Thursday, June 26, 2014

Medications (Life After The Army)

After a couple of follow-up calls I finally received my medications in the mail today. I was a little surprised because it is in much larger quantities. Now I don’t have to stress out about running out of meds. I mentioned previously that I’ve also been doing some alternative treatments like the chiropractor and massage therapy. I also received my green card from an alternative doctor. In addition to taking some extra supplements such as magnesium, fish oil, and turmeric I’ve also started using a cannabinoid therapy cream. My wife rubs that stuff on my neck, shoulders and upper back. Once that is on there and sits for a bit, it all starts feeling better. Surprisingly it helps my wife’s hands as well, they recover much faster from giving me a massage.

I still have good days and bad days. They seem to come in waves…I’ll have a few good days in a row when the pain is tolerable and doesn’t impact my daily life much at all. I can take some pain meds and I’m feeling better…not to say the pain is gone, I’m aware of it…but it doesn’t keep me from going about my daily activities as I normally would. Then there are the streaks of bad days where it seems like no matter how many pain meds I take the pain is very severe and it’s hard to get anything done.

The pain meds the VA has prescribed me are Vicodin (Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen) which is what they are having me try instead of Percocet, which is what the army prescribed me for my moderate to severe pain. The Vicodin seems quite a bit weaker when compared to Percocet. Instead of taking just one Percocet, I have to end up taking multiple Vicodin and the relief isn’t as good. I guess it’s better than nothing, but I may see if I can get something a bit stronger next time I go in.

I’m also taking Flexeril (Cyclobenzaprine) which is a muscle relaxer. I usually only take this on an as needed basis and at nighttime because it makes me pretty tired. This is the exact same muscle relaxer I was prescribed while in the army.

Finally the VA doctor wanted me to try out something called Gabapentin. I take this 3 times a day and it’s supposed to help relieve neuropathic pain. I’m hoping it does something, I’ll take any pain relief I can get. On the packaging it says not to take any magnesium, so I’ll quit taking that particular supplement my alternative doctor recommended.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Labs (Life After The Army)

I headed back to the VA this morning to get my blood drawn. The office opens up at 0800, so I went there as soon as possible. I had a massage last Wednesday, which my civilian insurance covers. I am hoping massage therapy will help with all my neck, shoulder, and upper back issues. The first one ended up giving me a migraine which woke me up at 0300 in the morning. I had to call in sick Thursday because of it. Today I’m feeling better, but still have a lot of pain and no eating or drinking is not helping at all. Luckily the process went pretty quick. All lab work is done on a walk in basis and I took my number and waited about 10-15 minutes. They drew 6 little tubes of blood and then sent me on my way. I also was able to sign up for secure messaging with my care team. I guess I can now send messages to my team from the website once it’s all setup. I will then be able to try and figure out about my prescriptions.

Monday, June 2, 2014

First VA Appointment (Life After The Army)

I headed to my first VA appointment today. The VA has been getting a lot of negative press lately in the news, so I let my co-workers know that I’m heading to the VA…and I might not be coming back! Fortunately there is a small VA out-patient clinic located in Bremerton. I don’t have to drive all the way to Tacoma and go to the big hospital. I had to fill out some paperwork, then saw the pharmacist to go over all my current medications. I then saw my doctor, a Chinese dude whose accent makes him pretty hard to understand. After filling out some more paperwork he said I’m not showing up in the system correctly…I’m still showing up as active duty. This doesn’t surprise me one bit. Nothing seems to go smoothly with the military and the government. He wants me to get labs done (blood drawn), so I have to come in at some point next week and cannot eat or drink anything in the morning until I get the blood drawn. I asked him about my prescription refills and he said first I need to do the blood work and then maybe my status in the system will be fixed. So I left confused as to when I will actually be getting my refills. Luckily I’ve stockpiled a bit, so I have a little time…but not a whole lot.