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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pain Management

I had finally broke down and decided to try some low dose narcotics to help me get through my days more easily. Late last week I saw my PCP who is more than supportive of me getting the proper pain man't with me having hip dysplasia, very large orthopedic surgeries, and working 80 hours a week.

I was very reluctant to go the opioid way. This is almost entirely due to societies stigma on narcotics and chronic pain. Many people often believe that people who take pain medications are the people who want to go through life numb. People have a tendency to look down on people who take narcotics daily as wimps who automatically want disability, social security, etc. I will admit, many healthcare professionals think this way as well. I see it day in and day out:  residents and attendings automatically writing off patients when they see they take opioids. It is an absolute shame. What is also a shame, and what I believe has made it (the daily use of narcotics) social taboo, is those chronic pain patients who rely solely on medication to help their pain.  It's those people with chronic pain who neglect to try to be participating members of society. Some people cannot work due to chronic pain, but when one fails to even try to take care of themselves, when they refuse to so physical therapy, refuse to ice, and refuse to do anything that may help their pain except to take pain medications; it is this group of people who ruin it for the rest of the people who legitimately need pain medications.

Personally, I have tried my very hardest to avoid going this route in fear of being seen as the girl, the doctor, the daughter, the friend who is on narcotics. I have been really struggling with this for a long time. I was thinking the other day, if I had a friend, doctor, patient, collegue who was in my particular situation, I would encourage that individual to seek proper pain management. Why was I withholding this relief from myself? It made absolutely no sense whatsoever. I had a doctor willing to write me the script, I had a supportive family, I had significant pain, what was holding me back? Stigma. I should have known better than this, I am a healthcare professional. In any event, I went to my PCP last Friday and agreed to try the Butrans patches. It was such a big step for me, I was so proud of myself for taking this step. And when I went to fill the script I had been debating over for the last several months, the unthinkable happened: the pharmacist refused to fill it!

I am not joking, the pharmacist looked at my script, looked into the computer, and said that they don't carry this medication and that he would not order it in for me, I had to go elsewhere. Talk about a slap in the face: I had been so brave to actually ask for the patch and now the pharmacist was saying he refused to fill it. He made me feel like I was asking for heroin or something outrageous. I politely retrieved my script from him and went to my hospital's pharmacy. They ordered it in for the next business day, no questions asked.

I started my butrans patch on Monday. Immediately I didn't notice anything. I went to bed and slept relatively decently, but nothing I could attribute to more than being exhausted and sleeping well. It wasn't until I was at work the next even when I realized that it had kicked in: I could walk relatively quickly to retrieve my pager and not limp! I worked 16 consecutive hours and barely had to limp at all. My pain isn't 100% gone but I can stand, walk, bend easier because I have significantly less pain. And my mind is not all gorked out. I feel mentally sharp.  I may even feel more energized because my mind isn't totally consumed by pain. I can't remember feeling like this before. I anticipate being on this patch for a while since I will be working a lot all year and will be having major surgery in a month. And I am OK with that. Which is a huge thing.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,

    Just stumbled onto your blog through my research into hip pain. Just wanted to wish you luck for your upcoming surgery on your other hip (if you haven't had that already)! It's easier said than done, but keep the spirits up, stay positive and keep smiling! :) I hope that it all goes well and brings you some relief from your pain.

    Cheers! :)