Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

So, at this point I’ve tried Vicodin. Which, don’t get me wrong is great, but I was just too afraid of becoming a statistic. Opioid addiction was not a game that I was willing to play. CBD topical and vaporizing. These two things worked great for the first week or so, but after that the pain relieving effects seem to dwindle and eventually just seemed like I wasn’t using anything.

I started up the search for another surgeon that may be able to help me. At the time I still didn’t have a huge income since I was only working part time while I was trying to finish up school. I had been receiving the Oregon Health Plan insurance coverage for quite some time. Because who can work, go to school, and afford $300 health insurance costs? Definitely not me. I was searching around on google, and I think, wait a second there’s OHSU in Portland, maybe they will have a physician that can help me. I call the patient information line and ask if they have any orthopedic surgeons in their hospital that can perform a PAO. Yes! They did have a surgeon that was trained in that procedure. Hot damn, I was so excited.

I called the orthopedic doctor I had been working with in Salem, and had them send all of my records and films up to the surgeon at OHSU. I called and verified that they had received all of my information and the nice woman at reception said that it would be 7 to 10 days before the surgeon would make a decision about my course of treatment and if or when I would need to go see him in person.

Three days later I get a call from some woman at OHSU, she tells me that the surgeon reviewed my records and he agrees that I need a PAO, on the left side at the very least. She then informs me that I will not be able to receive treatment from the surgeon because I’m currently on the Oregon Health Plan, health care for low income people. Apparently, in the past people had gotten PAO’s on the Oregon Health Plan and then the state of Oregon decided not to pay out. So the surgeon no longer took patients with Oregon Health Plan. I’m already struggling to hold down a part time job, and finish school, I wasn’t making nearly enough money to pay out of pocket for healthcare. The woman then asks, “Well can’t you get some other sort of healthcare that isn’t OHP?” I’m pissed. The only thing I can get out is “No, I’m obviously on it for a reason, thanks anyway.” I hang up. I don’t think I stopped crying for about three days after that phone call ended.

Once I came back to reality from that phone call, I decided to go back to the orthopedic physician that I had seen shortly after I was first diagnosed with everything. I thought maybe I would explain to him that I was having such a hard time finding a surgeon that I could trust and would actually help me, and that would take my health insurance. The day of the appointment, I’m feeling very optimistic and I feel like I may be offered something at least. My husband and I are taken into the examining room and the doctor comes in. I explain what I had been through in the previous months and how I had been turned away from other doctors left and right.

The tears start falling.

Completely sobbing I explain to him how my life has changed, how miserable I am, and how I hate feeling like a cripple. I can’t walk, I can’t sit, I’m in pain all day, everyday. I’m not living a life, I’m just existing.

This arrogant SOB looks at me and says, “Well, the medical profession has obviously failed you, but I still feel that you need a PAO and therefore there’s nothing I can do for you. Perhaps this is something you just need to come to terms with and move on from.” I was so stunned I didn’t say anything, I couldn’t believe that a doctor just said something to me like that. I’m balling at this point, his face is emotionless, eventually he tells me that he has a physician friend from in St. Louis, and he can ask him for a second opinion. And maybe he’ll get a different answer as far as the treatment route goes. I never agreed to send anything to him, the way that he was talking to me felt as though he was offering me this out of pity. The last thing I wanted from this jerk, was pity.

And then the comments about my weight begin.

“I really don’t think that you are going to be able to find a surgeon that will perform the PAO on a 30-something, overweight woman. If you could lose some weight, there might be a chance that your hips could be fixed.”

My whole world started spiraling down the shitter. I had never felt so embarrassed, angry, and drug through the mud in my life. I’m completely aware that I’ve a bit overweight, but when getting out of a chair is horrifically painful, it’s hard to lose pounds. Never in my life had I met a physician with such little compassion and drive to help his patients. He never offered any form of pain relief, no alternative treatments, nothing. I left that appointment, went home and resumed crying for days at a time.

If I had ever had a time in my life where I wish that I didn’t exist anymore, this was that time.

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