Its a subject nobody likes to talk about these days, except the media (which tends to blow things out of proportion, its all about the ratings you know. At some point, ANY body who takes pain meds regularly (and legally) will run into an issue. It has just become the nature of the beast.)
I haven't spent the time to do the research, there are those that have, so the only thing I *know* for sure is that they can be a pain to get and to keep, and people look at you funny when you say you take pain meds.
This just in......Not all people who are on a pain med regimen are JUNKIES. Shocker....I know. I just wish someone would clue in our clueless, pain-free, surgeon general, who is one of the torch-and-pitchfork carriers of this "war on pain meds (and screw those who really need them)"
I went to the ER 3 years ago, with a torn trapezoid muscle in my right shoulder, pain worse than some of the labor pain I went through (this was at a time when the RA responded well to Tramadol, before the I had to go on the big one), I crying when I got there, and at times screaming. Any who, the ER doctor, first of all, wanted me to "re-enact" what I had done to injure myself. What? you want me to *show* you how I injured myself? Of course I couldn't do it, it was too painful. And of course after it was all over, I realized what kind of game he was playing with me. Anyway, it's a very long story, that really doesn't have anything to do with my RA. Its just one example of what we have to go through, when we are injured, or sick to the point that we have to go to the ER. It was over the holiday week which is why I couldn't get to Dr. G. By the time I did see him, two days after the ER debacle, I was in such bad shape, I couldn't lift my right arm over my head, and I had cried so much and couldn't eat or drink, I was severely dehydrated. He popped me in the "cheek" with something to settle my stomach and something for pain, and put me on hydrocodone and Soma for one month. I was in really bad shape. Took the whole month to get over it. And another several months for the pain to completely stop.
Last month when I went to the ER that ended me in ICU, the ER doctor asked me "why are you on Norco?" "Seriously?" "yes, SERIOUSLY". I just looked at the hubs like "is she for real?"
"well, first I have raging RA, I have RA-Lung..." she said "Oh, ok". And I suspect, but don't know for sure, that SHE is the one who knocked my dosage down from 7.5mg (which I have been on for two years) to a 5mg, which I didn't figure out until 4 days later, after I had lain in my hospital bed and sucked up A LOT of pain and couldn't figure out why the 7.5's were not working. It wasn't until Thursday night, the night before I was released, that a new nurse was on the floor, and she brought me my meds for the night. As she opened each blister pack and dropped the pill in the little plastic cup, she was calling out what it was and the mg, which nobody before her had done. When she got to my Norco, she said "and here's your Norco 5mg" I slowly turned my head towards her, kinda like Linda Blair in the Exorcists just not all the way around, and I said, "did you just say Norco 5mg?" "yes," "is THAT what I've been getting all week?" "yes" I responded with a very deep agitated sigh and said "that's not right. That's the wrong dosage and it explains WHY I have had to lay here and suck up pain all week". She literally didn't know what to say, and she's not a doctor so she can't change it, and it was the night before I was going home, why say something now. Dr. G would not have done that. It had to be the ER doctor. And if so, what nerve! They have my record. All the doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies are all hooked up together now. She can type in my name and see not only every med I'm on, but also what day I have them filled. To over ride what I have been taking for over two years, to basically say "screw her doctor, I'm doing this". next time I have to go in hospital, I WILL be checking that. but anyway.
So Thursday, I picked up my pain scrip and took it to the pharmacy. When I got it back to work, I was on my lunch when I picked it up, I thought the bottle felt "light". Over the weekend, I noticed I was way down into my bottle at a point I'm never at until I'm at least a week into it. So I counted them. Took that number and subtracted the ones I had taken. The pharmacy shorted me 14 pills. 14 PILLS!!! that's 4 and 1/2 days worth of pain medicine. And once you walk out the door with the bottle, you have no recourse. You can not go back and say "hey you shorted me". Doesn't work that way. I paid for a full scrip, and got 3/4 of a full scrip in return. No recourse. None. Nothing I can do. And this has happened before. There was the time Dr. G sent me a scrip for toridal to back up what I was on during the fall flare, the scrip was written for 15 (3 a day for 5 days), but they gave me 5. I was calling the doctors office in two days looking for more, and the one that answered the phone told me in a very snippy voice "you got 15. You are not going to get any more until after Friday" I told her "I'm holding the damn bottle in my hand in front of my face, it says QUANTITY 5" "well, it was written for 15" "then that means its the pharmacy's mix up. Thanks for you precious time." So I called the pharmacy and they fixed that. But there have been times when I've gotten to the bottom of my bottle a week early, knowing that I didn't take that many extra's, and I was out already. From now on, I will count them before I leave the pharmacy. If it were anything but the pain meds it wouldn't be a big deal, you call them up, they fix it. But its pain meds. So I have to adjust. Which means for the next three weeks, I have to cut back from 3 a day to 2 a day until I make up for the lost pills, and by that time it will be time for my next refill. Thanks Mr. Pharmacist! I was always under the assumption that being able to COUNT was required for that field of work. But what do I know?
It is what it is. Atleast I have some. Not enough to get through to the next refill without some sacrifice on my part, but it beats nothing.
I've started running low grade fever in the late evenings again. Just like last year, the last time I tried to ween off the prednisone. Which tells me, that 20mgs a day is soon, or already is, not enough anymore. *sigh* And the Mr. keeps coming behind me to "double check" my thermometer. I still use one of those old glass-and-mercury thermometers. Dr. G told me once that those are still the most accurate, so I never switched to one of those fancy digital ones. But anyway, it makes me feel like its one of two things: 1) He doesn't trust I know how to read a thermometer (he never checked behind me any time I ever had to take the kids temp. ) or 2) He thinks I'm "putting on", or exaggerating. Either way, its insulting. I get really tired of being made to feel like I'm "putting on". Its not the first time. So I decided to just start keeping up with it, and keep it to myself. eh, anyway.
I felt really good Saturday all day, till the fever kicked in. And I enjoyed the day :)