Hello everyone. I hope this finds you all feeling well and living productively. Pain patients, please listen carefully. I'm about to tell you how to ruin your life if you're not careful.
I'm a 52 yo working single mom w 12 yr old autistic daughter. A year ago I had back and neck surgery at the same time. Lumbar laminectomy w fusion and cervical diskectomy, both w instrumentation. I'm full of titanium. The lumbar discs above and below the repaired ones are now failing, degenerative disc disease, hermiated discs. I have medium pain there but the real problem is my hips, legs, toes, hands, fingers. Icy hot pain with numbness and tingling. I drop things all day long. Fine motor skill issues. I haven't worked in over a year and I've filed for disability. I've lost almost everything I could lose, I'm almost financially ruined. I've had interpersonal relationship issues due to my situation causing me to have depression, loss of income, dependence on others for various things, and most of all, dependence on narcotic pain medication. I went from percocet 10, 90 a month to 60 80mg oxycontin and 120 10mg Methadone a month. I get my meds thru my gp. She's not a pain management specialist. I've never been under contract. I was UA'd once at the very beginning. Never UA'd again until 5 mo ago. I was UA'd every month for 5 mo. I knew something was up...staff seemed different w me, odd. Distant. So did my Dr. ( she is actually an ARNP w an overseeing MD ) The ua's came on the heels of my candid disclosure to my dr that the percocet had lost it's efficiacy. I was honest and open about my pain levels and my use/misuse of pain meds, meaning that I was taking two at a time rather than one. I told her that I was inclined to dose early. My pain levels just weren't manageable. So we began trying other medications. Dilaudid, oxycontin, methadone. No one told me that I had to go 30 days with the new medication whether it worked or not. After a week ir two of the dilaudid I went back and told her it didnt work. I asked to go back on the percocet. We wound up settling on oxycontin 80mg twice a day and Methadone 20mg twice a day. It has worked fine unless I overdo it ( I live on a small farm ) and need a dose before its time. Ive been honest w my dr about that too. I was told it was in my best interest to be totally open w her.
Last month I had a trip away from home. I rode in a car for 9 hours to and 9 hours home again. I was miserable. I packed what was left of the script of dilaudid and used a few of them on the way home. Two days later I went for refills. I told my dr I had taken the dilaudid. I told her that the car trip was excruciating on my hips, legs, and lower back. She seemed to not remember prescribing the dilaudid. Im sure she could find it in my records if she looked. She gave me a hard look and said I wasn't supposed to do that. No one told me I couldn't take something she had prescribed before. I had run out of the oxycontin. It was two days before refill time.
I got a letter from the clinic in the mail several days ago. I've been dismissed from my dr's care due to abnormal drug screens. The first one had phentermine. ( I bought ut online after I had my youngest - it was legal ) She never told me what was wrong with the sevond one but it might have been that I wasn't showing any oxycontin. ( I told her several times that the dosing wasn't enough. She knew I had a problem making the meds last a month ) The third one showed Dilaudid. I disclosed that I took some on the car trip because I was miserable with pain. The oxy wasn't helping. I ran out two days early )
I now have to face the fact that my insurance doesnt cover pain management even if I could find a dr willing to prescribe to me. The DEA has made it so hard for drs to prescribe narcotics due to abuse. They are afraid and I don't blame them. I was never on contract and the terms of being allowed to have narcotics were never outlined. I didnt understand that asking for a different medication before 30 days was up was a no-no and a red flag for addict behavior. I didn't know that taking the other medication she prescribed wasn't allowed. I was told to be honest and I was honest. I feel it was my undoing.
I don't know how I am going to survive this. There will ve withdrawal. There will be lots of pain. There will be bad days and I won't be able to take care of my daughter or our animals. I might not be able to get her to her appointments, therapies. Or school. I'm terrified. I'm sad. And I'm upset and feel betrayed by my dr who I thought would take care of me through all of this. Last month when the nurse handed me the UA cup for the fifth time in 5 months I just shook my head and told her I felt like I was the target of a witch hunt. I was assured that lots of patients were being tested and that I was fine and to stop stressing.
Don't take your pain meds for granted. Don't think you have a margin for error. You don't. Don't believe staff when they tell you you're fine as long as you are honest. You arent.
If anyone can advise me as to an approach I might take with my prescribing dr I would be most thankful. I'm wondering if I might be reinstated if I went on a contract and tested 'normal' everytime. I never had a clear understanding of what could cause a dismissal. I dont do street drugs. I was honest about how I took my meds. I feel shattered. I feel like its all over for me.
Thanks for letting me share this long story.