Discussions that mention lyrica

Back Problems board

We are currently w/o insurance, so, for the first time, we are using Indian Health Services. On 4/29 I had to go to the ER for excruciating Left Groin Pain. I had pinched a nerve in my back earlier in the week, but thought I could get by w/o a Dr's visit, and was icing it and taking ibuprofen. The ER did a back X-ray and a CT scan to rule out a kidney stone. They loaded me up with dilaudid (that is one nasty drug--never again!), wrote a script for lortab and sent me home.

The next day I went to the IHS clinic. The doctor there did a neuro-check and discovered left leg weakness and absent reflexes. (I was limping heavily as well due to the continued groin pain.) He ordered an open MRI and made a referral to a neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon declared the MRI "useless." IHS then sent me for a CT scan. The neurosurgeon clarified for the second time that he needed either a specific kind of MRI, or a myelogram with post-CT. IHS sent me for the myelogram/CT.

Before this occurred, I was already being treated by a non-IHS psychiatrist for major depression and anxiety (thus taking wellbutrin and xanax). Note: the wait to get in to see the IHS shrink was over 2 months, and I had used the other doc five years ago--she already "knew" me.

While all the testing has been going on, I've fallen twice, and nearly fallen several other times. I have finally learned how to manage stairs, and to get up off the floor w/o help (most of the time). Note, no PT ordered.

My meds have included: ibuprofen 800 mg bid, darvocet 1-2 q 4 hours, pepcid so that I can tolerate the ibuprofen. They gave me neurontin which helped with the pain but clashed terribly with the xanax (No, I can't quit taking the xanax yet. In fact, the neurontin caused so much memory loss--whole conversations, constantly having to ask, "what day is this?", and made me so goofy my husband wouldn't let me drive, that it caused my anxiety to escalate!) So now we've added Lyrica 75mg tid, which makes my vision blurry, but doesn't erase my memory or make me dangerous on the road. It's also stopped most of my limping, altho small downward grades feel like I'm walking off of a cliff--too weird! I'm also taking large doses of folic acid and thiamin.

Finally, after the myelogram, we had a diagnosis and a solution. I need a hemilaminectomy. Having one would probably let me have my left leg back, and would--within days or weeks--free me from having to take all the pain meds. So, I would have my life back. According to the doc, one night in the hospital, and driving a week later. That sounds awesome!

I'm pretty sure all this is a result of my quitting smoking last year--AND the anti-depressant I was initially prescribed a few months later. Between the two, I gained 40 pounds. Unless I have the surgery, I can't exercise--esp walking. Too much danger of falling with no one near enough to help. (Yeah, I have a cell phone, but who wants to wait while stuck on their butt--literally--or have to crawl--literally--to a tree to climb their way back up?)

Yes, I wish I could go back 20+ years and beat the crap out of the "me" that started smoking, but I can't.

Anyhow, after paying for all the tests, IHS says that they can't authorize the surgery if it isn't going to prevent loss of life, limb or organ in the next 72 hours. Then why did they send me to see a neuroSURGEON? Why did they send me for all the tests? What was the point of that if they knew they were going to deny the surgery in the end? It's not like they only just today "ran out" of money.

Our family already spends about 13% of our gross on medications and physicians that IHS doesn't pay for. We can't afford to pay for the surgery. I'm a retired RN. They won't let me refresh my license if I can't tolerate clinicals. I doubt that even WalMart would hire me. No insurance company will touch me now that it's been proven that I need back surgery. We make too much money to qualify for medicare.

So, I'm just wondering, has anyone else had this experience? What did you do? We are going to appeal, but I'm not sure that there is an honest chance of loss of life, limb or organ in 72 hours...in a year, yes, but not neccessarily the next 72 hours.

Thanks for your thoughts.