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Patient Finds Answers to Chronic Pain Close to Home

Daryl and Debra Fisher of Oskaloosa are snowbirds, spending winters in Florida. Traveling for work or pleasure was always an adventure they enjoyed until about 10 years ago, after Daryl had rotator cuff surgery. He said it seems like from that point on, he went down a rabbit hole of excruciating pain issues.

“I had unbelievable pain in my groin area,” Daryl explained. “At first they thought it was hemorrhoids. Then it was a series of misdiagnoses and surgeries. I went to specialists in Minnesota, Maryland, Georgia and northern Florida. I saw some really smart doctors and no one could figure out what my true medical issue was.”

Daryl had three back surgeries in Minnesota and had two pain stimulators placed in his backside that he said didn’t work at all. In between all the surgeries, Daryl said doctors started prescribing pain medicines. In Florida, he was encouraged to see a pain specialist, who prescribed highly addictive pain pills.

“They kept upping the dose and I was just a zombie,” Daryl explained. “We travel a lot, and I had to be somewhere where I was able to get my meds filled, but because I was on such addictive meds, there were a lot of questions that actually made the situation worse, at least in my mind.”

Traveling also changed and it wasn’t just for work or pleasure anymore. Trips to Baltimore and Minnesota were strictly for medical reasons. Four years ago the couple purchased a motorhome because flying was too difficult for Daryl. Debra would drive and Daryl could lay down and be comfortable.

“I couldn’t sit down because of the pain. I was in bed probably 80 percent of the time during the day, and I’d be lying down working on a computer so that I could continue working. I was still in so much pain, I was just living on pain pills and life was miserable. The pain changed my whole life. I was a pretty active person before this happened.”

In Oskaloosa for the summer, Daryl needed to find a new primary care provider. He asked a nurse at Mahaska Health who he should go to, and then made an appointment to see Family Practice Physician Case Everett. That visit literally changed his life.

As a former Air Force Physician, Dr. Everett saw military personnel who had symptoms similar to those Daryl was experiencing. “I asked a lot of questions and had Daryl walk so I could check his gait. I saw that he walked with his foot pointing a different way, which was a telltale sign for me.

“I believed he had an entrapment nerve disorder from a torn labrum in the right hip that was causing all of his pain. Still, we needed an MRI to be sure,” Dr. Everett explained.

Daryl said the MRI came back and Dr. Everett was exactly right in his diagnosis. “We went back to Florida and after a lot of searching, found a surgeon who had experience performing the kind of surgery I needed. Of course, I kept Dr. Everett in the loop through emails and phone calls.”

After having surgery in April of this year, Daryl came back to Oskaloosa. He started therapy in Florida but needed to continue, and he saw Mahaska Health Physical Therapist Lauren Terpstra. Daryl said she really helped keep him motivated and on the road to recovery. Dr. Everett credits Daryl’s success to being consistent in his follow-up and engaged in his medical care.

The next important step for Daryl was getting off all of his pain medications. “I tried to do it myself and couldn’t, but Dr. Everett made it so much easier by lowering my dose of pain meds every couple of weeks. It took a couple of months, but I was finally able to be free of it all.”

Both Daryl and Debra say they think it’s amazing that a family doctor in small town Oskaloosa can solve Daryl’s medical problem when all of the specialists in all the big cities could not. “We are beyond thankful and we feel so blessed,” Debra said.

“Without a doubt, I would recommend Dr. Everett to anyone,” Daryl stressed. “The fact that he cares and takes time to listen was, in my case, life changing. After 10 long years, we feel like life can start anew.

“I didn’t come home to Oskaloosa to find a cure, I thought this is just how my life is going to be. I can’t tell you how incredible it is to be over all that.”