Pain Clinic 11.9

Urghhh!  Yesterday was a horrible day!

Vic was fine but it was Pain Clinic day…………. I start stressing about the Pain Clinic the day before.  Although it is on an appointment only basis, it is also first come first serve……

With the amount of morphine Vic takes, she needs to be assessed on a monthly basis by a pain specialist.  Vic was not able to go with yesterday morning so I set off on my own.  By now the Pain Team knows me well.  Even when Vic goes I am actually able to give them more succinct feedback on Vic’s pain control than she is.

Generally I do not have a problem in getting her script even when I am on my own.  I walked in just before 8am and the waiting area was packed!  My heart dropped into my shoes.  It was going to be a longggggg day…..

Surprise, surprise – no Prof Froehlich!  Just a young anesthetist I do not know.  It was going to be an even longer and more stressful day than I imagined when I walked in.

Well, what a pleasant surprise when the Sister in Charge called out a number of patients and handed them their repeat scripts.  That was a first!!!  All of a sudden the queue was much shorter!  There was hope….

I was the second “patient” to be consulted.  Yeah!!!

The Pain Clinic works on a two file system.  The Pink file contains the Team’s observations and notes on previous consults, medical history, medical letters, test results etc.  The patient keeps the brown file.  It contains the prescriptions.

The new doctor introduced himself and apologized for the professor not being there.  He started paging through the pink file.  He frowned.  He read.  He paged back.  He frowned more.  He shook his head in disbelief and clicked his tongue.  I sat there and I thought: “Flippen hell!! He is not going to give me the morphine script and we have no reserve stock.  He will want to consult with the Professor first or insist on seeing Vic…We will have to come back.”

Maybe I can ask Danie to help her get dressed and bring her to the Clinic…But she was in so much pain when I left and had vomited violently the previous night from pain.

“Who takes care of Mrs Bruce?” he asked

“I do”

“Do you have help and who is looking after her now?” he asked

“My husband is amazing.  He helps and her boys help.  I also have a domestic who assists.”

“Are you able to work taking care of Mrs Bruce?” he asked

“I am fortunate.  I am able to work from home.”  I said

“How are her sons handling her situation?” he asked

To my shame I started tearing up.  The Sister got up and handed me a tissue.

“It is very hard for them.  I sometimes see the helpless despair in their eyes when they look at her.  Her eldest has been in hospital twice in a matter of two weeks for kidney stones and Vic not able to go with him to the hospital.  She was too ill… And now the doctors suspect he may have Lymphoma.  He is only 15…”

“How is she handling it?”  he asked

“Vic is absolutely devastated.  She feels so guilty that she is unable to be a “proper” Mom to the boys… She is worried sick!” I said in a weepy voice.

“Are you having any professional counseling?” he asked

“No I replied.  We use all our financial resources to pay doctors, hospitals and pharmacies.  Counseling cannot and will not keep Vic alive.” I replied.

He started writing the prescription.

“Is she coping with the pain medication?” he asked

“The Jurnista is amazing.  It has made a phenomenal difference in her pain management.” I said

“The hospital will not supply you with the Jurnista.” he said

“I know.  May I have a private script for it please? I asked

“There is no morphine syrup in stock doctor.  Please put the syrup on Mrs Bruce’s private script.” the Sister in Charge said.

He handed me the brown file and an envelope.

“I have written a referral to the Hospital’s Psychology  Department.  You need to see someone as a family to help you through this.” he said.  “There are other palliative care options other than Hospice.  I see in Mrs Bruce’s file the Prof is working on it…” he concluded

I did not dignify his remark with an answer.  We shook hands.  He wished us well and I left to spend another couple of hours waiting for the medication to be dispensed.  I fell asleep in my stainless steel chair outside the pharmacy and my neighbor had to wake me when it was my turn.

Today I went to meet Lani’s foster son.  I am going to gloss over my visit with baby Izak.  He is so cute that I need to dedicate an entire post to him.

On my way home I had a phone call.

“My name is Christa.  I have been asked by Prof Froehlich to assess Mrs Bruce for palliative care assistance.  Would 9am tomorrow suit you?”

“Absolutely.” I said.  “Do you need directions?”

“No, I have a GPS” she said….

It is going to be a longggggg night!!!