My Story: Looking for a New Doctor

My Story: Looking for a New Doctor

I’ve had chronic pain as far back as I can remember. It got unbearable a few years ago after a serious injury. My body won’t forget the pain and it feels fresh as day one without medication.

I recently moved to Colorado from Nevada after being with the same doctor for many years. Now I’m having a hard time finding a new doctor willing to prescribe the medication I’ve been taking. I’ve found plenty of clinics that say they specialize in pain management, when in reality they are rehab clinics. Their sole purpose is to wean you off narcotics and put you on highly addicting medication, such as Suboxone or methadone. Some clinics are treating pain with Suboxone long term. That was not the intended use.

Then there are pain clinics, usually the spine centers, that only do injections and don’t prescribe drugs. I wish they would distinguish in their business category what they’re really about.

Kitty Taylor

Kitty Taylor

The first clinic I thought would be helpful turned out to be a Suboxone clinic. On my second appointment there they told me outright that I wouldn’t be continuing on the same medication and that I would be going on Suboxone. If I didn’t agree that, I was told they’d cut my doses so low I couldn’t handle it anymore. So I canceled my next appointment with them.

Drugs like methadone and Suboxone (which may or may not help the pain) are just as dangerous and the addictions to them are intense. The withdrawals are unreal. Coming off the medication I’m on now would be painful, but having to come off one of those could cause months, not just days, of withdrawal and pain.

Not only that, but imagine if you couldn’t get your next dose of methadone or Suboxone, you could end up in a coma! Any doctor that says there aren’t side effects and the withdrawals aren’t bad is lying.

It’s been four months since my last appointment with my helpful doctor and I’m still looking for a new one. One clinic I had a referral to, the doctor refused to accept me as a patient. It’s taking so long to find a doctor and I’ve got to find one quick! There are so few listed and so few that prescribe narcotics or are honest about what they practice. If you are rehab clinic you should not be advertising that you manage pain.

I’ve certainly been made to feel like a drug seeker and nothing more since I’ve moved. My last doctor never made me feel that way. He was caring and compassionate from day one. The only complaint I have about the visits there was that the DEA had them scared to prescribe medications that I had been on for a long time. My medicine and schedules were altered based on word from the DEA, not what my doctor felt was right for me and not what was working for me.

My daily function is greatly decreased since my medications were screwed with and it’s getting worse. First they took away Soma and it was painful trying to find another muscle relaxer. Even the one I’m on now sucks, but it’s better than nothing. Some of them I think were causing more muscle spasms and cramps. It was so bad I looked like I was having a seizure.

Then they couldn’t prescribe more than four oxycodone pills a day when I was on six. They couldn’t even prescribe Demerol anymore because the DEA and the county were having so many problems with it. The hospitals stopped keeping it and the pharmacies stopped ordering it because of theft and robberies!

One of the first things to go was how many different narcotics I was prescribed at once. My doctor had me on two long acting (1 pill, 1 patch), two short acting (1 scheduled and 1 breakthrough). So for short acting, I would have 4 Dilaudid a day scheduled and then up to 6 Norco per day as needed.

The Norco was taken away and so was the patch. I was down to oral long acting 4 times a day instead of 2, and 6 short acting a day instead of 4. It worked out about the same, except those extra Norco would be a godsend about now, especially since I’m running out of as needed meds because I’ve been without an appointment for so long.

This shouldn’t be happening. I’m looking for cash only clinics now even though I have insurance because I don’t want my business in all the computers everywhere. I’d also be fine seeing a pill pushing doctor that over prescribes. I’d be able to stock up in case something like this happens again and I trust myself not to increase my medication.

I never take more than I need and I’ve never run out before my next appointment. Because of being hospitalized I’ve been able to stock up on some of my own stash while the hospital administered to me with their own pharmacy.

There’s no point in making myself more tolerant and never getting what I need. That’s why I switch my meds to equivalent doses of different kinds every few months. That way I don’t need to increase. My body becomes tolerant to one and I switch to another until I become tolerant again and I switch back. This regimen worked well for me and my doctor agreed it was better than taking more and more.

I don’t want to be labeled or discriminated against for having invisible disabilities.

I get enough smacks in the face just using my disabled parking privileges!

12_7.jpg“Kitty Taylor” is a pseudonym. The author, who suffers from Ehlers–Danlos Syndrome (EDS), Cushing’s Disease and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), asked that her real name not be used.

National Pain Report invites other readers to share their stories with us.

Send them to editor@nationalpainreport.com

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.

 

Authored by: Kitty Taylor

There are 15 comments for this article
  1. Jill (@Spoonie_Girl) at 9:50 am

    Too many people are irresponsible with guns so let’s block access to guns. And Coloradoans flip out , Sheriff poses on the cover of NRA magazine, etc.

    Too many people are irresponsible with pain meds so let’s block access to pain meds . Okay , done.

    They condemn all chronic pain patients when they are not responsible for the behavior of others. So much about it is wrong.

    I live in Colorado too Kitty, so sorry for your struggles. You don’t deserve it.

  2. Sheila S at 5:50 am

    The American Academy of Pain Management is BS! They are the same as any pain management practice just want to stick needles in your back and kill off your nerve endings. I’ve had doctors wanting to severe my nerves in my upper back because of the constant burning I have between my shoulder blades. I am on a pain patch and it works to a degree. I get what I call break through pain so I need a fast acting short term pain medicine but do you think I can get it. The answer is a resounding NO! And to top it off I am tired of being treated like some junkie off the street. I am almost 60 yrs. old and a responsible adult so treat me as any other patient. It also took doctors close to 10 yrs to figure out what was wrong with me and many, many surgeries which I think just made matters worse! I did have one neurologist who did figure it out the second yr of many doctors I saw but my GP at the time didn’t believe in fibromyalgia so didn’t tell me so I spent another 8 yrs in pure hell. I am to the point I spent most of my time in bed because I can only do alittle at a time. I can’t even cook a regular meal because I start to hurt so bad I have to lay down or fall down and I am a very stubborn person I don’t like to give up but this fibromyalgia is beating me! And with the DEA having lost the war on street drugs have turned their attraction to legal drugs and it’s all so they can justify their jobs! So we as chronic pain patients suffer!!! Also since the DEA started their war on legal drugs the increase in heroin use is amazing. But we as legal pain patients are paying the price. This needs to stop now before pain patients start taking their own lives because they don’t think living in so much pain is worth it. I know I have thought about taking my own life because I have been in so much pain it drives me insane!

  3. Pamela Bodensieck at 7:48 am

    Kitty I was born and raised in CO and Iam just curious what part of CO do you live in? I may have some resourses for you. In the state of CO there is a law that any hospital and/or doctor must control pain that is why you fill out pain scale sheet. If you want to e-mail please do. I can help get through the red tape here in CO to help with your chronic pain. But please understand that it will be a process and a doctor will not just give what you were taking before. No Dr. Is going to do that but you will get on something that will help and they will continue to increase it and put you on other stuff. I do know what your going through but after I researched the laws and got tough I got what helped.

  4. Brenda Alice at 10:34 pm

    I pray for the groups on Facebook that are fighting legislation to help chronic pain patients. Patients for DEA reform, Kentucky pain care action network and opposition to HB-1, are all on Facebook. I live in fear each month that the medication I need will not be ordered or I won’t find a pharmacist to fill after trying 6 in 1 day for 14 capsules. I am not a criminal but have several painful diseases, 14 surgeries, obviously many doctors believe that the pain is real. Yet pharmacists can refuse to sell me the medication that my doctors prescribe? I hate being discriminated against because I am disabled. Thank you for writing this.

  5. Pam at 8:48 am

    I live in South Florida and two years ago had to find a new pain dr. after mine passed away. 1st problem, you don’t see a dr. for office visits. 2nd problem, they don’t write scripts for NSAID’s of any type. Problem 3, they stopped writing for muscle relaxants! I have fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome and failed neck surgery syndrome (after cervical fusion C3 to C7, anterior and posterior involved). So, call me confused, if all the pain dr. will do is write for vicodin and arrange injections/rhizotomies what good are they really?

    In pain and frustrated,

    Pam

  6. Jason at 7:51 am

    Once again..these non qualified clinics do not have a clue on what real chronic pain truly is. I feel awful for you as some tears started to welt up in my eyes reading your story. The anxiety we are all going through on a month to month basis not knowing if we are going to get our LIFE giving meds is just plain torture.

  7. Phil at 8:18 pm

    Kitty, the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver has an excellent interventional pain program. For further information, visit uchealth.org

  8. Fred Botz at 8:55 am

    I feel for you. I was DOWN prescribed to Percocet from Oxycontin for a degenerative disc issue. That and Ultram barely touch the pain. Instead of an increase I was again downgraded to Ultram and two T-4s a day. Hade HUGE histamine reactions and my throat swelled shut. I ended up no longer taking the T4s and ended up in the ER this past Memorial Day weekend. The ER flatly lied to me telling me that they could not prescribe any more opiates since I already had T4s from my PCP.

    For years they were perfectly happy making money hand over fist with pain meds for those complaining of a sprain. Now with the hysteria, legitimate pain sufferers are treated like street junkies.

  9. robin birdfeather at 3:23 am

    Kitty, Have you looked at the website for the American Academy of Pain Management: ?
    Check for doctors in the region you’re in; of course, interview them on the phone first to see what kind of practice they have. The AAPM in general is pretty aware of the deeper problems such as yours, and you can explore their site for information. There’s no guarantee for any particular doctor/member; however, the many articles they publish or re-publish on their site indicate the higher awareness you’re seeking. Good Luck!

  10. Dan at 2:03 am

    As someone with pain, this shit makes me want to cry.

  11. trudy myers at 9:36 pm

    Well I live in Texas and I use to be proud, but considering I cant get medical marijuana-I am not as proud. But hey I had the same experience I had a great MD-HE left his practice and my meds were cut so low that I am in crazy pain all the time!! one clinic wants me to do all this rehab stuff that did me no good the first 5 times I went through it and one clinic wants me to take methadone-very dangerous drug-and the rest wont give me enough to keep me comfortable. My Dr Stupid actually said I need to learn how to live better with my pain??? WTF?? I THROUGH MY HANDS IN THE AIR AND WENT HOME.

  12. Brenda Alice at 4:11 pm

    I am almost in similar circumstances because my pain Dr retired. Unfortunately my primary care is no longer able to prescribe as he was taught do to new regulations. Finding a pain medication specialist is hard because of the money made from the useless painful dangerous injections and the fear of DEA. I am scared because of 1/3 cut in meds have left me bedfast almost. Before I could at least visit grandchildren. One more cut will be fatal for me. Wishing you find the help you deserve and a pharmacy that will fill because that is another problem the DEA created.

  13. Dennis Kinch at 1:16 pm

    Here’s a good quote I got from this site:
    “Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing.”

    What they DO know is, How to make a buck. Nowadays, with the advent of HMO’s, this means allying with other medical treatment companies so everyone can get in on the wealth, except the customer of course.

    So good luck, Kitty, in your search for a doc, especially in Colorado. They are well disguised by the name on the sign out front. I would suggest a pain clinic in a hospital, myself. That’s what finally worked for me. Or drop the name “multidisciplinary” clinic. Ask them, “If I needed a referral, what kind of doctors are in your circle, or network?”

    Truth is, Kitty, you have a very good knowledge base and experience. Use that, plus your instincts, and please make sure to let us know how it turns out. We are all learning from each other’s experiences. I’d like to hear more about yours.

  14. Andrea Gehrke at 11:13 am

    I so agree with you and it’s only going to get worse I’m afraid. I cut down from six Vicodin a day to ten a week for chronic daily migraines. I also completely went off the drug for months at a time, three different times because the doctors say it causes rebound headaches. Not in my case. I recently changed pcps due to my old doctor constantly changing meds and the new doc automatically assumed I was doctor shopping for more Vicodin! I am currently receiving my small amt of Vicodin from the pain rehab but they may not prescribe long term! I so feel for you, and it makes me angry that we’re not getting the pain relief we need while being treated like criminals at the same time. Good luck to you!

  15. Christina at 11:11 am

    Kitty I agree with you they should say ALTERNATIVE PAIN MNGMNT. They should reveal their treatment plans before you fork out the money. The problem is they think you can be fixed. Which ends up just being a frustrating process for the person in pain who has been able to live a descent life on pain medications. Do they ever think about why or how meds make there way to the streets? A lot of people who have diseases and injuries are barely working or waiting on disability..Disability is a JOKE in United States… Seriously you are told if you work and something happens to you were you can’t work it’s there… That’s complete BS you have to hire a lawyer be degraded and wait time that nobody has. Most people who things happen to have children that are younger that have years before they can take care of themselves. People are waiting longer to have children because they are trying to be stable. Then get hit with diseases or injuries. Just like when the epidemic broke in florida in 2008 a lot of people lost their jobs and insurances. People were losing their business and homes from the recession. Doctor offices started pop up and people saw it as a way to get by. Even though it was NOT RIGHT and has ruined any help legitimate patients need it is what happened. I believe if Disability was done differently I think there wouldn’t be near as much medications on the streets. We should have reform done on Disability benefits and different levels of it. If people can go to work part time should be encouraged. Don’t mean they should lose anything if they can because most of the time it’s not for long. People are different and not everything works the same. You can’t make a law on what amount or what meds someone can get into a law. That’s the job of the doctor who has spend many years in education. I’m very relieved that pain education is getting more attention it’s long over due. Patients having the fear of moving or going on vacation because of medication is wrong. Just like pharmacist getting to profile you when they don’t know anything about you. This is a HUGE problem in florida and I don’t see any end to it. People are then forced to use pharmacies that charge ridiculous amounts of money to get their medications and not excepting insurance. How the hell do you think people have to pay for that??? You have to fix the problems all the way around not just certain areas. I pray things get better for patients but with the DEA stigma along with media it’s gonna be quite some time. I’d like to know with all the overdose what else is in their bodies… alcohol or other drugs that weren’t prescribed nobody ever separates it.