I feel your pain - and wish I had an answer. This is a tangental rant ...
I rarely say things like this, but I actually do *hate* PDF files
Feels like a conspiricy that they became the 'document standard' for the web and everywhere else... sure, it was the first to plate for a complex document solution. Still, I wish the open source community had been further along back then - we might have had an alternative.
Well, the problem is less the PDF format as it is those dang reader thingies. Searching with Adobe reader on winduds is like waiting at the dentist for the drill to hit. And it's version what, 9 now? I'll bet it's still dang slow at v15.
xpdf is a real PITA ... I'm sad to say that if I have to deal with more than a few PDFs in one session, I reboot in winders. In fact, here I am precisely because I was looking for help on xpdf :-|
Well, if nothing else, at least we can cry on each other's shoulders over this sad state of documentary affairs!