DELIRIUM OF PAIN
"No one who has ever been diagnosed with, or treated for
ever flies again." The words rang in my ears as I sat in my skivvies on the exam table in Dr. Moffit's office. Then he commented, "...But Son, you're making me work today - you've got your second class medical! You need to understand, this is a miracle - this is a medical impossibility!"
Thanksgiving week 2005 I was working for Canteen/Franklin Services, a vending company in Columbus, Ohio as a route driver. It was my job to service every kind of vending machine you can imagine. As I prepared to service my Lowes store, my food crates toppled from the reach-in cooler on my truck striking and pinning my left ankle...! Instantly I was overwhelmed by a pain like I had never imagined before in my life! It was swollen and bruised instantly ! I had never seen so many pretty colors of flesh on one person's body in my life! After a couple more days of work, I could barely walk and went to the occupational health facility closest to the job. The Diagnosis: "Sprain, Left Ankle"!
After changing doctors twice, and becoming debilitated by chronic pain to the point of not being able to work, over the course of six months the occupational health doctor looked completely dumbfounded as he said, "Ryan, I don't know what's going on, but but after six months now...I'm thinking that maybe this isn't a sprain." "Duh! You really think so Doc?!" I snapped back sarcastically. Believing that there was an underlying pathology he referred me to an Orthopedic Surgeon that quickly decided that I needed surgery then declined to follow through with the comment in June 2006 that "MY PATIENTS walk into surgery and leave on crutches...not the other way around!!!" With that disappointment I began seeking a second opinion- with or without the assistance of BWC!
My parents, Jerry & Carla Hart, moved me and my family of four into their spare bedroom to help me find a doctor that had some clue what was going on with me. I was literally delirious with pain, suicidal levels of pain had me on the verge of passing out upon putting a sock on or attempting to stand up-it most certainly was not a sprained ankle resulting from the crush injury! But at last! A glimmer of hope was just beginning glisten on the horizon!
After many attempts, my parents found an Orthopedic Surgeon that was willing to take on the case and give a second opinion: Dr. Krupko of Alliance, Ohio. We found out fast, just after repeated x-rays (for the umpteenth time), that Dr. Krupko was honest, down-to-earth, straight-forward, and not one to pull punches or "save face". After reviewing the new and old x-rays, MRI's, thermography, etc. he sat down,examined me,and informed us that NOT having surgery was the "absolute best thing that has ever happened to you. You see, I have found in life and practice that if it waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck, has feathers and webbed feet like a duck; if it flies like a duck and tastes like duck...IT'S A DUCK!!!" Then he continued, "I've got good news and not so good news. I am an Orthopedic Surgeon...I cut, break, and piece together bones...I can't do a thing for you...!!!...but I know who can! If it looks, smell, feels and acts like RSD...It's RSD, any kind of surgery that I could do would only make things worse! You have RSD and I am going to go make you an appointment with Dr. Gade for the earliest possible date-she can help you.! And we were off again to yet another doctor only slightly encouraged..."What the @%^#^&% is RSD?"
RSD is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. A nerve disorder where the sympathetic nervous system does not calm down after an injury...the trauma could be as little as bumping your elbow on the counter. Come to find out Dr. Karen Gade-Pulido is indeed extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the Complex Regional Pain Disorders (CRPD) like RSD! Working with Dr. Vladmir Djuric, she recommended and started me on drug therapy for pain (Lyrica, Celebrex & Vicodin), Prolotherapy Injections, Sympathetic Nerve Blocks and Pulsed Radio Frequency (RF) Blocks, and months of physical therapy and work conditioning. On the natural side we also included Thermography (essential in diagnosis), Reflexology,
Raindrop Technique (aromatherapy massage with essential oils)
and a myriad of
(B complex, Passion flower, Valerian and others) orally to calm the nervous system and for pain.
The majority of the medical intervention was still considered "Experimental"..at least for BWC purposes. I had gone nearly nine months since the original injury before we even had a diagnosis! A fight was on with the BWC and my employer's attorneys to get approval for treatment so I could try to get a little relief. Finally, a glimmer of hope...one treatment was approved, then another! Dr. Djuric was so encouraged by my progress, and more impatient than I for my recovery, that he told me "I do not know if Worker's Comp will accept this treatment , or how things will turn out..." and he told me the prices and costs of the proposed treatment options, "but I suggest that we proceed with the treatments. You can maybe pay some of it and we WILL submit it to BWC for billing, but right now we need to get you better...and if I have to eat the bill myself, I will!!! From that time, my response to medical treatments was compelling evidence to have it approved by and paid for by BWC.
At the end of my recovery, it may have even been my last follow up, Dr. Gade confided in me in a way that I never imagined a medical doctor would. She apologized. She said, "I NEVER, NEVER, walk out on a patient, but I will never forget the first time that I saw you. I walked out on you five times. For the first time in my practice I really did not know what to do. I did not know whether to send you home with scripts to your medical professional parents, or call a squad and meet you at the ER. Either way, I didn't think that I'd see you alive again." She continued to tell me some statistics about how there was no known case of RSD or the other CRPD's where the patient was debilitated and ever had a normal life again. She told me that with a glum prognosis such as mine, the likely hood of a pain-free life was virtually non-existent! As we discussed the new prognosis and likely hood of recurrence in a few years I had the obvious question..."What if...?" The first RF Block that I had gave miraculous results and lasted for weeks, but when sympathetic symptoms began to recur they came on with a fiery vengeance.
Mother gave me yet another "Raindrop"* as I discussed before.
As she worked, adding the new oils, I realized that my symptoms were not only gone, but I had a complete reversal...I had the exact same warming sensation in the lumbar region and eventually all the way down my leg that I had experienced with the RF block! We're talking non-invasive, all-natural, gentle-touch, 45 min. process that gave me THE EXACT SAME response as the higher-risk, outrageously painful blocks!
The answer to "What if...?" "Go visit your Mom once a month (or week) for a massage! It'd probably do you both good in more than one sense", Dr.Gade replied with a great big smile!
After my very last follow-up with Dr. Gade-Pulido we moved about 1,000 miles away from home to begin missionary pilot/mechanic training.
Sitting in Dr. Moffit's exam room, I realized the miracle. He informed me that he deals a lot with RSD and other CRPD's and stated that HIS patients get treated within six weeks of the ORIGINAL injury! "If they don't", he said, "they never live a pain-free life again! If not treated within eight weeks of the original injury they have no chance at a normal life again. By that point I have filed for total-permanent disability on their behalf "cause they're going to need it! Ryan, because of the effects of chronic pain on the body and of the drugs that we use to treat it, no one who has ever been diagnosed with or treated for RSD ever flies again! But today you're making me have to work ..you don't have RSD today...you've got you 2nd Class Medical! This is a miracle! This IS a medical impossibility!"
Medical impossibility!...I praise God daily for both that natural and supernatural intervention that HE blessed us with!!! Fact is, the medical intervention played its' role, a necessary role, key to my healing, but medically RSD is incurable! But I hold the medical certificate required of a Commercial Pilot with NO RESTRICTIONS!!! GOD did it, and HE entertained the NATURAL, supernatural, AND the medical to knock out this incurable nerve disorder! I live a normal, pain-free life as a missionary/pilot, mechanic
today in 2010...a life and time that, medically speaking, I should have never seen!!!
CARLA'S NURSE'S NOTES
*Raindrop practitioners: at this point, we decided to do the treatment in reverse as if for MS, from cervical to sacrum. I'd consider this for any nervous system situation that needs calming. I also added Helichrysum and Bible oils Frankincense, Myrrh and Hyssop. I'm happy to share other tips I've learned through the years.
Ryan and family lived in Malawi, Africa as missionaries in 2011. Ryan has made two more trips since then. I was honored to go on one and teach about use of herbs and essential oils.
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