What Is Frustration

As I’ve alluded to in former posts (at least, I think I have), my mother is in the midst fighting several different medical issues all at once.

A little over nine months ago, the four lower disks in my mother’s spine reached a point of deterioration that was severe enough to cause her significant pain. At first, we thought it was part of her RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome), but after multiple visits with her primary care doctor, she found herself referred to a back specialist. The specialist then decided she needed an MRI. That was four or five months ago. A couple of weeks later he came back to us with the actual diagnosis: disk degeneration (the technical term of which I could not remember no matter how much money you offered me).

Unfortunately for us, her spine had degenerated just enough that no surgical option was available. You know you’re in trouble when you’re actually wanting surgery. Instead she was referred to a pain doctor who prescribed her pain killers that only mildly helped with the pain. The pain doctor then went on to tell her about an electronic stimulator they could implant in her back that would mask the pain completely with electric shocks. We immediately agreed. The plan was this. Wait two weeks for a psych eval, wait another two weeks for the doctor to get the results for the eval and for the insurance to approve (this is called foreshadowing by the way) and then have the trial implanted in her back. The trial would stay in her back for a week and then be taken out. After six weeks, if the trial had worked, she would receive the permanent device.

So, my mother passed the psych eval two months ago and even after seeking another pain doctor, the insurance won’t approve the procedure. My mother is now experiencing severe depression, the kind of depression that would normally be treated with an inpatient visit to a psychiatric facility. Unfortunately, no psych facility could adequately treat her pain. It can only truly be treated at home. So here we are.

Frustration is watching a family member suffer amidst a sea of specialists with no solutions. Frustration is having no where to turn to for help. Frustration is watching non-lethal chronic pain turn into lethal depression and having no course of action other than to wait and watch. That is frustration.

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