The Nail in The Coffin

Yesterday afternoon I had my three week follow-up appointment with the Pain Management Specialist.  I have yet to come up with a bloggy nickname for the guy, but so far I really do like him.  In fact, I really wish he'd come into my life a few years ago.  I think it would have made a world of difference to me.

Initially, I wasn't going to write about my visit with him but I've changed my mind for two reasons.

The first:  Knowledge is Power

The second:  The Torturer

First, I've learned information I provide here on 24 is often helpful and empowering to some of my readers.  I've had so many people learn from what I've gone through since my accident.  If I can make anyone's journey even slightly easier than mine, I feel like I've done a huge service.

Honestly, I'm finding this whole world of pain management very interesting.  I always assumed pain docs just threw tons of narcotics at their patients.  In fact, that's the primary reason I was so hesitant to go to a pain specialist.  Now I'm learning there's a lot of new scientific developments in the world of pain management.  I guess I'm a nerd because I find it really interesting.

In any case, remember the medication he put me on to tell my nerves to calm the hell down?

I've been increasing the dosage every week.  Yesterday he informed me I'm going to keep increasing the dosage every week for several more weeks to come.  The bad part is it makes me very, very, tired and I get bouts of Whoa! Dizziness! on it.  The side effects aren't as severe after about five days of taking the medication, but then I have to increase it on the seventh day and the cycle begins again.  Ugh!

The positive is, my pain impulses have already calmed down a little.  In truth, only a teeny, tiny, bit – but it's a beginning and the medication takes awhile to build up in a person's blood system so I should see more and more benefits over time.

The doc was actually very hopeful based on my body's initial response to the medication.

He's going to see me again in four weeks.  At that time he'll be tweaking my medication levels more, adding a new medication, and who-knows-what-else.

In the meantime, I'll keep taking the stuff to calm my damaged nerves down and the same pain meds I've taken forever when I need them.  I guess he might be moving me to a time-release type of narcotic down the road, but not yet.

Who knew they even had such a thing?

(I'm hoping I end up not needing it.)

The thing is?

It all left me feeling hopeful.

Hope is an important commodity for me.

He believes, without question, he can get me more comfortable and living in less pain.  He is so certain, he doesn't even question whether or not this is possible.

How can that be?

Seriously, why – why, why, why?! – didn't anyone get me to this doc sooner?

Several times while I was with him he'd mutter, "Six surgeries!" and shake his head as if to say, "You poor thing!" or perhaps, "How could they do that to you?" or maybe even, "Why haven't I seen you sooner?"

Then he sat with me for the longest time explaining to me his plan to help me.  He even told me what Plan B and Plan C and Plan D are … so I would understand upfront, if one thing doesn't work, there are other options.

It will take time …

But I left his office feeling excited, hopeful …

I really think my life will be changing over the next year.


And oh yes, there is a part of me that is trying not to get too hopeful because I definitely DO remember thinking each and every surgery would be the one to return my life to normal.

Yet … I am hopeful.

The second part of this saga is – physical therapy.

The doc scowled when he heard about my experience with the new PT.

So guess what he did?

He referred me to … The Torturer.

Oh yes, he did!  

He's got "The Torturer" pre-printed right there on his physical therapy prescription pad.

He told me The Torturer would be his "first choice" for my physical therapy.

I hemmed and hawed and told him I didn't know if it would be possible for me to go there.

He looked at me dumbfounded as if to ask, "Why the hell not?"

What I knew, but couldn't say is this …

The Torturer is not a person to forgive (real or perceived slights) easily. 

He is also a person who can turn and walk away from people without ever glancing back.  

I've known this about him for years.

He is who he is.

And yet, I am the opposite.

I am a person who will forgive, and forgive, and forgive yet again (even when I only end up getting hurt as a result).  

I do this because I'm not a person who easily walks away.

I keep glancing back as I walk away … and with every glance back – I want to make everything better.

It is who I am.

It was with misgivings, and mixed feelings, I texted The Torturer as I left the pain docs office.

I informed him the pain docs "first choice" for my "new" PT is him.

And then I typed, "Is that even an option?"

After a delay, The Torturer texted me back with the phone number of someone else for me to call instead.


Just like that, all the earlier hopefulness of the day came crashing down, smothered by a host of hurt feelings.

And that is what the final nail in a coffin (of a long-time friendship) feels like.

© Twenty Four At Heart

55 Responses to “The Nail in The Coffin”

  1. Pam

    Oh, my heart bleeds for you. Especially after the ice seemed to be melting, the last time you talked to him. Texts can seem so terse: are you quite sure he didn’t misunderstand you? Thinking that somehow it was you who was reluctant?
    But if that door is shut then all you can do is try the new guy and work on being hopeful. It’s even possble he’ll suit you better. Keep your chin up!

  2. di

    Sometimes in life, Suzanne, it is just best to walk away. Maybe someday the Torturer will grow up… but I doubt it. Just sounds to me as though your personalities don’t mesh, I even thought that the last time you wrote about seeing him at his office. Walk away….

  3. Karen

    Hmmm… You know, I really should read your past posts, wondering how that relationship became so sour in the first place. It seems as if he really was the right professional PT to help you.
    Alteast you are in the very good pain-management hands of someone you like alot and are already getting results.

  4. unmitigated me (m.a.w.)

    I think you will be better off with someone else. Also, when I met Dr. R., my amazing pain guy? I cried because it was the first time I had hope in 5 years. THERE ARE ALWAYS OPTIONS.

  5. tonya cinnamon

    maybe he feels he cant handle you anymore .(men sometimes have a hard time letting things go)
    i say you will find a better pt that will be on your level and understand you better.
    much hugs to you and im glad the medicine is starting to work 🙂

  6. Linda

    Maybe, just maybe The Torturer is doing you a favor. Maybe, because you two are friends, he feels that this other PT person might be a good change for you. Maybe. Or maybe he’s just being who he is. We can’t change who we are. We have to accept our friends as the gifts they are whether wrapped in brown paper & string or pretty paper & silk bows. Chin up 24! You’re still moving forward:)

  7. Jan

    Ah, Suzanne. I *know* what a blow this is to you. My first response was “gimme the SOB’s email address – I have a thing or three to say to him!” Then it occurred to me that perhaps this is for the best. Fire the new PT and contact the person The Torturer referred you to, then put some distance between the two of you, as hard as that may be. Go forward and leave the hurt behind. It’s *your* life – if he doesn’t want to be a part of it, it’s his loss.

  8. Linda

    My computer deleted (ate?) the list of blogs I follow and it took me a while to get back on yours. Needless to say I’ve spent hours catching up on your life, from the washing machine debate to the New PT. (Or new ex-PT) Hey, after your quick response from Whirlpool, can you tweet about my inability to send my first born to college without taking out what feels like bazillions of dollars in loans? (I don’t have a blog or know how to Tweet, although I am on Facebook… Think people would send me money??)
    Seriously, you are truly an amazing person for dealing with all you have in your life. And, for having a great sense of humor. You say it like it is, and manage to remain respectful, even when you are hurting. You take such amazing photographs that I feel like I had a mini vacation when I view them. My sister lives just north of La Hoya. How far is that from where you live? Well, how far in non-rush hour times? I HATE driving out there in rush hour, but I would love to see the area where you live.
    So, thanks for brightening my day and I can’t wait to read what’s new tomorrow!

  9. Kelly

    Losing a friend cuts deeply for a long time. I know so I empathize deeply.
    I’ve been reading every post for at least a year and a half and this is the thing .. the torturer has nothing to be mad about or forgive. He cut off your insurance with no notice to you and didn’t even give you a referral. You wrote about it in a respectful manner and in the process got a lot of publicity for insurance issues in our country. He should be thanking you for that. By telling your story you brought more attention to the issue than any news article. Is he so self absorbed that he can’t see that? I guess so. My point is – I don’t see a thing you’ve done that needs forgiveness. He on the other hand, has treated you poorly more than once. The man needs to grow up and learn to see beyond his own self absorbtion.
    So he’s a good pt. He’s clearly not a good friend. Your new pt was not good. It may take a few tries to find another good one, but I don’t doubt you will. And maybe this time it will be a person who truly does care about you instead of just pretending to.
    You are the best and an inspiration to SO many. You will get over this hurt just like you’ve gotten over so many things as we’ve read along with you. BIG HUGS!

  10. Tami

    Do NOT, I repeat do NOT let this situation with the torturer take away your new found hope. The man’s an ass. I hate to be so blunt but its true. Seriously what have you ever done to him but be kind, be a friend, raise awareness on a huge level for blue cross issues. You have been a great friend and you ARE a great person. If he can’t see that its his loss. And it IS his loss. I think he must have issues way bigger than you realize to react the way he has. So yes, walk away. It may hurt a little but he’s clearly told you he doesn’t want you in his life. I’m sorry that hurts as much as I’m sure it does. Nonetheless when one door closes another opens. Maybe this will lead to a PT who is able to take you the rest of the way on your recovery. In the end the torturer will be sitting alone wondering why he doesn’t have friends who really care about him. Maybe at some point he’ll realize he pushed them all away.

  11. David

    The man is turning business away in this type of economy?
    Is he crazy?
    He must really hate you.

  12. missy

    It is so cut and dry for men (see David’s comment). I am really shocked at his response but so hopeful for the pain management aspect of your life. You will find another therapist and continue forward. Chin up.

  13. Christi

    You forgive and forgive and forgive again because you are a loving, kind person who values her friends. It seems to me he has a lot to be forgiven for and you have done nothing that would warrant forgiveness. I hope this time you DON’T forgive him and you DON’T look back. He doesn’t deserve you. You are a loving kind soul and he’s not.

  14. Andrea (@shutterbitch)

    Do not let The Torturer’s response to your text derail your hope with the pain doc. The Torturer doesn’t get a say in your future anymore, by his own choice. There has to be another PT in the area that’s not The Torturer but can be positive and hopeful about your treatment. It’s a large urban area. Keep looking.

  15. Tara Bradford

    Well I think you closed the door on the Torturer a while back. I’m sure there are others who can help you, without the psychological drama attached. Your pain management guy sounds like a gem. And yes, definitely reason to be hopeful!

  16. Trina

    Suzanne all I can say about the Torturer is “WOW”.
    BUT….as for the time release pain meds- go for it. I changed to a time release a couple years ago and it was the best thing I ever did. I don’t get the “burst” when I take something now so no dizziness, no sleepiness and no nausea. The time release keeps you comfortable for so long that sometimes I forget it is time to take the next one. But if I don’t, trust me, I will remember shortly!! I like them because it is a level of pain reduction that I can count on to always be there and if I have done something that causes some break through pain I can always take something else to amp it up a bit. At first I thought it would zone me out and I would be a zombie all the time, but seriously after a few days when my body got used to it I was in heaven- well as far in heaven as someone with chronic pain can be. 😉

  17. Laura

    Nothing hurts quite as badly as losing a friend.
    I’m sorry.

  18. Laura

    Oh my goodness, that’s so sad on his part. He truly must not know what a grea fantastic friend he will be losing. I too am like you where no matter what, I can’t just walk away. I have a best friend of over 20yrs, and we have had many ups and downs. If I had walked away, we would have only been friends for a very short period of time.
    I hope you can find a better PT person. It will take time and maybe many tries, but I know there’s another good one out there for you. He’s not the only one that’s good at what he does.
    Hugs and a ton of support for you.

  19. Karl

    I wouldn’t let one person’s unforgiveness ruin the hope you garnered from the pain management news. You’ll find someone to work with. Still, losing friends sucks. I’ve had a few nails in the coffin the last 7 months and it hurts. Brushing myself off and moving on, I find, is difficult. But I’m gonna keep on keeping on.
    And I know you will, too.

  20. Tiffany

    I know this may sound weird but my heart is breaking for the torturer. What a sad soul he must be to push people who care about him out of his life. Does the man not know how to give love/friendship? Or is it accepting it that is so difficult for him? Either way, he’s a sad person.
    By the way, you are never doing the wrong thing by giving your heart and caring for someone. Yes, it sometimes leads to hurt but it also leads to a life filled with joy, special moments, and people who care about you. Just by sharing your life with us here on 24 you have THOUSANDS of people who have come to genuinely care about you. And it is GENUINE. I have never met you but I consider you a friend and I’m sure many other people do too. Hang in there – more good things are on their way for you. I just know it!

  21. Kim @ Beautiful Wreck

    I am stunned.
    I am not a grudge holder, I forgive people over and over again. I also think its sad that this PT, who is your friend, is not willing to do this for you.
    I am sorry, but don’t lose hope. I would take his recommendation and move on.

  22. The Torturer

    Dear Twenty Four,
    You forgot to add that I referred you to one of the best physical therapists that I know, highly respect and who is a personal friend of mine. I have told you before that I thought Cindy would be better treating you at this stage of your recovery than I would.
    I had also referred you to the pain doc several years ago. I’m so glad that you are finally seeing him and I believe it is so important to have medical care that can help “calm” your nerves down, to a point that physical therapy can help improve your function.
    As a professional it is important to know your limitations in the care of someone. I’m not turning my back on you, but honestly feel that you need someone like Cindy who has a special expertise to work with chronic pain patients like your self.
    Lastly, I’m here for you as a friend, and will support your recovery in anyway I can.
    The Torturer

  23. Liz Tee

    I can understand, 24, why you had the reaction you had. I would have had the same one. But I also know that my first gut reaction isn’t always the whole story.
    And I also know (the hard way) that texting IS NOT a good way to have conversations like that, even though you think it’s just a simple question. This is a very emotional thing for you. I have seen too many people hurt over what should have been harmless exchanges of information because of the lack of context.
    I hope you and The T can talk, either over the phone or in person, and find a new balance in your friendship.
    {{hugs!!}} and get that hope back, dammit!

  24. Jess

    I don’t know what to say about the torturers comment. His actions seem uncaring and cold. Is he trying to spin the situation to make himself look better? Does he hate you? Love you? Care about you? Not care at all? I’m sure you don’t know yourself.
    Putting the personal relationship aside, I have to wonder how his business is going? He might be a great pt, but 1) He stopped taking blue cross with no notification to his patients 2) you later told us he began taking it again a month later 3) He apparently doesn’t see the big picture enough to realize what taking care of you in a positive way could do for his business publicity-wise. 4) He treats his”friends) (which he says you are in his comment) like crap when they need his support.
    Has he gone out of business yet? Or will that take a few months?
    I’m sorry. I know it hurts on a personal level. The people we care about most are the ones who hurt us most. I know you care about him. (((hugs)))

  25. WebSavvyMom

    –>Sorry to hear about The Torturer but just because the last one didn’t work out doesn’t mean the next one won’t.
    Also, maybe the pain specialist can be referred to as Dr. Pain?

  26. Amanda

    Read the torturers comment.
    Did he not notice you DID write that he gave you the number of someone else he was referring you to? It seems like he wants to be portrayed as an innocent victim. Excuse me, but YOU are the one who has gone thru hell and needs all the support and love you can get from friends. YOU are the one striving to make your life better. Your doc felt the torturer was the best one to help you but the torturer turned you down flat. I don’t see where thats the least justifiable. It certainly isn’t the action of a friend. If the torturer is truly your friend he won’t just SAY that he is, he will SHOW YOU he is. I don’t think he will. How could he possibly really care about you and act the way he has?
    I know that is probably the exact thing you have already asked yourself.

  27. Jenni

    Wow! And OUCH!
    I’m sorry.
    I know you care about him a lot.

  28. Pat

    He doesn’t want you in his life.
    He’s made that abundantly clear. He may say something different in his comment today but actions speak louder than words and his actions leave no doubt.
    Move on. In time the hurt, the slap in the face of friend-rejection, will lessen.
    You are a survivor. You’ve shown us that repeatedly. Your spirit has been beat down and risen time and time again. I have no doubt you will continue to be an inspiration on so many levels for all of us.

  29. Linda Tustin

    1) David, whoever he is, sure was blunt. (which came out sounding rude and mean)
    2) Torturer was blunt also in his texts but obviously wants to blur the bluntness with his comment.
    3) 24- You are a fabulous woman and we are enriched by your sharing with us. You don’t need the torturer. Be hopeful (please) and try the referral.- ((((((hugs)))))))

  30. Donna

    Men are such bad communicators. (generalization – I realize that, but!)
    Maybe he does hate you like david said in his comment.
    Or? Maybe he loves you and is so conflicted about it he’s pushing you away.
    Or? Maybe he does want to be your friend but is just really screwed up and has messed up showing you that.

  31. Lisa

    Ok, so you need a new PT. If I were you I wouldn’t use the torturer’s referral.
    Who needs another like him or one of his friends?
    It’s time to move on and a pt with no ties to the torturer would be a fresh start.
    I’m sorry you feel hurt.
    I wonder if the torturer will man-up and apologize and try to fix things or not?
    Either way I know there will be no stopping YOU or the strides you will make with your arm.

  32. Jack

    I keep glancing back as I walk away … and with every glance back – I want to make everything better.
    I do that sometimes. I have a relatively thick skin and head to go with it. With some people I have made excuses for them and their bad behavior. It is double edged sword because sometimes it works out for you. Sometimes being understanding brings something better and deeper.
    But the catch is that when you expose the soft underbelly you risk being cut very deeply. I know because I have a few scars. That being said, I won’t tell you what to do.
    You have to make the decision there. But in regard to pain management the thing that I hope you get is a way to manage things so that you respond differently. So that when familiar twinges/hints come you don’t tense up in advance,something that provides you some relief. Small victories that you can build upon.

  33. Maria

    I agree with Jack. Its easy to make excuses for the bad behavior of people we care about.
    It doesn’t change the fact that it IS bad behavior. And its not the first time, is it?
    I know pain like this cuts deep and I’m sorry for you.
    I’m sorry he isn’t the friend you thought he was.
    I am SO HAPPY tho that theres hope on the pain front. All of lifes ups and downs are so much easier to take when not clouded by pain. (I know that only too well!)

  34. Jenn in Tenn

    First, never give up hope. Hooray for you that those meds are working, even if only a little! It’s a step in the right direction! As for the Torturer…wow. I don’t even know what to say. I truly cannot imagine he can be a very professional man, unless he’s just heartless. Girl, you just hang in there!

  35. Redneck Mommy

    In this case, it sounds as though both you and the Torturer are hurting.
    I really believe moving on (and using his referral no matter the driving distance) will be the very best thing for you.
    I just have this feeling good things are in store for you, if you move on and allow both you and the Torturer to heal.

  36. Overflowing Brain (Katie)

    He doesn’t deserve you as a paying patient or friend and likely if you start off with someone new they’ll have fresh ideas and none of the baggage that the torturer is clearly unwilling to leave behind. You need good treatment, you don’t need his issues. I know it hurts, but it’s always been my belief that if someone was willing to walk away from you in a time of need, then they weren’t really meant to be there in the first place.
    There is still hope in what the pain management doctor said. But it’s okay to have a little pity party about this. There’s nothing wrong with feeling things, you don’t only have to feel hope or only have to feel hurt, you can feel both, on your own timeline.

  37. Cathi

    I would be crushed if a friend did that.
    I agree with Katie. He clearly has some emotional baggage with you that he has not yet resolved. Knowing that doesn’t make it hurt less, does it? It’s so hard to realize a friend we care about does not care back.
    Start interviewing a bunch of PTs. Seriously, interview them. I think you’ll know when you have the right chemistry with one who has your best interest in mind.
    This is sad. I suppose its not sad for HIM because he seems so heartless. Its hard to understand anyone not caring about you. We all do. Remember that!

  38. Vicki

    If he cared about you but felt you’d be in better hands with someone else why wouldn’t he have called you and discussed it. Receiving a text like that must have cut like a knife. My heart hurts FOR you. I’m sorry. I think, in spite of the ribbing you gave the torturer in your writing, we all have known how much he means to you. Very sad.

  39. Amy_in_Stl

    I would definitely tell the pain management doctor what The Torturer did and get his recommendation. Maybe he didn’t think of the person that was recommended; maybe this will change his mind on the professionalism of The Torturer. Many people in the medical field operate on referrals; the doctor has a right to know the character of the specialists that he refers his patients to.

  40. Lins in Ohio

    I find this a shocker. Wouldn’t you think he’d get immense career satisfaction out of seeing your treatment to completion? Especially now that you have this great opportunity to move forward with less pain? I’m STUNNED! Not to mention, it seems like career suicide. I can’t imagine your pain doc or surgeon sending him other patients, can you? He must be shocking both of them with his lack of professionalism. And don’t docs talk? Won’t more and more doctors hear from your doctors? If he did take care of you in a GOOD way think how much wonderful publicity he could get out of it? The man is not thinking. At all! So did something happen we don’t know about to make him have such strong feelings against you? Otherwise, I just don’t understand it.

  41. Sandi

    I do NOT like that man! I know how much you do like him, but he leaves a yucky taste in my mouth. DO NOT let him hurt you again. Delete his number from your phone.

  42. Loralee

    I gather he feels that he is doing the correct thing but it sure has ended up hurting you a WHOLE hell of a lot.
    Losing friends is so hard but honestly, everything about him and his actions is screaming to shut the door and end the relationship.
    Actions are so much louder than words.It sucks and I’m sorry. I know it’s horribly painful (I’ve been there). xo

  43. Abby Smith

    I am hopeful for you.
    The situation with pt is difficult, but it sounds like it’s time for a new direction.
    Things are always more complex than they seem. The Torturer does seem to have sensitivities about you. Men are so different, hold on to your hopes!

  44. Carole

    Has he even tried to call you or email you to talk about this? Because if not, that says it all and his comment here is a sham.

  45. Kim

    I don’t understand how anyone could be so cold to you. Shame on him for hurting a friend like that. There’s no reason to be so heartless. If he had a legitimate reason for referring you to someone else, he sure did a horrible job with delivering the message. I’m sorry because I know he hurt you deeply. All I can think is that you will be better off without him in your life.

  46. Maureen@IslandRoar

    I’m sorry this is how it’s turned out. But I think you’ll find someone that will work for you even better. It’s the friendship part ending that is so hard. Unfortunately I’ve been there. Like you, I tend to have a really hard time turning away; I keeep looking back. Sometimes, when you’re like us that way, other people get to be the ones to make these tough decisions.
    I’m so glad you’re hopeful about the pain doctor. That is really important. With hope we can do anything!

  47. stacy

    That sucks! I’m going to be back there in 6 weeks or so working on my hand and I just may give him a piece of my mind. Jerk! and you know who you are if you are reading this, you old torturer!

  48. Deb

    Let me guess. The man doesn’t have much success with relationships, does he?
    I’m sorry.
    His loss and its a big one whether he realizes it yet or not.
    Look at it as a new beginning with someone who will care more about you and your recovery than he ever has. ((hugs))

  49. Suzy

    I forgive and forgive and then I walk away. For good. I just don’t have the time to put up with anyone’s repeated bullshit. I don’t glance backwards when I take my final bow. It’s done.
    Things happen for reasons that are sometimes not clear at the moment. Walking away freed me up to meet other people who were better for me. I also learned important personal lessons about myself once I walked away. And that is what each person brings to the table. Some come to learn, some come to teach.
    The Torturer may have taught you all that you need to know right now, in both the physical and the metaphorical sense. A lot of times a heartbreak is really a blessing. Although don’t remind me of that the next time it happens to me!

  50. Katherine

    This is just sad. I don’t know who my heart hurts more for. You, for having the heartbreak realization that your friend is not really your friend after all. Or perhaps him, for not yet realizing what he’s lost by cutting you out of his life. And there’s no question Suzanne – he’s the one suffering the biggest loss because you are truly a special, remarkable, amazing person. Maybe he will realize that someday.

  51. Dahlia

    Just getting caught up now a few days late. Several things struck me about this post. Most importantly, I’m so glad there’s hope on the pain front. I can’t imagine living with pain because I’m a wus and can’t handle even the slightest amount of pain. You deserve a medal for all you’ve been through and overcome. Second, I’m (almost) speechless at news of the text you got from the torturer. Who does something that hurtful? And why? It easy to dismiss him as a heartless bastard, but this is a person who *said* he was your friend once upon a time. What is the motive behind such hurtful behavior? It makes me want to just shake him senseless in hope he wakes up and realizes the path of destruction he leaves in his path. Nothing hurts like the betrayal of a friend, and this is nothing short of a slap in the face. I’m so sorry, because if I had to guess, I’m betting you’d say it hurts more than your arm ever has. Hugs, hugs, and more hugs to you!!
    (PS I know this won’t make you feel better but I firmly believe in karma. There will come a time when the torturer turns to a friend at a time of need in his life … and when that time comes, that friend will turn his/her back on him. I hope when he feels the sting of that rejection he remembers how he treated you.)

  52. Heather

    Wow – this takes the term ASSHOLE to a whole new level, doesn’t it?


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