Peter, Week 1

by in Patient Stories November 7, 2013

Peter PokrykaOne more week and I start my bicycle tour of the U.S. Exciting and scary. I have my maps and contacts. But there’s alot of space in-between. So,why? Why take to the out doors. I’ve taken quite a beating in my life. Severely damaged my body more then once. To the extent that I became incapable of work.

Of course I sought treatment from a host of doctors and “specialist”. Procedures,injections,surgeries did little to ease my pain. became a way of life. And its no life. Three times I’ve been sent to physical therapy. What a joke. Either the therapist wanders off to tell their friends about the night they had or they’re trying to treat 5 people at once. I would have gotten just as much out of a walk. Try to justify $35 co-pay three times a week when you’re not working. It’s just not right. So, for a long time I just gave up, got fat, and watched my body deteriorate. The doctors were all to willing to feed me bottles of painkillers. Not that I didn’t need them for sometime. But to take them daily knowing I wasn’t doing anything to address the reason for the pain only made my depression that much worse.

In constant pain and hopeless. It got pretty bad. My house was foreclosed on. I ended up living with my mother. My mother! It sounded like a good idea at the time. But, even in a new space and new doctors I couldn’t get treatment for my pain other than more painkillers. I should say ,to be correct, I couldn’t afford the treatment I needed to cure what ills me. Makes me so mad to see the professional athletes get everything they need within minutes of injury and I have to wait 6 weeks to get an appointment. I’m not mad or resentful of the athlete, its the state of our healthcare system.

In one office I went to I saw they put the name of my insurance across the top of my file before you could even see my name. The “doctor” came in said “there’s really nothing I can do for you” and tried to walk out of the room without even letting me ask a question. What the f—. So, back to the meat. When my brother told me to come on over here I went for it. Got to be better than living in a shoe-box with mom right? Well, no. Still couldn’t get a doctor. And anyone who has ever had a script for painkillers knows just how the pharmacist is going to look at you when trying to fill your script. Like your criminal. So, I decided to give up again. Only, not like your thinking. I decided to give up on the doctors. Give up on the painkillers. And try to find better alternatives to traditional “doctors”.

I went through terrible withdraws. Took weeks to start to feel normal. But that wasn’t all those drugs do. My joints felt horrible. Squeaky like the tin man. Pain like the sound of fingernails on a chalk board. Months before it abated.I started short walks for a bit. Then longer and further. Carefully, I would push myself to do more. Still with pain and great discomfort. But I didn’t want to go back to taking those medications. I sought out a chiropractor. In my first visit I was shown more care and respect than any before. After an onslaught of x-rays, a thorough examination and consultation I actually felt hope for my recovery.

For the first time in years I felt hope. Dr. A showed me just what was going on in my back, top to bottom. He explained every crook and shadow and what we needed to do to begin to get things right in my body again. I began therapy immediately. The therapist “D” went to work on me right away and actually listened to my concerns and complaints. Again I was faced with insurmountable co-pays. When I explained my financial situation Dr.A was able to get me on an affordable budget plan.They were more concerned with me getting the treatment I needed than collecting my co-pay. Wow! Right. I haven’t felt so acknowledged as a human in a very very long time.

I started going to the gym regularly. And don’t you for one minute think any of this was easy. I still have to pay for my treatment. Just a little at a time. And picking up a dumbbell for the first time in 5 years made my joints snap and pop like rice crispies. It was my determination to get better that has made all this work. But those people over at apple health and wellness center gave me the “fuel” to keep it going. My neck is unkinked and the pain in my low back has become localized to my low back, not everywhere in my back.

I’m stronger,I feel better. I’ve lost 20 lbs. I’m still not where I want to be or need to be to go back to working but I’m much closer Then I believed I could be Even just one year ago. So, why ride now? I’ve been here too long. We didn’t plan on me being here this long and its time to move. I could get a room somewhere but, I’d have to give up therapy to pay for it. So, what could Pete do that would keep him growing. Biking. Excellent cardio. Great strength training. And superior will conditioning. Now, where? Everywhere! And why the hell not. I’m generally unencumbered. Don’t owe, don’t have. Why not go everywhere. Meet different people, see small town america and big monuments. That’s my story. That’s where I’m at and somewhere is where I’m going.

All My Ambition P.

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