Compassionate Care Helps Area Man Cope with Chronic Pain

After a factory accident more than twenty years ago and the debilitating back pain that followed, Mark Bridges became more dependent than he wanted on a cycle of prescription pain medication. When he became a grandpa, he set a goal to wean completely off the pain medication and asked for a referral to the Passavant Area Hospital Center for Pain Management.

He went from nine pills a day to three. And then his doctor took him down to zero. That final step proved challenging and came during a pivotal time when he needed to be able to work. His property had just been tilled, and he had to plant $600 of grass seed in a short window of time. Unfortunately, the pain was so intense that instead of heading out to plant, he curled up into a fetal position and called for help.

“I was in a bad way,” Mark said. “I called Jamie Smith, a nurse at the Pain Clinic. She told me to come in – that she could get me help.”

Jamie Smith, MSN, RN, could tell Mark was extremely anxious and unsure of the future. She offered support, encouragement and recommendations in conjunction with staff anesthetist Matt Bednarchik, APN, CRNA. She understood that Mark feared the unknown of potential side effects related to withdrawal, but that he also understood what he needed to do.

The three of them, along with Mark’s sister, worked on a plan.

“He was determined, listened to instructions, asked questions and followed Matt’s recommendations for care,” Jamie said. “He called us when he had issues, and we worked through them together. It was a difficult road, but he persevered and achieved his goals. I’m so proud of him!”

Today, Mark enjoys spending time with his grandson. He remains grateful for the care he received at the Center for Pain Management.

“Jamie gave me a hug when I came in, and just that little bit of human interaction meant so much to me,” he said. “The next day she was going to be gone but arranged for another nurse to call and check on me. People don’t take the time to do those things anymore, and I really appreciated it.”

If you are facing chronic pain issues, visit Passavant Area Hospital Center for Pain Management for more information.