Great comment by one of my longtime readers. Her comment triggered writing on this subject, regarding educating the very ones that should have already been schooled on chronic pain. The docs, nurses, and other healthcare professionals that are in the profession to help others, to relieve suffering, and to advocate for their patients.
Example: A new Primary doc visit. Me: These are the medications I am taking to control my chronic pain. Doc: YOU are taking this dose? Me: Yes sir, my pain is excellently managed by my pain management physician. Doc: YOU are really taking this dose? Me: Yes doctor. Doc: Would you consent to a urine drug screen? Me: Sure, let's do it! Doc: I have never seen any patient take this dosage of medications and not be (insert a doctor hanging his arms down at his sides, slumping, eyes at half mast, and kind of limping) like this. Me: Well, I have been taking these medications for many years, and I am tolerant to the dose. Doc: I have never seen such bright eyes, and even though you are on crutches, you are quite balanced and alert. Me: Just give me the cup.
|I decided not to have any water.|
First time I have been asked for a drug screen, and first time I have been asked for that screen to prove I am really taking what I said I was prescribed, because I 'looked so alert', and 'my eyes were so bright'.
When I related all of this to my Pain management physician of over 8 years, he smiled and said, "I guess he doesn't have many chronic pain patients, eh?" We giggled about it, and he said how many times he has heard that, always surprised that GP's, Family Practice, or Internists do not seem to either SEE CP patients, or just do not treat them, therefore they stay away from the pain meds and act all bent out of shape when they hear what a specialist has done to help alleviate the pain.
How many times have we chronic pain patients had to visit the ER? Never a good visit. Never. How many times have you been told: "Oh, we don't prescribe that here, we are not going to give you any pain meds, we will treat your withdrawal symptoms, (even if with a medication I do not want to take), but we can not give you anything for the pain."
I am sure we all have some awesome Emergency Room stories. It is there that I believe the education has to start regarding patients in chronic pain, who take medications for said pain, who are left without medication for days while the insurance company takes its time with authorizations, etc. The ER is the first line of defense and I am very aware about the nurses and docs running with the joke about the 'drug seekers'. I get it. I have seen both sides.
When a person that lives in pain is seeking help, and truly has prescriptions for a medication(s), WHY do we have to go through so many hoops? WHY are we made to feel like a flippin druggie? WHY do some of the staff act like we are the most horrible thing that ever walked into their workplace? WHERE is the empathy? But most of all, WHERE is the professionalism?
When did judgement become a course in medical training?
Below is an excerpt from the internet for a Pain management physician who practices in Southern California. I must give it to him for the kindness and openness with which he states his practice philosophy.
We don’t just treat pain. We’re also doing everything we can to change the way people think about pain and wellness, working to dispel the myths, misconceptions (and prejudices) that surround chronic pain. I believe that chronic pain is a serious medical condition and I alway treat my patients with the dignity and respect they deserve. You will never be labeled a “drug addict” in my clinic.
I would love to hear about your experiences with this subject!!
Gentle Hugs.... and Stay strong ~just for today~