Shark, I'm not sure if you remember me but I made a post about a year ago talking about my dad's problems. Your post gave me chills because pretty much everything you mentioned has happened to him, and then some. He had a botched back surgery and was taking over 200 mg of methodone (on top of a bunch of other stuff) for over 7 years. He then fractured 2 vertebrae in his neck about a year and a half ago and he was in constant pain. It took them about 6 months before they could perform surgery and those were some terrible times. (they reduced his pain meds to only 60mg through that time, despite his new injury adding even more pain) He battled with social security and L&I for years until they finally accepted him and he is now getting all his benefits. (has been for 2 years)
He had no one but me in his life at that point. His wife left him, his young daughter wouldn't speak to him because of his wifes accusations that he beat her (completely bogus, she was on probation for attacking him) and everyone on his side of the family are deadbeats who owed him money, but wouldn't invite him over for thanksgiving or Christmas. He is now living quite happily if not completely pain-free. He used to just fall asleep randomly because of the high amounts of medication he was on, and he wouldn't ever sleep in a bed because it hurt his back. He can now sleep in his bed just fine, and he is awake and alert throughout the day. He no longer takes any pain medication at all.
We changed four things about his lifestyle, and I'm not sure which it was that helped him so much. The first thing we did was see an accupuncturist, she was great and after sessions he sometimes felt completely pain-free for the first time in years.
The second, was that I got him a masticating juicer for his birthday, and I would juice for him 2-3 times a day if I could get over there. Vegetable juice is simply amazing for you, and he hated it at first but now he drinks it because he enjoys the taste. Some of the best juices are celery,(for pain especially) kale, spinach, carrots, parsley, apple, cherries(for pain), garlic, and ginger. I would usually make him some kale/carrots/celery/parsley/garlic juice at least once a day, and most of the time twice a day. After just a month he started looking and feeling tons healthier. Your body CAN heal itself up to a point, but its difficult for it to do when its lacking a lot of the necessary things that we don't get with a modern diet. I may be way off base and your eating a lot of vegetables a day, but juicing made it way easier for both of us for him to get all of the vitamins since we both hate eating vegetables. Buying organic is obviously the way to go, especially with celery, carrots, and leafy greens since those are the ones that receive the most pesticides. That is definitely more expensive though, so if you can't then non-organic is better than nothing. (I still use non-organic carrots and use a scrub brush because I use 5-8 lbs. of carrots a week and that can get expensive) If you are interested in trying out juicing please let me know and I can help you get started, its a little confusing at first to figure out what to juice, what juicer to use, and all that stuff.
The third and fourth things were tied together. Luckily we live in Washington, so medical marijuana helped my dad a ton. He hadn't smoked it since he was in his early twenties, and I eventually convinced him to give it a try when he hurt his neck. He couldn't believe how much it helped him. I really think that this is how he survived going from a large amount of painkillers a day to none at all. Over a period of 2 years he went from a ton to no pain meds at all. The first 6 months of his doctor cutting it down (the doctor was new and a dick, he didn't give a shit about his side effects either) and then he switched him from methodone to morphine. (even though my dad told him that morphine made him sick) That was what really made him want to get completely off the pain meds. He found that no one gave a shit what he thought or felt, so he couldn't rely on anyone but himself to help. So he slowly stopped taking the meds in combination with smoking more marijuana, accupuncture, and juicing. He doesn't even smoke marijuana anymore, but it really helped him in making the transition.
This wasn't easy. It was the most difficult part of my life, because I wanted to help him so badly but I felt helpless and didn't know how. So I educated myself, and stopped trying to focus on the pain for him. I focused instead on trying to make him healthier, which ended up having a side effect of stopping most of the pain. I can never imagine what he, or you truly felt through all of this. I would watch him squirm uncomfortably in his chair, fall asleep for a couple minutes and then wake up either screaming or with a grimace. He looked tired and drawn all the time, and when I left to go to sleep and came back he would be in the same place doing the same things. When he was in so much pain he would be constantly irritable, and wouldn't want to do anything constructive(which I can understand). So I forced him to. I was as much of an asshole to him as he was to me, and I didn't take anything he said personally. I still don't know how he made it through exactly, but he is doing so much better, and is going to the gym and recently got a girlfriend.
Now about Social Security... that will always be a battle. I really have to advise you to get a lawyer for this as well, but I know that may not be an option because of how much money they cost, and how much both the lawyer and social security drag their feet. Just like with your pain though, you can't give up.http://www.yourwvinjuryattorneys.com/Pe ... The-C.aspx
My dad had his battle with social security and L&I before I got out of high school, so I wasn't really helping him with that, but that short blog post paints a pretty grim picture about benefits. Appeal appeal appeal, apparently. Get your teeth into those mother effers and don't let go until they give you what you've earned. Know that there is always help out there, be it your family, free legal advice, support groups, and people on .net. You don't have to do this alone.
In my experience, my dad just needed to get some of his fire back. He was defeated after so many things going wrong and going against him. My family has always had horrible luck in pretty much everything. So I kicked him in the teeth and wouldn't let him quit. I know he would have done the same for me. He just needed to get that feeling back. That its just him against the world and the world better watch the F out because he's a bad mother effer and the world must have forgotten that.