Intractable Pain diagnosis -- My sister is an Ohio teacher who increasingly cannot commute or work. She’s been diagnosed with Intractable Pain, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Scoliosis, Ruptured Disc, Asthma, long-term depression, PTSD, anxiety (and more).
Her Primary doctor and Rheumatologist could not work her in during a long flare (week-long, pain level frequently 10 with micro-movements, no sleep). She is breaking down mentally (lives alone, 17-year -held job is 35 miles away one way).
On Sept. 8, I had to forcefully coach her to get to ER. ER admitted her to hospital under 24-hour observation status. ER did cranial, abdominal and pelvic CT scans, apparently useless. Her Morphine / Opiod drips increased pain to insane-screaming level. ER changed pain medications to include Percoset with other unknown pain meds, including a patch, which calmed pain to 7 level. She was discharged in the evening Sept. 9 with ER diagnosis of Intractable Pain and Morphine Intolerance. Discharge instructions are to return to work Sept. 14 but to see her Primary within 48 hours. Primary can’t work her in until Sept. 13. Her insurance covers the Percoset but not the other pain meds. She had to drive herself home in spite of warnings not to drive (hospital social worker could not help). She refused to let me call a taxi. She said driving was a fright and doesn’t remember getting home. She’s terrified.
She’s still not sleeping, reports pain level of 10 when she moves, she can’t lie down or move without excruciating pain. Her scoliosis image shows a severe lumbar bend rather than a curve. Her RA doc this past summer surmised “maybe you have broken your back.” She had a ruptured disc 9 years ago. She has thoughts of suicide and wishing to die. Also she has extremely low self esteem, and can’t seem to advocate for herself. I live 150 miles away, caring also for my husband and father. I’m not sure I can take on another custodianship. I’m not thinking too clearly, either. Her county’s aging services start at age 60, she’s only 58. Advice anyone?