Recovering Our Health
Before Surgery, Understand Your Surgeon’s Pain Management Philosophy
Have them explain in plain English, so you don’t suffer needlessly
When I had my first back operation in 2018, my surgeon taught me several things which have served me well over the years. I was fortunate to have a DO that cared about my entire experience of getting my back treated and back on my feet.
One thing we decided before going to surgery was pain management. We agreed that while I did not want to be in pain, neither did I want to take powerful narcotics for an extended period. Since my surgery involved extensive work with multiple disks in my back, we knew it would take months to recover fully.
My doctor’s philosophy was to take my wants into account to work with a pain management doctor to detail a plan that would keep me pain-free and unaddicted. I found out later this was a complex and comprehensive approach, but I did not know that.
When I went for my second back operation in 2022, I neglected to understand my new surgeon’s approach fully. I moved from Texas to Florida and had a new surgeon. I would rate the surgeon and his office staff as 11/10, except for pain management. My doctor was understanding and empathic. He explained what we would do and took the time needed to make me feel comfortable. His staff was competent, professional, and cared about their patients.
While I was in the hospital, the doctor and his physician assistant both came by. I had no problem getting a response when I called the office and was always treated with respect. I assumed this surgeon had the same pain management plan my prior surgeon used — big mistake.
Unbeknownst to me, my new doctor’s philosophy was to dispense as little pain medication as possible. I believe that somewhere in his past; he had a horrific experience dispensing pain medication. The office expected you would call for more powerful pain medication if needed. During my first three days out of the hospital, I called my doctor’s service four times for pain relief. The first drugs provided did not relieve my suffering.
From my previous surgical experience, I knew there was no need to be squirming…