Took a Load Off

Life got worse. Because of that it got better.

My shoulder condition and therapy have progressed to the expected state: more pain. It isn’t much. Most days I don’t take any Alleve for it. Most nights I do. During sleep the arm can be positioned in ways that produce enough pain to wake me up. That is not the problem. It’s also enough pain to keep me from getting back to sleep. Living on 4 1/2 hours of sleep is the result.

Lack of sleep is self-correcting. I’ve been alternating 4 1/2 hours with 6 – 6 1/2 hours and an occasional nap. Enough sleep to keep me sane but enough sleeplessness to make me bummed.

I complained to my doc and expected to have a battle to get stronger pain meds. Instead she thought a steroid injection plus pain meds would be the way to go and gave me a referral. I was not given this treatment 9 years ago so I was concerned.

Living in the age of Google and medical tourism means that it is easy to find sites that explain in simple English what conditions they treat and the usual treatments. Every site I checked, both of the medical tourism type as well as things like WebMB all said that what she wanted to do was the obvious next step. I was relieved, even though I knew what was going to happen next.

The second doc took a history and examined me. Part of the examination is painful. As in saying ‘Stop!’ louder and louder until he is convinced that what I say hurts actually hurts and that the pain is at the level that I claim it is. Simple diagnostics. I know he has to do it. Doesn’t mean I didn’t hate every second of it.

I walked out with a prescription for stronger meds, a sore spot from the deep injection and an arm that had almost stopped throbbing.

The next two nights were uninterrupted 6 1/2 hours of sleep, my norm for many years. I woke up at 3:30 am on nite three but that was because the fan and AC had stopped because of a brown out. I got back to sleep. Night four was another 6 1/2 hours.

Life is good.

The load I took off was twofold. I had been concerned about this country’s reputation for being stingy with pain meds. I am also concerned about the quality of care here. Both concerns were greatly reduced on a single afternoon. I could literally feel that I was carrying less of a load. Others noticed it also.

Health Care Costs

Consult with existing doc: zero pesos. We spoke during my twice weekly 90 minute physical therapy session which costs P 300 ($ 6.38)

Twenty minute office visit with second doc, including case history, physical exam, local anesthetic injections, deep steroid injection: P 700 ($ 14.89)

Twenty pain meds: P 1010 ($ 21.49).


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