SCS Implant, Failure, Explant, & Residual Pain

December will be two years since removal and I thought that by now the pain and discomfort associated with the spinal cord simulator after ex-plant would have begun to ease. Don’t get me wrong the severe pain, the inability to bend over and stand up without being physically aided is no more but this residual ache, this constant piercing pain persists.

As I sit here each night unable to sleep because of it I think back on the whole ordeal and how I tried to express to the doctor how painful it was and wasn’t improving any at each appointment after the implant. I tried to explain I couldn’t move, sleep, stand, sit nor was the device providing any relief. I tried to explain to him the device vibrated my stomach and made me vomit. I tried to express to him the quality of life I was told I could have by implanting was the opposite. More importantly, it had taken away from me what mobility I did have left after the Complex Regional Pain Syndrome began to attack.

He told me… We need to dial it in aka reprogram it, that didn’t help. He told me we needed to try again, still no help. Finally, with no test, no diagnostic examinations, nothing… he wrote in my medical records I was exhibiting pill seeking behaviors at my mandatory “medication refill” appointment after I inquired as to the mailed status of said prescription. Remember today I am almost medication free because I choose to be through my lifestyle changes and not because I have failed to meet my pain management contractual agreement.

Spinal Cord Stimulation - Indications, Safety, and Warnings _ Medtronic - Google Chrome 10_28_2018 6_13_49 AM
I effectively became a “DNR” at age 46 because of a device to improve my quality of life.

Back to our timeline…

Fast forward, very slowly and painfully, twenty-four months later and we are getting ready to walk into the surgical appointment to have the device removed, ex-planted as the medical world calls it… The doctor, whom I have never met if that tells you how desperate I was to get this device removed, says it will take two and a half hours of time as this is pretty standard for what they do…

So, over three hours after the doctor anticipated being done my husband was being updated as to why I was still in surgery. It seems I was essentially hog-tied by the wires the implanting doctor implanted. See, after tunneling through my lower back muscles to implant the battery on the opposite side of where he anchored the wires into my spinal cord. Then the specialist, Kansas’ finest as was explained to me, ran said wires up along my spinal column, as in setting right up next to it. Then preceded to loop the wires up over my vertebra in between my skin and the bone, then back down underneath the spinal cord, and finally anchored it underneath.

Hmm, ya say it was implanted improperly? You’re saying it’s no wonder she hurt? Hmm, ya don’t say… Well, all sarcasm aside… I still feel the battery area almost as if it were still there. Again, the intense pain is gone but that sharp, aching deep in the socket is still there. My lower back hurts when I sleep, allow me to rephrase that when I try to sleep. Generally, I awake to the sound of me wincing in pain when I try to roll over in my sleep. Trying to sleep longer than a few hours at a time is near impossible and here I stupidly thought, they are trying to help me.

I thought what could hurt trying, worse case it doesn’t help as much as I thought it would and I just don’t use it. Wrong! Not the worse case scenario with an scs.

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