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Why do I hate asking for meds?

happyHBmomhhappyHBmom Posts: 2,070
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Chronic Pain
I am sitting here. I have pain. It's size XL. I don't know where it's from- it came about 1 week after either thing that should have caused it (either the RFTC or the fall on my butt when my horse was a bad boy).

My appt with my PM doctor isn't until next week. It's supposed to go like this. "Wow, the RFTC worked SO WELL! I feel GREAT!"

I got a big bill in the mail yesterday, too.

So why do I just not want to call and say "I can't wait until next week. My meds run out this week, and anyway they aren't working. If I have to wait until next week, I might refuse to get out of bed?

And why does it HURT? (yeah, yeah, broken and all that. I get it.)


  • For some reason, many of us get to feeling like we are "imposing" upon the doctors. It is crazy and I don't know why I or you feel that way when we should just be calling them up and saying "yo doc, I hurt, things aren't working, can you help me out please". Instead I find myself trying to "suck it up" and just wait it out. After all the pain should just "go away" with enough time ... right?

    I had to learn the hard way that when I hurt and things we are trying don't work, at some point I have to give in and ask for help. I had to realize that there's nothing wrong with doing that. In fact it is easier to gain control over the pain before it gets so far out of control.

    I hope you figure out what will work for you and you don't force yourself to suffer needlessly like I have done too many times. Take care of yourself and if you need the help of the doc to do that ... well ... ask.

  • Well, some doctors try to instill that in you. My last pain doc (actually the PA) kept telling me to stay on as little as possible as long as possible, because besides the fact that the narcotics were going to "get their hooks in you" (as though at some point my pain was going to go away and I wasn't going to need them anymore... sigh), I was young and needed room to step up. Unfortunately she didn't seem great at math, as one a day of lowest dose vicodin seems like a lot of room.

    I think I'll call today. Maybe.
  • medication for diabetes your would have no problem asking for it .but for us on narcotics there can be a stigma attached to using them and if we are honest most of us have taken more than we are written up for in times of crisis ..this is not abuse ..my doctor ..a consultant in terminal care as well as a family doctor understands that one size will not fit all ..so you may be able to get by on less than me but i may need twice as much as you .and he understands this i have an arrangement with my doctor that we necessary i have permission to up my pain medication as directed {there is an agreed upper limit{} he said when i started on narcotics that we may have to titrated the dose and we do .if you are in genuine pain and you are honest with your pain medication giver {your doctor] there should not be a problem .a good doctor will understand that pain control varies and we need to be flexible
  • It is never easy asking for medication and it remind us of the lifestyle and pain we are attempting to endure, where that reasonable level is may well differ for each individual as Straker says and for the most part patients are attempting to carry on as normal and find that balance between quality of life, performance and functionality where none of this is static.

    You hate asking because you are normal and it is not easy exposing a restriction that would necessitate the need for medication, we may have never used any medication before having pain and it is in our interest to find that optimum balance between need and functional volume and that equation is not as simple as it sounds.

    Medication is not the panacea for our entire problems, they can create addition complexity to our symptoms; medication is one tool in the myriad of strategies needed to be able to survive this challenge. Some are coming down from the volume route from a self imposed ceiling that nobody wants to exceed. The addiction levels are less than 2% and for my two decades of usage I am not hooked.

    Take care and good luck.


  • Well, I moved it up 2 days. It's going to be tough because I'm running out of meds.

    I'm on a very, very low dosage right now but he just increased it. But I don't know why this pain is so bad now- either a flare up form the RFTC, some sort of injury, or something else. I made an appt. for my ortho but it's not for 5 weeks. It will prob. be better by then.

    I'm concerned that I further herniated the L5/S1 by falling on my butt a time or two too often.

  • We have trouble asking for pain meds, even when we are in pain h*ll, because there is a strong social stigma to it, and that pain meds are "wrong". The worst was after my fusion, initially I was better, but then had an "incident" - we will leave it at that...but I was left feeling like a failure as a patient for not "responding" the way I should have, the way "normal" patients do (then again, when your surgeon promises you a 95% success rate - and now you're worse than pre-op, you don't feel so good about yourself). It took me 2 months to accept I needed to go back to my PM (and a another month to get in) - I would describe that feeling as a dog with its tail between its legs. I can honestly say my PM doc has never treated me like a "drug seeker" - yet even with that I still had trouble telling him when my meds weren't cutting it, many visits I don't. The rest of my docs - totally different story. I have always been honest whether my internist or ob-gyn on what my PM had me prescribed, but I have to say given how condescending all my other docs have been - "wasn't your back surgery a year ago?" etc. I have been tempted to lie about my history. And to HappyHBmom, (I assume RFTC is an abbreviation for some radiofrequency, I too hurt more after it, until my doc was kind enough on the second one to add a little steroid injection right after he did his frying - the difference was like night & day). It can take a while for those fried nerve to calm down; I hope it works for you.
  • RFTC stands for radiofrequency thermocoagulation, just an abbreviation for ablation. The thing was it didn't hurt right afterward, it was fine until about 5 days later, then it started hurting. Weird.

  • when I went in for a six month post op appt with my surgeon. I wasn't feeling any better and I had to face him like Optimist described- head down, tail tucked in. Many of us go through the same thing when asking for pain meds. Somehow it's equated to weakness or failure- like we haven't done enough or tried hard enough.

    I guess it would be somewhat easier to ask for pain meds if we had a cast or another visible injury. Pain is real but invisible just like some diseases are. At least now they can account for the pain in a way by measuring your vital signs. One nurse told me "you must be hurting a lot since your BP's gone up".

    I know it's hard to but keep your head up and believe in yourself- your pain IS real and it requires medical treatment.

    Maybe you should talk with your doctor to see if your meds can be adjusted so that you don't face running out of them before the next appt. Take care
  • Oh, the running out is just because I "forgot" to ask for a prescription when I was due (more likely I meant to and just didn't because I just hate to ask or procrastinated and then forgot). I haven't used more than I was prescribed.

    And I'm not in desperate straits, I'm only a couple short. I will survive. I'm just kind of kicking myself for not saying "I need a prescription" when I needed a prescription.

    The whole avoidance thing is my biggest personality flaw and the one I am least able to compensate for. It's like mentally pulling the covers over my head and pretending it means whatever I am avoiding doesn't exist.

  • i don't have to ask for pain meds. i go every month or two and he gives me my script after asking a couple of questions such as how is the pain? i have seen him for 2 years and my old pain guy for 8 years and both just gave me the script. according to them, i have to see them every month or two to get the meds. real quick and easy.they know i am in for a refill and if i need something else, like an injection, i will get it. i guess that is why it is important to have a good relationship with your pain dr.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Yeah, I'm sure once I've been with him a while we'll get into some sort of a routine. For now I'm still not used to all of this :(
  • Happy I'm just like you. I tend to let the doctor lead the conversation. I can't tell you how many times I have kicked myself because when they ask how I'm feeling I automatically say pretty good.

    Years of taking care of kids first combined with a husband who calls me an idiot when I get hurt (that's another story) means that I put myself last. And if there isn't enough time or money well I do without. The other day my daughter wanted me to buy her something. I said why should she get a present just because? I haven't had a birthday, christmas or mothers day present in at least two years now. If I don't get it for myself it doesn't happen.

    It's very hard for a mom to put herself in the spot light. Before you go to the doc make a plan and write it down. Detail what you feel and what questions you have. And most important take your time at your appointment. Don't let them rush you out the door.
  • My last 2 appointments have been for injections, so although he asks if I need anything, I'm not really thinking of medications. And plus I've been sedated.

    I can't complain about my life. I mean, I do, but I shouldn't. My kids are great, my hubby's great. These patterns were all ingrained long before they came along.

    I called today to make an appointment with a health psychologist, hopefully she can help me work through some of this.
  • As pain patients we all need to understand 2 things. 1. Dr's work for us. This is why we pay outrageous premiums every pay period and 2. We ARE entitled to pain relief. This is a right, not a privelage. However, if you do abuse it, your rights can be taken away.

    That said, I am just like you. I hate asking for pain meds because I am afraid that my Dr will label me a "drug seeker," flag my records and I will NEVER get pain relief again. All too often, Dr's will do this because they are paranoid about losing their license.

    So, without getting into a political rant here, I just want to say, you don't need to ask for anything.

    You bring in your bottle of meds and you say "hey look, these aren't working." Don't let him ask for your bottle, bring it with you, get the jump on him.

    Then, the ball is in his court to rectify the situation. If he says: "I am sorry, there is not much more I can do for you." Just say: "Ok, thank you for taking the time, I really appreciate it."

    The very next day, you get your records (before he can mark them) and you find a new Dr.

    I have been through 3 Dr's in 3 years. My new one was on the ball from day one. Gave me my meds. The next week I went in there, with my bottle, and said these aren't working. He doubled the dose which is now working and I will call him this week for my monthly scripts...

    Again, pain relief is your right. Don't allow these Dr's to keep mistreating you. When they lose enough patients, the message will be clear.
  • Oh, it stops way before being afraid of being labeled an addict. I'm not even close to that.

    I'm still on being afraid he'll label me a pest.


    Hope that therapist calls me back.
  • I used to hate having to go to the dr for pain meds too, but thats what they are there for. I used to feel the same way as you. Too many folks out there have ruined it for those really in pain. (thx michael jackson)
    Come to find out, my dr gets pleasure knowing he can keep my pain at a minimal level. Good for the ole ego. Its a challenge to them, as this is part of the reason that they become doctors.
    So dont be shy ; )
  • unfortunately, if the pain runs into an increase amount of time, you can and will be hooked on the narcotics. in a 5 yr experience with my back including post surgery, pain meds were pretty much necessary. i had a pain management doctor, who always made me feel like i was a bother. one day being fed up with how i felt about him, and being miserable from the pain using minimal meds at that time, i actually confronted the doc and told him how i felt. he told me i misunderstood his intentions and from that day forward never gave me a problem and took great care of me including detoxing me after recovery from my surgery. sometimes you just got to open your mouth about how you feel. i know it helped my situation.
  • one thing I have learn is if you don't ask they wont refill them. At first I was to afraid to ask. But with pain I was having I got over that. After all I the one paying bills. I am the one hurting. Any way I got a great PM DR that dont mind refilling them as long as I am a few day short.

  • Phew, I didn't even have to ask. I just took out my empty bottle and made a sad face. My pain doctor is really great (our visit started with talking about the weather. I joked about the weather being responsible for my pain, not the 7 needles he poked in my back less than 2 weeks ago. We both laughed. Phew).

    Anyway, apparently, it's completely normal for my pain to still be high right now. Another phew. That's a lot of phews. I got a bump up in meds for a month and we'll go from there.

    He also says he thinks I'm doing well as far as the seriousness of my injury, etc. (we were talking about the development of tolerance, the need to have "somewhere to go" with pain meds, and so on). He and I agree that I should not be on oxycontin now (I'm 43 and this is a permanent injury with no "fix") and that I should continue to make an effort to limit my pain meds as I have been.
  • OK I don't get it. A few days ago you felt bad asking for pain meds. Today you are laughing and giggling with the doctor......

    I'm glad your visit went so well. Sounds like you got lots of reassurance. May we all be so lucky...
  • I always laugh and giggle with the doctor. I just don't ask for pain meds. And since I'm laughing and giggling, I guess it's hard to figure I need any.

    But I joke about everything, especially the really serious stuff. It's my most dysfunctional defense mechanism.
  • I am so glad you got your pain med. See it wasn't that bad. Sound like you got a great PM DR that help alot. Also I am like you I kid and joke alot about my pain cause crying dont help lol

  • I too find myself almost playing down the problem if I go to my doctor- I mean, no matter what your problem, when you walk in you are greeted with "how are you" - and we are programmed to answer that particular greeting every day with "fine" or whatever it is we say. So it's almost like we go to the doctor and say "Oh I'm absolutely fine" before the consult even starts! :) We have a good system here in England for meds at some doctors practices - I just order my stuff up on their secure web site and collect it from the chemist (pharmacy) in town. This is only done with "permanent" meds like painkillers, birth control pills, diabetic medication and that sort of thing and is reviewed by the individual doctors regularly, but it does mean I don't take up an appointment someone might really need if all I'm after is a repeat prescripttion for something I'll be taking the rest of my life. It also lessens the worry about running out because although it does not mean you can just order more and more whenever you like,(a doctor still has to write up an individual prescription, just it goes straight to the chemist rather than to me, and I just collect my meds a couple of days later), it does mean I can order more at any time of day or night 7 days a week without having to wait for an appointment. As for addiction, well, I'm definitely addicted, but since I will be taking them forever, it's not really an issue, though I work hard at keeping the doseage as low as I can get by on, if only because once you are on max dose all the time, theres nowhere to go - and *thats* a scary thought.
  • .............reading through your posts, oh boy, I am so like you in so many ways!!! Avoidance, don't want to be a pest and joking my way through my entire doc visit every time!!! I have the same genetic flaws apparently!!

    I have my post-op appointment today, I am 12 days post-op and m work wants me back tomorrow, so even though I am not ready I will ask to be released because he told me I would be ready and I don't want to disappoint him, he told me at the hospital he only wants to see me 2 more times, for my post-op visits and hopefully we are done (its been a long year since surgery number one of me saying I still hurt etc) I have managed this whole year without pain meds, because I won't ask and he never ever offers.

    I am allergic to most pain meds, so I have zero chance of becoming an addict but still I don'task, why don't I ask? I don't know!!!!

    I am almost out of my pills I got at the hospital and If I resume work tomorrow, after an 8-9 hour day I will be hurting and I will need something, so today, do I ask???

    I have been afraid for the last 4-5 days that my incision is infected but did I call? Oh no!! I knew I had an appointment for today so why bug him?? He told me he doesn't want to keep seeing me, so do I tell him everything is great so he doesn't hate me and think here we go again????

    Actually I think the surgery was a success, so yaayyyy.....but I still have pain, still feel stiff and uncomfortable, incision is sore....but I probably won't complain....I also noticed last night that I have swollen lympth nodes in my groin area, wow never had anything like that before, is it related? I am not sure, got no clue, do I mention it? Or will he think I am just a wacko?????

    I think I need therapy too!!!!!

    Take care of yourself and I hope every day things get better for you.

  • Just take your pill bottle and show it to him. It's not asking! It works! Make a sad face at the same time!

  • Sandra I know what you mean. But I go in armed with my ideas and hope that at least a few get out of my mouth. Yesterday when the doc said I should try ESI if the surgeon agreed I asked him about going back on the muscle relaxants. He then said to try the neurontin again since he feels it is all nerve irritation/compression. But I had to ask.

    I've also pushed docs for PT since I feel that is extremely important. In some cases I have had to really push but I have always won.

    Make a list and bring that bottle.
  • Exact thing happened to me after mine (about 5-6 days after it was awful) and my old PM made it sound like that never happens and that I was crazy, which is why I switched doctors. For a while there I thought I was going crazy and it might all be in my head (until I kicked myself in the butt and told myself to shut up :))

    None of the ablation or injections ever worked for me. I told my new doc I was willing to try anything he thought might help, even more dreaded injections, and he said "why would I do that if they didn't work before" which at that time was the smartest thing I had heard come out of a PMs mouth.

    My new PM I like a lot but it took me a while to find him, and until I did I was a much more miserable person than I am now. And I am still pretty crabby a lot of times. My husband knows the moment my meds aren't keeping up with my pain, kind of sad really.

    Take care
  • I have to agre with your on that. A good relationship with your pain doc is everything. I do the same. Go once every one-two months and my scripts are already written out. If I tell him pain is worse/better/same, he alters as needed.

    My old PM I had to ask every time but not this one. I sat and had a two hour talk with him the first time I saw him and that really seemed to help, he trusts me and I trust him.
  • Also, sometimes writing it down helps, since it's the list being a pest, not you.
  • I was so brave today, you'd be so proud of me!!!

    Every time I felt he kept getting up to leave, I said oh one more thing, oh and one more!!!

    I got more pain meds but he told me I won't need any more after that!!! Thats fine, I hope I don't but atleast it gets me through this post-op period.

    He told me to start my PT exercises and he signed me off work for the next month, however I will go back on Tuesday next week, he said I could if I wanted to he will release me, he says I can't harm myself! Obviously he does not know me that well!!!! LOL

    He said my incision is healing nicely?????? Mmmmm slight difference of opinions there but he's the doc!! I do have alot of swelling still, so got to keep icing it and otherwise healing ok....keep an eye on the swollen lymph node, could just be the trauma and stress of surgery!!

    Thanks ladies, your all the best!!!!
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