We learned something this week that might help others. Alex has been going to a pain management clinic for about six years. He regularly gets steroid shots help reduce the pain he experiences in his lower back and legs.

He wasn’t scheduled for a consultation until the 14th of May. When he called a few weeks ago and asked for an earlier appointment, the receptionist said the doctor was booked solid. His pain continued to increase, so last week he stopped in at the clinic and asked to be put on a cancellation list.

On Tuesday his pain was excruciating and he was having difficulty walking. In desperation we wrote a letter to the doctor asking if he could help Alex get scheduled for a procedure within a day or two after his consultation. He just felt like he couldn’t bear to wait until the first of June to get some relief.

Yesterday morning the clinic’s scheduler called and said the doctor would meet with Alex at 4:45 and they would get him in for the procedure this morning at 6:45. I cried with relief and gratitude.

I think the fact that the doctor has been treating Alex for a long time worked in his favor. He knows my husband isn’t a wimp or a whiner. When Alex says the pain is unbearable, he isn’t exaggerating.

Here’s what I learned – by faxing the message directly to the doctor, we were able to side-step the scheduling staff. I’m not being critical. Their job must be very stressful. Everyone who calls is in pain and wants immediate relief. I suspect after a while they get desensitized.

At any rate, sending a fax directly to the doctor is a strategy I am putting into my permanent memory file. When you are truly in a desperate situation, it’s reassuring to know that when a letter lands on a doctor’s desk that he’ll take the time to read it.

Today I’m feeling grateful that Dr. Anderson felt enough compassion for Alex that he was willing to rearrange whatever he had scheduled for this morning to do this procedure. We know this won’t be a cure. It’s a temporary fix, but a little calm on this stormy sea of pain will be a welcome relief.