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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Cycle Of A Chronic Pain Patient

This is a great article on how chronic pain is treated through "pain management". In my state, as I've posted before, things have gotten even worse. Read this page carefully:

Painopoly written by Back Pain Guy at "Two Pain Patients" blog. This is copyrighted to them so to read it you have to click the link. It will open in a new window so you can then return here and see my comments about this article.

This is an attempt at making the gauntlet chronic pain patients must go through every month to get their medications a bit humorous, while also informing the reader of just how difficult it is for most to obtain their medications. This is the same gauntlet I have been running for the past 16 years, ever since my pain severely increased while I was pregnant with my son resulting in the broken SI joint I now live with. The gauntlet has gotten more difficult thanks to all the negative fear mongering hysteria based reporting about pain medication. I'm going to make some comments about this article.

The author gives 3 pieces of advice about not taking how we (CP patients) are treated personally. Try not to take the statements made my relatives, friends, and everyone else personally. Try not to take the fact that you are required to undergo mandatory urine drug testing personally. These are good bits of advice, but sometimes so very hard to follow. For me it is getting more difficult thanks to the laws passed in FL that have removed some trust from my relationship with my doctor (I will write more in another post, it is good but also very sad, annoying, etc.) Having family and friends make statements that they believe you are an addict, putting you in the position to once again having to explain the difference between psychological addiction and physical dependency is not fun at all. This continues to crop up whenever there is a media "Frenzy" about prescription pain killers. It is hurtful to hear loved ones say those words to you and it is hard not to take it personally.

The mandatory drug testing is also difficult to not take personally because of the unspoken (but heavily implied) accusation that you are doing something wrong. It does not matter how many years you have been with the same doctor, you still have to piss in a cup. It doesn't matter how many years you have never shown any signs of addiction, you still have to piss in the cup. It doesn't matter that every urine test you've had always shows you are doing nothing wrong, you still have to piss in a cup. Why? Because you just *MIGHT* do something wrong and the doctor has to cover his ass against the DEA. For me, my insurance company pays around $300 for each of these tests. So much for lowering health care costs. Because these tests are required, no matter what your personal history consists of, the necessary trust between Dr. and patient is eroded by this unspoken fear you will become an addict. Add in how easy it is to fail one of these tests (due to false positives as a result of certain foods, or other medicines, plus other reasons that are not related to the test results but still count as "failing" and thus dismissal from the practice) and it gives the patient an increase in anxiety levels and the subconscious thought that their Dr. thinks they're an addict or making stuff up. So yes, it is hard not to take this personally.

The small sub-paragraph that talks about the "Mini Game" touches upon how patients are treated by pharmacies, and how exact the prescriptions have to be in order to be filled. You can NOT fill 1 day early, it must be filled exactly (for me) 30 days from my last prescription. Which really sucks if your pharmacist can not tell the difference in days that occur when a month has 31 days in, rather than 30. As a result your refill date will be 1 number earlier than last month because that is 30 days. Some pharmacists will also talk very loudly, violating your HIPPA rights by making sure everyone in the pharmacy knows you are trying to fill a narcotic, this causes you to be given dirty looks or even verbally harassed by other customers as they assume  you are trying to fill an illegal script. This can also cause muggings if someone in the pharmacy is only there as a lookout for their partner (in the parking lot), trying to spot whoever picks up a controlled substance script. I am lucky to have found a pharmacy that doesn't treat me this way, but I have experienced this crap in the past.

Now comes the actual "game" of painopoly. Read carefully and you'll notice that the author gets dropped from treatment by a pain clinic because he had a 10 day script filled by his primary care doctor, while he was trying to find a new pain clinic to see him. When you are BETWEEN pain management doctors (meaning you are not actually a patient of one) it is NOT doctor shopping to get medication from your primary care doctor. hough in FL it is now not allowed at all, primary care docs can't write for pain meds anymore so if you're in between for whatever reason, your screwed. Doctor shopping is when you get scripts from more than one doctor, at the same time, covering the same time period. The fact that the author ends up losing the pain management doctor he finally got in to see, because he got a short term (10 day) temporary script to hold him over (and out of withdrawal, and was out of meds by the time he saw the new pain doctor) while waiting to see the new doctor, is very common.

There are so many things I want to say in response to this blog post by Two Pain Patients, so I think I'll write a series of essays in response to the many many valid points that are raised in this essay. Until then, I'll leave my comments where they currently stand. But please, click the link and read about painopoly, it is a very accurate representation of what chronic pain patients are forced to endure. This is how it has been ever since I went to my first pain management doctor, in Arizona when I lived there, back in 1999. Over the 13 years from '99 to 2012, it has only gotten harder to receive medications, not easier.

The government and law enforcement agencies are targeting the wrong people in their attempts to cut down on prescription drugs on the street. The majority can not be coming from a doctor's prescription since it is so difficult to get a prescription in the first place, and gets even harder every year.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Missy: I'm so glad my post resonated with you! It is comforting, (though sad), to know we're not the only people living this nightmare.

    May our voices become just part of a groundswell of support for chronic pain patients. It is sad that people only seem to understand: if they've had it, or lived with it, or had somebody close live with it.

    My best wishes to you. May you have more good days than not.



Thank you for taking the time to read and/or comment on my blog. For people who are chronically ill and/or in constant pain, it can be difficult to socialize as frequently as we would like to do so. Talking with others online is a way for us to socialize, chat with others, make new friends, reach out to others in similar circumstances and many more positive effects.

Knowing that someone has read my posts and commented on it, helps in many ways. The biggest two being that it helps ease the feeling of being "alone" and that no one could possibly understand. Secondly, it reminds us that others truly do care and that just feels wonderful!!

Thank you very much for taking the time to read and/or comment on my blog, it really does mean a great deal to me and is helpful too!