January 30, 2018
Effective August 31, 2017, the State of Ohio has published new rules in prescribing opioids for the treatment of acute pain due to staggering number of those struggling with addiction. Per the Governor’s Cabinet, unintentional drug overdoses caused 3,050 deaths of Ohio residents in 2015. Opioids were culpable in a significant majority of those deaths.
While most take the medications as directed, many do not use it as prescribed or even become dependent on the drugs. Some don’t even realize the level of dependency.
A similar situation happened with Faiza Hashi. She slowly began depending on painkillers after a car accident. But thanks to Dr. Hares Akbary from the Center for Pain Management at Wood County Hospital, Hashi’s pain is being treated, rather than simply covered up.
“That is quite common,” said Dr. Akbary. “As doctors, we need to ask, ‘Are we treating the problem or are we just masking the pain.'"
Before her accident, Hashi led a very active life. She worked two jobs, went for walks, and enjoyed shopping and boating. And, since she was a nurse, she was always quick to lend a hand to neighbors who were ill.
But on the morning of February 5, 2004, Hashi’s life changed forever when a semi rear-ended her Honda Civic. The collision totaled her car and left Hashi with injuries to her neck, back, and left knee.
After three months of recuperating, Hashi went back to both her full and part-time work. But when her pain returned, it was so intense that she had to resign both jobs.
“I became a different person,” said Hashi. “I was very stressed, very sad, because I used to take care of myself and everybody else. In the morning, it used to take me 30 minutes to get ready. Now it takes me two hours.”
Hashi was referred to a pain clinic in Cincinnati. It was there that she started using painkillers such as morphine and Percocet. But as her pain persisted, she needed more and more medication.
“This was a unique situation because she was a nurse,” said Dr. Akbary. “She’s familiar with healthcare but still fell into this vicious cycle.”
Finding Dr. Akbary
The drive to Cincinnati was becoming too much for Hashi to handle. She learned of Dr. Akbary while looking for a doctor closer to home. During their first visit in the fall of 2016, Dr. Akbary told Hashi that he was going to take her off pain medication completely.
“I thought I was taking it out of necessity since I mixed it with heating pads, creams and hot tub treatments,” said Hashi. “At first I thought, ‘How am I going to survive without pain pills?’”
Today, Hashi is no longer using painkillers. She’s receiving injections in her lower back instead. While she was initially nervous about the injections, she is already feeling better. She hopes to have her pain at a manageable level within the next couple of months.
Hashi’s journey to recovery has been a rough one, but she now knows that painkillers were not providing the relief she once thought. She’s dreamed of returning to the active lifestyle she once had and, thanks to Dr. Akbary, she’s well on her way.