxycontin a day, supplemented with Oxycodone, had destroyed all my "pain receptors" ability to recognize narcotics and actually relieve pain. He told me that my pre-test for the pump would be a waste of time since I was numb to getting any relief due to the "way over-prescribed" amount of oral meds. He then said that he would also not be able to reduce my Oral meds much while on the test, further clouding any preliminary results. He concluded by saying I needed to taper off the medications, over a six month period, so that Narcotics could again regain some sort of effectiveness. Tough luck on how painful that would be. Said if he reduced my meds more than 10% at a time, my withdrawal symptoms would be so bad that the test would be a costly waste of his and my time.

    By chance, as I planned to exit the clinic I like but had apparently made me into a complete junkie-loser, I saw the head physician, who politely asked me why I had decided to leave them to get a pump elsewhere. I proceeded to explain what his nurse had told me...and even shared the other doctor's strong opinions on the oral meds...and needless to say, he blew a fuse about his nurse's statement and what he considered to be the other doctor's misinformation. Yikes, I gotta stop rambling!

    Long story short...I changed back to my current clinic, as the doctor has installed over 40 pumps successfully, and yes, I stopped taking 4 Oxycontin a day, 80 mg, right before surgery. Haven't taken one since with no withdrawal whatsoever. I am on 15 mg Roxicodone PRN, usually 2 to 4 per day right now, down from 30 mg up to 4 per day before. I've had absolutely no withdrawal. I get a lot of conflicting opinions on this...and each person or source seems to think they are the expert on the matter.

    Any comments or first-hand experiences? Again, THANKS for listening!

     
    Old 08-20-2006, 09:22 AM   #7
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    Hii Hope4U, Did they give you a an abdominal binder to hold the pump in place while you heal? I know some docs don't use them but they make a huge difference in comfort during the first 4-6 weeks. The binder holds the pump in place so that when you walk or ride in a car the pump doesn't bounce around feeling like it's ripping all the stiches out. The pump is actually sewn or tacked into place in the pocket they create, so it's not just the external stiches holding the pump in place or preventing it from flipping or migrating. The binder will keep it from bouncing when walk or hit bumps in the road and only cost about 20 bucks. It's a simple elastic and velcro binder about 12 inches wide you can find at most medical supply shops.. I wore mine for about 6 weeks untill I stopped getting that tearing feeling every time we hit a bump in the road.

    AS far as destroying your opiate receptors Holy Crikies You know what they say about opinions, everyone has one but they don't all smell the same.

    A medical degree allows any doc to express his personal opinion as medical fact. Personally I read everything I can find on PM for 13 years and have never heard of blowing your opiate receptors. Pumps are actually indicated for high dose oral patients that no longer recieve relief or can no longer tolerate the side effects of the orals. How is that your pump actually works if your blew all your opiate receptors?

    It reminds me of that joke about what do they call the guy that graduated last in his class at medical school.

    The answer is.....


    DOCTOR

    Just so you know you aren't the only one that has been told everything from your will be a hopeless addict and dead in 2 years to your previous doctor recklessly destroyed all your opiate receptors by over prescribing.

    About 4 years and 2 back surgeries into my PM experience my brother commited suicide. I was foolish enough to discuss this with one of the PM psychologist and that day the head PM doc decided that all my pain was caused by the loss of my brother. The pain was all emotional and in my head and that I was a dry addict. A dry addict is someone that continues the same addictive behavior even after they have stopped using. Even though I hadn't had opiates in 10 months since I was 6 weeks post fusion.

    Simply because I asked for pain meds after spending a 3 day weekend traveling 1200 miles to burry my brother, I was now an addict and the pain from 2 failed surgeries was now all in my head.. They took my wife aside and recommended I be commited that day. I guess years of non opiate pain management from a half dozen PM docs, 2 month long clinics and dozens of injections and procedures hadn't been neccesarry because the pain I was experiencing was from my brother dying 4 years in the future. HUH???

    Did I somehow subconsciously know that my brother would kill himself so I started complaining of pain after my first surgery 4 years earlier. Years of pain and multiple surgeries were instantly dismissed once I told them my brother died. It gave them a way to explain why their methods hadn't made a failed fusion grow or broken hardware mend.

    I must have been the first case of "pre traumatic stress disorder." My symptoms first appeared 4 years before the actual traumatic event Makes you think, be careful if you get a divorce and tell your doc. A divivorce now, could be the cause of the beginning of your pain 5 years ago. What medical book did they get that load of BS from?

    One thing we did learn at one of the PM boot camps was that everyone has expectations. Whether it's ours as far as getting relief from a surgery or "the pump" Or our friends and afamilies expectations of us recovering and getting beter after surgery. That is what happens with most people and what most people expect. Our support system is there and in tact untill we somehow disapoint everyine by not getting better. I'm being a little sarcastic, but it's really jus human nature. People expect us to recover from illness or surgery, they are empethetic and supportive for X number of weeks or months. However long they felt it would take, which isn't based on any medical knowledge, just an arbitray number of days weeks or months in which we are supposed to recover and return to our normal lives. It's just human nature but we end up feeling like we have some how let them down. That leads to resentment and is tough on relationships.

    I would be lying if I said I hadn't hoped the pump would allow me to go back to work, but not every expectation is realistic or comes true.

    I'll be back tomorrow and talk some more, Take care, Dave

     
    Old 08-20-2006, 11:48 AM   #8
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    It does get easier I am about to get my third medtronic pump installed next Monday. I had mt first one in 1997 and the second in 2001. My pain doctor will not put this one in ( they found their mal practice insurance was to high to keep putting them in ) so I am now going to have a neurosurgeon put this one in. They also wanted me to wear a binder this time but I have an illeostomy which prevents me from wearing one. I didn't wear one for the first two either. It does feel odd at first having the pump in there but after awhile you get use to it. As I said I had to get use to the ostomy and they put the pump on the other side. They put morphine and marcane in my pump and I have it turned up from 6 pm until 6 am because that is when I have an increace in pain in the evening. You may need to talk to someone with all that you have going on in your life and there is nothing wrong with that. It is hard being in pain and dealing with life problems. I hope this helps and take care and take one day at a time and you will get thru it. Take care and stay safe geifer

     
    Old 08-20-2006, 08:26 PM   #9
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    Back in 1993, after a severe, many month bout with Crohn's, I was advised that I'd be getting my colon removed and would be getting some information on "the bag" and life after surgery, etc. I turned the corner just in time, and found a new doctor due to moving just after...who's philosophy was that Crohn's/Colitis patients should keep their intestines as long as possible. He introduced me to Asacol, and that medicine has been a godsend for me.

    As for the binder, yes, I did get one, and I wore if for several days after surgery. I have an insulin pump that has always been most effective when I keep the valve/catheter inserted into my side...so that does interfere with the binder. I can move it, though, and give the binder another shot.

    As for dealing with so much right now, yes, I was and continue to be overwhelmed, and have been seeing a therapist and my pastor, both of whom have helped me greatly.

    The ridiculous assessment about the pain meds dulling all of my pain receptors did bother me...thanks for the sense of humor on that, Shoreline. It still amazes me at how opinions on pain management can be so vastly different between doctors. It seems to me that publicity about prescription pain med abuse, which is a real issue in my local news, has doctors very hesitant to prescribe these types of meds. Rush Limbaugh ends up plastered all over the news for "doctor shopping" and checks into rehab ASAP, giving naysayers even more ammo. I'm sure other doctors think you should just learn to "tough it out". Then you find a doctor who does seem to understand, but it's still hard not to feel guilty. It makes it really hard for people who are in chronic pain, though, when so much misinformation abounds, and when the professional healthcare community itself seems to be at odds on pain management.

    I've jumped onto this board and poured out a lot of info about myself in just a few days, but I really like this place already. Oddly enough, when I was in the violent car accident back in 2002, I was on my way to campus for a 3-week session. My company was sponsoring me in an Executive MBA program, paying for everything and giving me a lot of paid time off to attend onsite sessions and one overseas internship. All I had to do was sign a 5-year commitment to work for them or pay back some $90,000. (That's another story, too, with plenty of irony...some of it very cruel).

    However, the point here is that there were two Master's program's running in parallel...one that I was in called the E-MBA, and another called a "Physician's MBA", strictly for doctors. I was in way over my head, as most of my classmates were well on their way to the top of the corporate world, and several CEO's were actually in my class. Well, the same teachers ran both programs, and we were often on campus with the doctors. Most of the business folks were pretty laid back and fun loving...with the usual exceptions. Most of the doctors considered themselves geniuses. After getting to know a few of the better faculty members, it was hilarious hearing them tell stories about humbling some "idiot doctors" who couldn't even write a simple white paper...let alone tackle a case study. They often had the worst imaginable people skills, and they tended to do poorly in the leadership portion of the curriculum. For the most part, they enrolled to try to deal better with the rising costs of healthcare, and I'm sure they learned how to make more money in their profession. To be fair, though, that's a legitimate challenge that's only going to get more difficult with time.

    Please understand I'm being sarcastic, too, and I fully realize there are great doctors out there, and plenty of business managers who suck. I have a great gastroenterologist as well as P.M. doctor, who, btw, told me that over 80% of all doctors he knows are arrogant, self-worshipping jerks. Perhaps the same goes for Corporate America, who knows. I've been very fortunate in both arenas in that I've found great physicians who do care, and Iíve also worked for, and with, great people as well.

    The stigma of pain management, and the extremely different opinions and approaches to treatments & medication, really does cause a lot of undue stress, guilt, and confusion for chronic pain patients. It's good to be able to laugh about it, but it's also saddening to hear other stories of people in very legitimate need of relief being lectured, ridiculed, or labeled as addicts. It seems to be a very common problem everywhere.

     
    Old 08-21-2006, 09:38 AM   #10
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    I also have crohn's I went to The Cleveland Clinic in 1990 and had a total colectomy done and that is why I have the pain pump. I had some nerve damage from the two operations that I went thru. God sometimes can play pretty crual tricks on you. God also blessed me with a good sence of humor and I think that is what gets me thru alot of this. My husband has stood with me thru all of my troubles and when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago I took care of him. We have been married 33 years this year and thank God we had a strong marriage to get us thru all of this. I hope this helps take care and stay safe geifer

     
    Old 08-21-2006, 03:06 PM   #11
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    If you don't mine I'm going to address the marriage problems you are having a little. This rollercoaster that we live in is very difficult on a marriage. BUT... your wife needs to understand that your life has changed dramatically, therefore her life has changed dramatically as well. It may not sound pretty and pardon my bluntness, but that's just the way it is. It's part of that "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health" thing that we all repeated when we took our vowes. My marriage went through some really rough patches and there were many times I didn't know if it was going to survive. But we stuck it out - partly because we couldn't afford to do anything else (part sarcastic and part not ). We did a lot of screaming and yelling and taking our frustrations out on each other. I've always been a very independent woman and facing the fact that I had to ask for help more often than not was a blow to my ego and pride. Some where along the way I think we both realized we weren't so much mad at each other, but mad that what we expected life to be like wasn't what life was going to be like. There is a line in a song that says "if you want to hear God laugh tell Him your plans". Boy isn't that the truth! What we plan isn't always what His plan is and we have to accept that He is in control - not us. Easy to do? Absolutely not! Necessary for survival? Absolutely YES!

    [removed] I had to accept that there is a reason for this happening to me. I may never know what that reason is, but I have to believe that the reason is there... and who are we to ask what those reasons are anyway?

    It's hard to think about what are spouses are going through. We're the ones in pain, we're the ones that can't work, we're the one's that are frightened. But they are hurting too, they are grieving over the loss of the life they had with you, they are scared too. Please don't think this is wisdom I just magically aquired one day - it was years before I got to this point. But all that being said, your wife needs to be the strong one sometimes. You have to be able to let all these feelings out, vent, yell, cry, whatever. Or trust me, you'll end up in the looney bin if you try to keep it all inside and deal with it alone. You can't expect that you are going to "return to normal" soon. I understand how badly you want that to happen, but whatever is going to happen is going to take time. I understand the guilt you are going through. I was the bread winner and when I couldn't work anymore that meant we had NO income. But we did have a mortgage and bills to pay. Hmm? Not a good senario. We borrowed from just about everyone we knew, sold anything we could except the house and if things had gone on much longer we would have been homeless. The mortgage company was starting foreclosure proceedings when I was approved by W.Comp for total disability. You said you under time constrants to save your marriage - do you mind me asking what the big hurry is in that department? Is your wife threatening to leave if you aren't "normal" by a specific date? I'm sorry if I've said too much or stepped in where I don't belong - just tell me to drop it if you don't want to talk about this OK? I'm not trying to be nosey or intrussive.

    On to your pump... Wearing the ab supporter was helpful for me after I had my pump implanted. Darn thing felt like it was just going to jump right out of my stomach unless I had the big ace bandage thing on. This is going to sound weird, but now, the pump actually feels like it's a part of me. There are days when I swear my pump hurts. Don't tell anyone I told you this - they'll put me in the looney bin

    As far as not knowing about the Codman, it's strange that your doctor didn't talk to you about the difference between the two. Maybe when it's time to replace yours you could talk about it then?

    You asked about any first hand experiences - anything you're wanting to know specifically?

    Hope today is as good as it can be for you! Hang in there my friend

    Last edited by HBMod07; 08-21-2006 at 05:45 PM. Reason: Posting quotes is not permitted. Please stay on topic

     
    Old 08-21-2006, 06:58 PM   #12
    Hope4U2
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    Just got back from the doctor today. Technically, the surgery went very well and I'm healing fine, and he did take the staples out. The scar on my stomach, though, just doesn't seem to want to "reconnect", which he blames on diabetes and the awkward placement of a device like this, where you stress that area every time you do just about everything, especially any bending. So, he put that special tape stripping over both incisions and told me to really take it easy.

    No return to work next Monday, as he will see me back and hopefully find that the incisions have turned into scars that are truly sealed, or well on their way. Since I did get drowsy after the last dose increase at times, we went up today only in a small increment. He said we would discuss my potential return to work next week...maybe. The reason I said I felt like I'm in a race against time w/respect to my marriage is this: I've known for a long time that my wife is not happy, and the last several years of me being more of a burden than a helpful husband has only made that worse. Then, back in March, when I really laid out the situation we're in...clearly showing that if I did not get back to work, I'd lose my benefits, 80% of my salary, and we'd have to sell the house, her BMW X5, my hi-po sedan, etc., it just seemed that everything that we both already knew privately all came out at once.

    I explained that she'd have to go back to work no matter what happened, as she and my daughter would have to have health care benefits, and I may end up on Medicare. So, after being a stay at home Mom since 1997, she found a job. She's gone from 7 AM to 7-8 PM every day. The cost of day care for our daughter, plus the gas it takes for her to drive 120 miles round trip every day in a gas guzzler doesn't help much financially, as it's a $20,000 job for now. If I do go back to work, which is very iffy, I too would have to work long hours. It's a short commute, but as Plant Operations Manager, the typical day is 6A to 6P. Our daughter would be the biggest loser in such a scenario, even if we could keep our six figure lifestyle.

    After reading your note, I decided to go tell my wife all about my appointment, and also to reiterate that my return to work is far from a done deal, and in light of all this uncertainty, we need to sell our house. Things are really that tight financially...and I have two months at best before I'd start to default on some of the largest bills and go on a path to bankruptcy. This has been a four year ordeal that has cost a lot of money, even with benefits. On top of that, I've tried to make it as transparent as possible to her by maintaining life as we've known it, however stupid that may sound.

    There's a lot more to the story than that, but I've already written enough on this subject. Just 10 minutes ago, after I said the house needs to go up for sale, she wanted to know what our equity would be, who's going to make it presentable for sale, where would we go, etc. I bluntly replied that we wouldn't have much left over and we'd need to rent a modest house or apartment to prepare for the potential transition to LTD, which would take a while. I then asked if I should be looking for a house for a family or a one bedroom efficiency just for me...and she just groaned "not this again". I told her that I really needed to know, and that we've been through talk after talk with no resolution on anything for years now, and that this was a REAL possibility and that I'd be listing the house in a few days while looking for another place at the same time. I stood there until she finally looked up from her laptop and said "when do you have to have an answer?" I said as soon as possible. She then said "are we gonna do this in a civil manner", and my stomach tightened up a lot so I just nodded.

    A part of me can't believe it's actually come to this, yet another part of me knows this was going to happen no matter what I wanted to believe. I've begged for us to go to counseling since 2001, so obviously, as I said, there are other issues mixed up in all this and I share a lot of the blame. I still always thought things could be worked out, but not without a faith-based counselor. She won't have any of that, so it is what it is. I can't try any harder...I can't explain the pain, my own misery, my perspective...I just cannot get through to her, and she doesn't want to listen. I was a very different person - physically - when we got married 10 years ago. Because of all the physical hardship, I'm probably a very different person mentally as well.

    I'm nearly positive I qualify for LTD, and there's a big part of me that says it's time to face up to that and get on with it. At the same time, I feel guilty. I have to try to go back to work now that I've spent 6 months of hell to get this pump installed...and I do feel so much better MENTALLY w/o all the oral meds. I should probably start to pray again, as this is out of my control. Thanks for listening and offering advice...it seems strange to be pouring out all these thoughts right now, but I just get the feeling that there are people here who truly understand what chronic pain/health failure REALLY does to a person and those around them.

    Last edited by Hope4U2; 08-21-2006 at 07:02 PM.

     
    Old 08-25-2006, 01:32 PM   #13
    charliecat31
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    Hey Hope
    I'm so sorry I haven't posted in a couple days... How are things going?

    Glad you got the staples out, I'm sure that feels better, and that you are healing well. Are you getting used to the feeling of the pump being there? I'm glad you're not going back to work yet. Yes, I understand how important it is for you to get back, but you HAVE to take care of yourself. You aren't going to be any use to anyone if you don't first take care of yourself.

    I'm very sorry that your marriage is having such serious problems. I wish I had a magic wand and 'poof' could make it better for you, or atleast had some wise words of wisdom to share with you that might help. The only thing I can offer is an ear to listen and that perhaps it's time to take a good long look at the situation and see if it's the best thing for YOU. Is living in the matter in which she had become accustomed to more important to her than you being together? If so, that might give you all the answers you need. Have you talked to her about all of this since you posted last? It sounds like you are starting to come to terms with what could happen. Do you think the two of you have any chance of making a go at this together?

    I applaud you for being most concerned about your daughter in all of this. But children learn by example. If you show her you are doing everything possible to give her the best life you can, she'll remember that. I know a big financial change and you and your wife working so much would be a HUGE adjustment for her, but you would also be teaching her a wonderful work ethic. When I was a girl we didn't have anything close to a six figure lifestyle and I'm no worse for it. I'm sure none of this is really making you feel any better, but I had to try

    Don't feel bad for trying to make things look better to your wife than they were. I don't advocate lying, but can understand that you were trying to protect her and keep her from worrying. It also sounds like you were afraid that what is going on now would have started a lot sooner if you had shown her the whole financial picture before. Just be sure staying together is what you want. Feeling guilty isn't going to help anything. Pain does make us different people than we were before. I realize how blessed and fortunate I am that my husband and I made it through all we've been through. It's not easy and it's not always possible. But it does show you a lot about the person you are married to. And sometimes, it's not pretty to see.

    You mentioned you should start praying again. Hand it over to Him, you may not always like the plan He has, but His plan is what is going to happen. I just got Alan Jackson's new CD and it has the hymn What a friend we have in Jesus that made me think of you. If you can, find this song, I think it's perfect for what you are going through.

    I'm glad you found the board - it is strange telling someone you don't know all these things, but sometimes I think that makes it easier. I'm not going to judge you, all I'm going to do is try to help.

    Hope you are having the best day you can my friend. Talk to you soon

    Last edited by charliecat31; 08-25-2006 at 06:24 PM.

     
    Old 08-25-2006, 11:03 PM   #14
    Hope4U2
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    Thanks for all your support Charliecat31. I am getting more used to the pump. I'm also gaining confidence that this pump will get me back to work sooner or later, but yes, I'm not in such a hurry and I'll be following the doctor's advice for sure. After my 2nd surgery last February, when I was basically told I had failed back syndrome with no surgical solutions, I rushed through P.T. and by May of 2005 I was working. Even the surgeon cautioned me, but I was only hearing what I wanted to hear back then. In hindsight, trying to work off and on for 9 months hurt my situation at work more than helped it. Still, without going through all that and failing to work consistently...I mean it's almost like w/o the two botched back surgeries and the work problems, I probably woudn't have ended up with this pump. Everything happens for a reason.

    I have made one more attempt to take to my wife. She won't have any of it...not counseling, not an in-depth talk, just a cursory "I don't know" to every question. Tonight she went to a High School Football game...kinda weird...and as I write this, it's after 2:00 AM and she hasn't even called. She and I are very different in this respect...as I've lost touch with my High School friends, yet she sees many of hers quite often. Still, pulling this stunt may be the beginning of her trying to push every button possible so maybe I'll leave. I won't start divorce proceedings, though, and after all I've been through physically, this won't break me. Besides, once I do return to work, I will be seeing my daughter every afternoon and evening after I leave work for the day, and we'll be ready for bed by the time she gets home.

    So yeah, I'm resigned to it, but not giving up. I'll still take my daughter to Sunday school and church every week, and who knows, over time she may join us. Even though I need to work, it has been kinda nice, especially when I'm feeling up to it, to be a "stay at home Dad" since April. With school now, I still end up seeing her just as much, and this does make me very happy. The rest is in His hands, I agree.

    I see the doctor on Monday, and he will be refilling the pump and starting me on physical therapy. He's already told me that when he does release me for work, it will be on half-days only, while I continue with 4-6 weeks of P.T. As I get more and more active, I'll have a much better feel for just how effective the pump is going to be for me in much more physically challenging situations. Jumping to conclusions now would be a waste of time, so I'm trying to keep in mind that I also need to be prepared for LTD, too. This way, I've got a number of irons in the fire right now to keep my busy, which is probably a good thing.

    Thanks again for e-listening.

     
    Old 08-27-2006, 09:29 AM   #15
    charliecat31
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    Re: just got a Medtronics Pump a week ago

    Glad to listen any time I can - that's what e-friends are for

    I'm so sorry you're wife won't have a serious conversation about what is going on with you. It seems like it would be to her benefit as well to deal with this All you can do is your best and make the best life you can for your daughter. She's very lucky to have such a caring dad!

    We all have regrets about our health and the decisions we've made or have been made for us. None of the doctors I saw early on really took my injury seriously. By the time I got to a doctor that was actually concerned (my current PM doc) and he figured out what was causing all the pain, there were limited options for me. Now I sit here in my mid 30's with a morphine pump and face a future of life long pain control. I'll always wonder if something was done sooner would I have gotten my life back? That thought ate at me for years - I finally had to accept that this is my life, this is my future and let it go. I had to mourn for the death of my old life. It took a lot of time, a lot of tears, but when I got through that, I could start making realistic plans. I still have days that I get angry and/or frustrated though. My husband and I had put off having kids because we wanted to be married for a while first. Now I'm afraid it's too late. I'm not sure how I would make it through a pregnancy and childbirth and then what happens when the baby's born? I have a hard time picking up our cat, how am I going to pick up our child? I'm so limited in what I can do - is that a life I really want to bring a child into? OK, enough about that - I'm depressing myself.

    I'm glad your doctor is going to start you out on half days when you go back to work. I think it will be much better for you to ease into it instead of trying to go back full steam. Just keep the lines of communication open with your doctor and be HONEST about how you are doing when you go back.

    Well, it looks like we're in the path of another hurricane We got hit straight on by a Cat 4 two years ago and had a lot of damage to our house. My husband just now has gotten all the repairs done from when a tree fell, the roof was torn off, it rained in the house for almost a week, we didn't have power for over 3 weeks, etc. and here we are in the cone for Ernesto. God willing it won't come to us. I probably won't be around much for the rest of the week - have to help hubby prepare. There's not much I can do to help, but I try to do what I can. I usually end up paying for it, but I can't just sit by and watch him do everything himself. Would you mind saying a prayer for us? We could use all the well wishes we can get.

    I'll try to check in if I can and see how you are doing.

     
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