Retired Corrections Officer, Husband, Father, Paradigm Hero
Ira “Butch” Coffman was a corrections officer on his way into work one winter morning in Michigan when he slipped on ice in the parking lot and fell, landing on his back. His left foot began to drag about one hour later, but his suffering had just begun. Twelve years after the accident, he continued to experience chronic pain despite a series of failed interventions.
Butch described his pain this way: “It took everything I had away from me. It took my home. It took who I was. It took my control of me away.”
At the time of his case referral to Paradigm Outcomes, Butch was almost 12 years post-injury with ongoing chronic pain. His previous treatment included lumbar fusion surgery and a spinal cord stimulator implant three years after the accident, but the interventions seemed to only make matters worse and he continued to experience chronic back and leg pain. In addition, he suffered from emotional distress, anxiety, clinical depression, and obesity. His physicians focused primarily on prescribing medications, including a high daily morphine equivalence dosage. He used a rolling walker around the home and led a very sedentary lifestyle.
With Butch’s agreement, the Paradigm Management Team, including a Paradigm Medical Director specializing in chronic pain, recommended a biopsychosocial care plan with non-interventional physical medicine and rehabilitation, counseling and opioid weaning. Butch and the team recognized that the spinal cord stimulator may be causing some of his pain and arranged its removal. Paradigm’s onsite Network Manager, Kathy Metcalfe, RN, CCM, CDMS, PSPM, built a trusting relationship with Butch and ensured that he recovered from the surgery without complications and began a cognitive behavioral therapy program.
He gradually improved his physical fitness over the course of Paradigm’s year-long involvement, to the point where he commented that he sometimes forgot that he had pain. He soon transitioned from aquatic therapy to land-based therapy, and he moved from the rolling walker to infrequent use of a cane for stability. He became more active and was even able to enjoy resuming active hobbies, such as going deer hunting and fishing with friends. Butch successfully eliminated the use of several medications, took nutrition classes, and became involved in a support group for post-bariatric surgery patients.
“Paradigm coming along was a ray of sunshine at the end of the tunnel,” says Butch. “I was the type of guy who would say leave me in a wheelchair and let me go. After 10 months of physical therapy, I'm doing things that I've wanted to do for 9 years."
Supported by the Paradigm Management Team, Butch regained the life that had been taken away over the course of 12 years by chronic pain. Butch continues to have a positive attitude and is motivated to remain active. We proudly call him a “Paradigm Hero.”