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/ by Dr Margaret Aranda /

Yes, I used to prescribe anti-inflammatory meds, muscle relaxants and narcotics to patients in chronic or acute pain. Of course. The great thing is that this MD, PhD also became a patient with chronic pain herself.

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Image 1. Classic Gold Littman Stethoscope. I think it’s elegant for women. Image Courtesy heartmonitormart.com.

My journey into the outer space non-earth world of chronic, severe pain began when I was assaulted by a patient while an Intern at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center (see Image 2). They say this was the biggest hospital in the world. At its prime, it served so many patients in so many floors of the hospital that one had to literally be in good enough physical shape to walk up and down countless stairs (waiting for elevators was useless) and open huge and heavy fire doors at each stairway.  After the 1992 Northridge earthquake, the stairways were riddled with cracks and today, patients are housed in a newer facility that is not as big.

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Image 2. LAC-USC Medical Center. This is the hospital steps used in the opening scene for the soap opera, General Hospital. I worked on the 13th Floor Jail Ward during the time that Rodney King was tried in Los Angeles. These were tremulous times. And we’re still in tremulous times as we hold on to patient’s rights, the physician:patient relationship and the very Practice of Medicine.

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I was Vice President of the entire 1200-training doctor’s advocacy group, the HouseOfficer’s Association (HOA). We regularly met with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, the Chief of Staff, and Department Chairs. One of the things we talked about was violence inflicted on medical students, interns, residents and Fellows on hospital grounds. There had been one rumored murder along the surrounding streets and a pregnant anesthesiology resident had been assaulted in the doctor’s parking lot. She left. We were never granted access to our request: data on the violence. Shortly after we received the ‘no’ to our question, I was assaulted.

At this moment, I don’t really want to tell that story. I can do that later. In 2006, a lady was distracted while driving and she hit me and my daughter (she is fine and beautiful). I got a traumatic brain injury, vertebral artery dissection and after the “It’s All in Your Head” scenario (See Image 3), a diagnosis of dysautonomia was made by the awesome Dr David S. Cannom at Good Samaritan Hospital in downtown Los Angeles, California.

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Image 3. It’s All in Your Head. This has to be on the Top 10 List of the worst things said. Image Courtesy www.thomdunn.info

Tomorrow is #RallyAgainstPain in Washington, DC and I want people to know that yes, there are doctors out there who understand chronic pain all too well and doctors are in a position to help you establish or maintain your care…we have to try. It’s our obligation.

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My Subsequent Diagnoses

  • Neck muscle strain
  • Acute and chronic neck pain
  • C6-7 discectomy
  • Spinal fusion, C5-6 for spinal stenosis
  • Esophageal spasm
  • Dysphagia
  • Vertebral Artery Dissection
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Dysautonomia
  • Gastroparesis
  • Dysphagia
  • Esophageal spasm
  • Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

I wouldn’t wish any of these on anyone. After the spinal stenosis surgery, the complications rendered me unable to eat a regular diet for over one year. Quality of life was diminished. When my esophagus went into spasm, I literally thought I was dying of a heart attack. The Emergency Room doctor disappeared and my ex-husband didn’t root for me. I was discarded. Over and over again with a PICC line in for over 3 years (see Image 4), my complaints were diminished, ignored or objectionable.

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Image 4. My Arm and My PICC Line. Curiously, first Gemstone Photography and here, Jennifer Wyeth Photography take credit for my photo. It’s not the point though. Patients in chronic pain suffer additional medical problems that make life on earth feel like we are in hell. And that just isn’t right so let’s at least get our pain under control.

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Let us put aside all the distractions in life and get to the goal of supporting #RallyAgainstPain tomorrow, 10/22.

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Here’s what you can do, as 

We need Increased Awareness of Saturday’s Event and Issues

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Twitter Users of Note: 

https://www.twitter.com/KirbyLana

https://www.twitter.com/KimmeeKMiller

https://www.twitter.com/WarOnPainPts  

https://www.twitter.com/TheRebelPatient

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Tweet ~ Tweet ~ Tweet

Let’s keep focused on helping those in chronic pain. Thank you so much. And let’s get back to one comment I made in the beginning:

The great thing is that this MD, PhD also became a patient with chronic pain herself.

~Dr Margaret Aranda

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I think it’s great that I not only have the scholarly credentials of an MD, PhD but that I also know in truth what it feels like to be a patient with chronic pain who needs narcotics for Quality of Life. I’m grateful to be able to help. Like I always say,

Always Lookin’ Out for You.

~Dr Margaret Aranda
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