I used to work in a drug and alcohol inpatient rehab facility. That’s a mouthful. Each night I would come in and meet with the swing shift nurses and get caught up on who just came in, what their drug of choice is (that would determine their detox protocol) and who was the troublemaker of the day, there always was at least one, and so on. These people who came in to detox, they were in for probably one of the hardest things that they’d ever had to do, emotionally and physically.
After report I would go and check everyone’s vitals, see if they qualified for any medications. Some of the patients wanted to talk, others wanted me to just get the hell out of their rooms as fast as possible. None of the patients wanted anyone to be a part of their nightmare, as they called the withdrawal process, to see them at their worst. Most were embarrassed and wanted to make sure that I understood that they weren’t bad people. I loved my job, I felt that I had found my calling, but I was so soft. I couldn’t get that hard-ass attitude that was needed when they would try to trick you into letting them break the rules. Drug addicts are the best manipulators in the world. I know, I was with one for 10 years. All of this is coming back to me today. Today I am in withdrawal. But I am home-not in a facility, I’m not an addict but a chronic pain patient, and no healthcare team is seeing me at my worst- my family is. I am dosing down off of a narcotic pain medicine that does not lower my pain levels. Withdrawal is part of the package, you can’t tell your body to mellow out, I wish you could. Am I an addict because I take pain medications? I say no. I am trying to survive, and have a quality of life that is livable.
I have been through so many different ‘things’, the only word I can come up with, with this disease. It has ripped me apart. I have found strength in myself that I have never known. I have come face-to-face with prejudice. Hatred almost. For taking narcotic pain meds. Some people think that I shouldn’t. I’m not a cancer patient! To that I say, no I’m not. A cancer patient has foreign cells attacking their body, I have my own cells attacking my body. Why would the pain be different? Because everyone knows what cancer is. and autoimmunity is not that well known. A cancer patient has a chance for therapy to eradicate the foreign cells with chemotherapy and radiation. It doesn’t always work, but there is a chance for recovery. I don’t have that chance. They can’t kill my own cells to stop them, they are mine- not foreign. There is no cure for me. I am in the process of finding the right mix of medications to stop or slow down my system from attacking me. Some days I wish I had cancer.
Wow, what a rant!! Like I said, I’m in withdrawal. Self-induced to get off of one medication so I can try another that hopefully will bring my pain level down enough so I can live my life without constant pain. An article showed up in my email and it is about chronic pain patients with depression. After reading it I was so pissed, until I remembered-people just don’t get it. If you are CHRONIC PAIN patient, your pain is there ALL THE TIME. Acute pain, probably get a scrip for pain meds and then none because the pain goes away. Chronic pain=always. sigh. The first paragraph of the article states that ‘they are more likely to stay on them long-term’, duh!! If you find something that works, you stay on it!! Your chronic pain isn’t going anywhere. Also, ‘they are likely to become dependent on them’. another duh. Where are the statistics in this article that states that people with legitimate chronic pain are less likely to abuse narcotic pain meds than ‘regular’ people. I’m going to have to find that now. I am a chronic pain patient. I am on one of the biggies for narcotic pain medication. It’s not working for me. I am dosing down off of it so I can stop taking it. I will try something else. I’m not stuffing more and more into me. I’m doing the logical thing. I think most chronic pain patients would do the same. All we want is to be pain-free, or at least a tolerable pain so that we can go about living our lives as we used to be able to! Story below that got me on this rant. Until next time
Depressed pain patients more likely to get opioids: study
Reuters Health UPDATED 2009-11-18According to a new study, chronic pain patients who suffer from depression are more likely to be prescribed narcotic painkillers such as morphine and codeine. Researchers also found that depressed patients were more often given higher doses of these opioid medications, and they were more likely to remain on them long-term. Researchers say their finding suggest that more study is needed on narcotic prescribing practices for depressed patients, especially given that they are more likely to become dependent on these drugs. Read full story >