FRUITPORT, Mich. — A woman with love for extreme outdoor activities wasn’t able to enjoy her passion after a tragic ATV accident. She battled chronic pain for months, struggling to find her road to recovery.
“Depression, anxiety, you just want a normal life. You want to be able to go out with your friends, and do things with your family. It’s really taken a toll on me,” said 30-year-old Jessica Reaume.
The chronic pain in Reaume’s leg was taking a toll on other aspects of her life, including work, her social life, and even daily chores.
Relief came for Reaume thanks in part to an iPad app at a doctor’s office that asked all the right questions.
Reaume found a program called “PRISM,” a proprietary tool developed and used by Michigan Pain Consultants, a pain management practice located in Grand Rapids and throughout West Michigan. Reaume lacked one-on-one attention with other doctors she had seen. Doctors in some offices are seeing 30 patients a day, and a lot of them are spread very thin. With PRISM, patients are able to answer dozens of questions; some that they might not even think are relevant, before they even walked into the doctor’s office.
Doctors who use the program Prism are hoping to look at the overall quality of life, rather than diagnosing a patient at the surface level, and sending them out the door. Reaume’s injury needed one-on-one attention.
“I’m scared to get back in it. That’s why it’s hard to even put it back together,” Reaume said, as she looked longingly at her dusty ATV.
Jessica Reaume’s ATV sits broken in her garage, collecting dust for almost a year now, and looking at it brings back memories she hopes to never relive.
“They say you got to get over your fears and do it sometimes,” said Reaume.
After a ride in Lake City with friends, her whole life changed when she took a sharp left turn.
“I was driving, and I was strapped in, and the road started to give way, so it rolled over on the right hand side. The way the seats are my leg got caught underneath the steering wheel,” she said.
She was rushed to the hospital. Her leg was so swollen, they had to cut her jeans off to get to the wound. The accident tore her femoral artery, and she also suffered a large hematoma.
“I was bleeding internally, so it was filling with blood, and it was a big bruise instantly that grew larger and larger by the second,” she said.
She said this was pain was something she never experienced before, and she was forced to endure it every single day she got up out of bed.
“I was seeing a local doctor for 6 months, and it was not getting better, sometimes even getting worse,” she said.
MRIs, X-Rays, and misdiagnosis made her frustrated. Months of pain put a halt to every day, normal activities like playing with her niece and walking her dog. She even received tickets for her first-ever Lions game, and instead of excitement, she felt angry, because she wouldn’t be able to attend.
“Getting up there, getting through the stands, getting around with crutches, and it was just so hard I didn’t even want to try it,” she said.
Reaumes sought a second opinion, and when she did, she arrived at the doctor’s office greeted with something unusual: an iPad.
“It kind of seemed like it was coming out of left field,” she said.
The tablet was equipped with 125 questions on a program called Prism.
“I believe there was a question they asked about my household chores. You don’t think about how much time you put into them, and how many hours a day,” she said.
They would also ask questions about her emotional stability, sleeping habits, or personal relationships.
“Most of our patients come in and they want their pain fixed, and they say, ‘We just hurt.’ But we can’t fix that with that information, we need to look at all aspects of their lives,” said Dr. Bindu Lewis, a physician with Michigan Pain Consultants.
Dr. Lewis uses Prism for her patients, and it helps her gauge what’s really going on before they even step foot in the office with the patient.
“We can look at this data, and say ‘Ok the patient comes in and says their pain hasn’t changed.’ Chronic pain is hard to get a handle on, but Prism data will show that they are doing better in their personal life, or less depressed, or more functional. All those things have to be weighed and looked at when prescribing medication, rehab or anything else,” said Lewis.
Answering questions ahead of time saved Jessica a lot of frustration.
“She didn’t have to spend lots of time going over questionnaires. It was more personal,” said Reaume.
Now Jessica says her depression is fading, and she is getting ready for her Spinal Simulator Implant that will help ease the pain in the nerves in her leg.
“I was training for my first 5K, so I’m desperate to get back into training for that,’ Reaume said.
She says she may even be getting back into the driver’s seat.
“I’m thinking about starting with a golf cart, and going from there; just little bits nice and easy,” Reaume said.