I am a 50 year old chronic pain patient. I suffer from autonomic small nerve neuropathy, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, Horner syndrome and meralgia parasthetica (caused by wearing a gun belt for 25 years). I have had neck surgery and my neck is fused on two levels. I have chronic back pain and have had a double laminectomy. I suffer from muscle spasms and cramps.
For the muscle spasms and cramps I found that Soma worked best for me. To get 30 Soma tablets from my family doctor, I had to sign a contract and take a drug test. It made me feel dirty, cheap and untrusted — like I was an illegal drug user or an addict of some kind.
I have never abused any drug, be it prescription or some street drug. I have never even tried marijuana. In fact, I am quite the opposite. I had neck and back surgery in 2009 and saved the Percocet, 30 tablets from each surgery, for when I had serious pain.
The Percocet lasted until sometime in 2012. I then had to ask my family doctor for something for pain.
I was referred to a pain doctor in Dayton, Ohio. I had been there prior to my back surgery and hated the place. In the waiting room, addicts would talk about selling meds or abusing them. There were people there so stoned they needed help to walk. But the meralgia parasthetica and the autonomic small nerve neuropathy were so bad and so all-consuming, that I had to go.
The first thing they had me do was take another drug test, even though my family doctor had made take one a few months earlier.
The clinic’s treatment plan was so slow the pain was causing me to think about suicide. I felt like no one was helping me. I went to several appointments crying from the pain. What I got from the doctor was, “You are on the meds you need to be on, so continue the treatment as directed. No med changes.”
I begged him to change something, because I couldn’t stand it anymore! That is when I learned he was not a doctor, but a physician’s assistant who couldn’t change my meds. I told him to get someone that could help me.
A doctor came in, that I had not seen before, and asked me what my trouble was. I told him I could not take the burning pain in my thigh anymore. It was so bad I had not slept more than a few minutes at a time for a month.
The doctor said I was depressed. I told him, “Yes, I have pain I can barely stand, so I am bound to have a few down days. The pain is causing the depression not the depression causing the pain.”
I told him I had taken two pills at once and it didn’t help the pain. The doctor then said, since I had not taken the meds as prescribed, I would have to take a drug test before he would give me anymore meds. This would be the third drug test in less than a year.
I took it, thinking I would get help afterwards for the pain. I was sent out to the waiting room to wait for my prescription. After waiting for 45 minutes, I got a prescription for the same pain med I was already taking, Percocet. The only change was to take two at bedtime. I left and cried the whole hour it took me to get home.
The next three appointments were with the same physician’s assistant. Again I was reduced to crying and begging for something to help the pain. He would leave and come back and tell me the doctor said I am on what I need to be on and there would be no changes.
I asked him, “Why I am coming here if you are not going to help me?”
His answer was to shrug his shoulders. I never went back.
Amy Grogean lives in Ohio.
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The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represents 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.