Saturday, September 19, 2015

I am unsure

So I have had the same doctor for pain management, Dr G, for a good six years now because of my back pain and later fibromyalgia. We have had a good relationship and he has helped control my pain. I have always liked him and thought he was doing right by me.

I have a friend, L, who has been also going to him for pain management for her issues, which have included curvature issues with her spine. We have compared notes and treatments in the past and both like him.

I had lunch with L this week for the first time after some extensive back surgery last spring. She told me she will never see Dr. G again. He continued to treat her pain, never referred her to a surgeon or anyone else, or sent her for more scans. As a result, her back surgery was much more extensive than if she had had the surgery five years ago. She is very mad at him.

L got a new primary care last year who referred her to a surgeon for her back pain who told her she should have had surgery years ago. But Dr G is an anesthesiologist so he didn't ever refer her to a surgeon.

Now I do not know what to think. Dr G has always told me there is now surgical cure for my pain and I have believed him. I have also done some research on my own on potential back surgery and found that back surgery is very iffy in most cases so I have continued to agree with him. I know every patient is different but this makes me unsure about the whole situation.

I find this very disappointing and disheartening in that we assume a doctor has our best interests at heart but L clearly had a different experience. Dr G believes in medicine to treat pain as that is what he does as an anesthesiologist. A surgeon always believes that surgery is best because that is what they do. Patients get stuck in the middle. And we want to believe that what our doctors tell us is in our best interest.

I think I need to shift my focus from believing Dr G is always correct to doing some double checking. And I have a plan. I see Dr G this coming Friday as a follow up. But then I see my new primary care in a couple more weeks and I will talk to her about my pain issues, particularly my back. I do not want unnecessary surgery but I do want to do whatever I can to feel better.

We must trust our doctors but sometimes we need to do a little double checking. I don't like that part.

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