I like to consider myself fortunate dealing with my pharmacist and doctor when it comes to refilling my prescriptions.
There have been many changes made with rules and classifications on certain medications. The most important changes for pain sufferers such as myself involve hydrocodone – which is sold under brand names such as Vicodin, Lortab and Norco.
I did not experience a huge impact on my ability to obtain my painkillers up until recently.
For many, Black Friday is a day to get great deals on gifts or to recover from their Thanksgiving feast. But for me, Black Friday became a dreadful day of finding a pharmacy that wasn’t filled with hundreds of shoppers and also had a supply of Norco.
I have been battling a Lupus and arthritis flare in silence for weeks now, with regular weekly visits to my rheumatologist. The reason behind the flares is uncertain, but my doctor has been trying to make changes to my medication “cocktail” in hopes that it alleviates some of my pain.
I’ve been alternating painkillers between Percocet and Norco so that I don’t build a tolerance to either, but during Thanksgiving week I ran out of both and was in desperate need of a refill.
My husband went to a nearby CVS (not our regular pharmacy) in hopes that it would be less crowded at 9 am on Black Friday. He was told that they didn’t have Norco in stock, it had not been available for the last three weeks, and they didn’t know when it would be in. Walgreens gave him similar information, but said it would probably be within one to two weeks.
We decided to wait until our regular Costco pharmacy opened. Fortunately, they had it available and were able to fill the prescription the same day.
By the time I got the Norco my pain had gotten so bad I was past the point of pills. I took 2 painkillers and they did nothing for me. I couldn’t sleep, I was restless, I cried from the agony and I couldn’t wait for the next 4 hours to pass so I could try taking 2 more pills. But they still did nothing for me.
All the running around and waiting my husband did in the morning was incredibly sweet, but my body just fell into a deeper hole of pain which no amount of drugs could get me out of.
I’m dumbfounded by the fact that those pharmacies were completely out of Norco and had been for weeks. I don’t see how anyone can get by without their prescription, no matter what it is. How does a pharmacy just turn patients away, especially those in extreme pain? They didn’t even recommend a different location or offer to call another one of their pharmacies to see if they had any in stock.
What will we do if and when there are no more pharmacies carrying any form of pain medication or we have to wait 1 or 2 weeks for a shipment to come in? Do we all go straight to the hospital and get labeled as drug seekers because, technically, that is what we’re after?
We need pain medication to function, just like everyone needs food to fuel their body. Without it we’ll simply become useless.
Arlene Grau lives in southern California. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.
The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or tr toeatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.