by Melinda Lang, Rph
The APF together with Albany Medical Center presented a free community event “Getting the Help YOU Deserve for Chronic Pain,” at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy, New York on Saturday, October 15. This free event, specifically designed for anyone who lives with chronic pain or cares for someone with pain, provided local resources, the latest in pain research, information about complementary and alternative therapies for pain management and much more.
Faculty for the workshop included esteemed pain management specialist Dr. Charles Argoff, Howard Heit, MD, and other staff members of the Albany Medical Center.
Health-related organization, were offered complimentary exhibit space at the event, so that the pain community can learn about the important work of other organizations as well.
Lynn Rowe and Melinda Lang, facilitator, staffed The Upstate NY CMT table, answering questions and handing out CMTA reports, brochures, and other information provided. Many people asked a lot of questions beyond “What is CMT.” They connected with a woman, who has CMT, and may come to the next meeting. Another woman, a teacher, was really excited to see the CMT exhibit, as she has a student with CMT.
The organizers specified that the materials provided must be educational and that membership promotion was not allowed. However, the CMT support group table also provided information and fliers about the Upstate NY CMT support group.
The seminar began with a “Mock Clinical Visit & Discussion” between a chronic pain patient (Dr. Heit) and his new caregiver, (Micke Brown, BSN, RN) a physician’s assistant. This skit demonstrated an ideal situation where the patient provides a complete history of medications currently taking, as well as other medications tried, which were not effective.
Surprisingly, he also admitted to being a recovering alcoholic, which sometimes ends the conversation leaving some medical practitioners uncomfortable prescribing pain medications to a former addict. However, in this scenario the PA worked with the patient by scheduling frequent followup office visits including urine tests, making sure the patient was taking medications as prescribed.
This mock visit effectively showed how we as patients need to be our own advocates. For medical appointments, it is beneficial to bring a list of all medications you are taking with dosage, any allergies, and a written list of questions. If there is something in the proposed treatment plan that you do not agree with or are uncomfortable with, speak up. Insist that the medical practitioner take the time with you to answer all of your concerns. Since either you or hopefully your insurance is paying, the doctor or health care provider works for you!