My Story: Post-Surgical Pain Needed More

My Story: Post-Surgical Pain Needed More

I made a comment on Twitter about my own experience with post-surgical pain last week that had people encouraging me to write a first-person account.

First of all, I am not a chronic pain patient. I have endured back pain for four decades, but it’s sporadic and not chronic.

So, for many who read this, this will seem quaint but not necessarily relevant.

That said, here’s my surgery story—which was actually a second surgery for me.

Last December 1st, while on business in Miami, I was struck rather suddenly with abdominal distress that resulted in an emergency surgery for a bowel resection. The surgery was straightforward, but the recovery wasn’t. I was in ICU for a week (which I barely remember), contracted sepsis, was in the hospital for nearly three weeks total, lost 30 pounds and started the long road back to full strength.

I finally returned home to Los Angeles the day after Christmas—and was pretty feeble.

I was determined to get going again—and had my physical trainer come to the house three times a week and we started to build back my fitness.

I do exercise vigorously and may have come back too fast too soon—because in March I noted a bulge in my upper abdomen. I went to my primary care physician who recommended a surgeon and found that the bulge was what they call a ventral incisional hernia.

While waiting for the surgery—I continued to exercise which made the hernia bigger—but I like to exercise and was told I couldn’t do any more damage.

The surgeon—who I really like and would go back to as a patient again if the need arises—performed the two-hour surgery on April 16 and sent me home the same day, prescribing Tramadol for post-surgical pain.

I was hurting the next day—and called the surgeon—and said, “Doctor, what you prescribed isn’t touching my pain.”

He apologized—and said that the scrutiny of the federal government has impacted prescribing behavior—and suggested I double the dose.

I did—it didn’t help much at all.

On the second day, the pain was still pretty intense and my wife reminded me that she had some unused Oxycontin from a hand ligament surgery a year ago. I took that for the rest of the day. By the third full day of recovery, the pain really subsided and I didn’t need anything stronger than anti-inflammatory over the counter medication and a Xanax at night because I was pretty stressed about my experiences from the previous six months.

Happily (and gratefully) my recovery from the second surgery has gone well. I followed the doctor’s instruction not to exercise much for six weeks and have just begun to pick up the pace.

I hadn’t reflected on the post-surgical pain issue much until I saw some Twitter posts and when I joined the conversation it seemed to ignite some additional dialogue.

Look, I understand and sympathized that the “crackdown on opioids” is causing self-protective behavior from doctors who are fearful of the government and its unwelcome scrutiny.

And all of us know that the government getting between the doctor and his/her patient has caused damage that is hurting people who have used opioids responsibly to treat their chronic pain.

As Stanford’s pain psychologist Beth Darnall said to me via Twitter last week, health care professionals “must assess each patient’s response and address their individual needs after surgery,” she wrote. “Problems arise when research results are interpreted rigidly as rules.”

She’s right—absolutely right from my point of view.

And, without a doubt, the conversation about opioid therapy has become more moderate—the recently approved HHS Pain Management report and utterances from both the FDA and CDC all have shown that the opioid pendulum swung too far and too fast away from patient care.

But the hard truth is that the overreaction from the DEA and the CDC Guideline on Opioid Prescribing continues, and the medical practitioners and the people they treat need to speak up.

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Bonnie Collins

My youngest daughter, at the age of 16, was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, and by the age of 27, she was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy. Both of her hip bones were dying from lack of blood flow as she was born with hip dysplasia, but it wasn’t diagnosed until age 30. She tried for years to do yoga that she was physically incapable of doing. May 1st of this year she had her first total hip replacement surgery. She had one dose of an opioid before leaving the recovery room. She would go for eight more days on Tylenol alone. It was unimaginable pain she suffered. She would say, “mommy I don’t want to die, but I feel like I will” her husband lightly rubbed her arms, shoulders, and scalp while she had tears run down her face. Neither of them is aggressive or demanding, but I was getting upset with them to speak up. On day eight, my son in law said I want my wife home, but she can’t leave she’s not even making it through physical therapy here on Tylenol for pain. Finally, that afternoon some 7 hours later opioids were prescribed — the relief my daughter had allowed her to move and leave the hospital two days later. The doctor gave her a prescription for opioids, but her pharmacy refused to fill it. I took that prescription to my pharmacy, and they filled it without question. Two months later she’s limping but going to physical therapy with far less pain. Doing this to anyone is barbaric and we the people have to stop this.

Belinda Cox

I read the Pain Report sporadically. It just depresses me to see how far BACKWARDS medicine is going where it comes to understanding pain and how to treat pain. I just had to comment because it seems that most people are forgetting that this latest “Opiod” crackdown has happened before. You don’t even have to look in the Internets Way Back Machine to find it. I will go only so far back as the year 2000. Which is coincidentally the year of my Industrial Accident. Doctors were blamed for Over Prescribing and Pharma because they made the meds. Ones like Oxycontin were reformulated with Abuse Inhibitors to prevent Crushing (and snorting?) or melting and Injecting them. Some “Pill Mills”, a handful of Docs, were caught and Prosecuted (mostly Florida). Pain Management became SUPER Regulated. Some places required you to show up for a Pill Count within 45 minutes of a phone call that could come ANY DAY or be fired. Your Boss really hated that one. ERs may label you a “Pill Seeker” even if you came in from a Car Wreck with a Trauma. Around 2008 Pain Contracts said you could not refuse even a new INVASIVE Procedure if the PM Doc wanted to try it. Regulations were STRICT. Fentanyl in the US is only in the PATCH form like the Nicotine Patches. It could not Contain ANY Gell and is NOT available in any PILL or POWDER (Carfentanyl is for use in ZOOS ONLY)BUT Research into the effects of Pain on the body and the damage it can do also happened. Nerve pain, Radicular Pain, Chronic Pain and the ability for TESTING all made advances. Yes lots of Pain can be Imaged and will show in Labwork (specialized). Pharmacies track every Prescription in a new Database that links to Law Enforcement. Opioid Prescriptions have no Refills and cannot be Faxed. All this years BEFORE the latest Heroin Epidemic. But now those advances are not mentioned and research has stopped. The “Opiod” casualty is Medical Science.

Walter Strickland

I had surgery on my Cervical spine / c3 thru c-6 last Monday-06-24.To open the pathway my spinal cord goes thru / remove as much of the degenerative osteoarthritis as possible / had to remove the top s of the c-3 thru the C6 cervical vertibraes to do so and to remove 3 bone spur clusters pressing on the spinal cord and nerve roots.In post op I was not given anything for pain untill the third time I ask for some .Same in my 2 day stay in the hospital / had to keep asking .Was not given anything for post op pain upon leaving the hospital.I was told by the surgeon that since I was in pain management that what I was taking thru pain management will be more than enough.Well it’s not.I will be out of pain medications before my next appointment to pain management.Will be about 5 days short.So I called my PM doctor to explain.Did not want to have a problem with the pain medications not showing up on the urine test.I had to sign a contract with my PM doctor and that would not go over well.He did say to come see him and he will access to see if I needed more medications / but insurance will not pay for the PM doctor visit or the pain medications.I will have to pay this as 5 days without the pain medications is not good and will go into withdrawals. I had this surgery done to prevent being paralyzed.The next surgery will be on the c2 thru the C6 cervical vertibraes to replace the degenerative deseased discs and to secure all in place with small plates and screws.That operation will be much more extensive and more painful to recover from.I think I will wait to see how our CPP situation is before I do this one .Yes we are treated worse than drug addicts because they know who we are and are easier to control because we obey the law / for now anyways.Goos luck and God Speed !

Ed, your last line cuts to the heart of the issue. I have this morning “pushed” this article to Twitter and Facebook. I will support a pain patient who is visiting a US Congressman this morning, to discuss yesterday’s article on National Pain Report, outlining how Congress can clean up the mess it has made of opioid regulation and the persecution of doctors by DEA.

I encourage readers to call the district offices of their Senators, Representative, State Governors and Presidents of State Medical Boards this week. Join me in lobbying for a return to sanity and the extraction of drug enforcement authorities from Doctor’s waiting rooms.

Christy Aller

Reading the various comments, I can see, better than ever, the need for individualized pain management. The comments prove that what works for one person does not work for another. And it all should be done without judgement. I do have a problem with the pain management physician that commented that he’s no longer prescribing schedule 2 medication after 2020: Maybe instead of increasing your patients suffering, you could band together with a large group of physicians who do not take kindly to being told how to do their jobs by our government, instead of being idle and paralyzed by fear. Sooner or later, you will end up with very bad patient reviews, because you have made it so obvious that you care way more about yourself and your income than you do about your patients suffering. I’m on a schedule 2 medication, and I am so blessed to have a doctor that is proactive in the midst of this horrible chapter in our nations history.
Just a thought: maybe change professions if you are not comfortable adequately treating your patients pain or advocating for them.
And to all who are suffering so needlessly: grit your teeth and keep fighting. “Speak the truth even if your voice shakes.”

Nancy Kelley

The very people who CAUSED the opioid problem are now the very people BLAMING patients and FDA/DEA for their inability to provide PROPER pain control. Who are these “people” you may ask…the DOCTORS. I am a retired RN of over 25 years. For years I worked in an ER and watched patient after patient come in complaining of a headache, get a shot of Demerol and Phenergan and be on their way holding a prescription for Lortab. All they had to say was migraine. So the next time anyone wants to blame the insurance company, FDA, DEA ETC. think again!

Maureen M.

Hi Ed, oh my my!! You have been through a lot lately! You see folks…here’s our NPR editor suffering much and we never even knew until now.
I wish you the best of recoveries from here on. Hang in there!
And Thank YOU for letting us know how your experiences are relatable to ours. Maureen M.

Janine

I have the unfortunate advantage of viewing this issue from 2 angles.
I am a chronic pain patient, who before my serious issue had dealt with debilitating migraines by taking excedrin, (by choice).
When I was a teenager I tried pot, I
absolutely hated the feeling of being out of control, it made me quiet, tired and a bit freighted.
I was athletic, a professional, a mother, a wife, active in my community and enjoyed an amazing group of friends.
That all changed in 1 day.
I had a tiny fender bender (did no damage to my car)and I woke that night with debilitating pain that made natural labor seem a breeze ( I had labored 25 and 32 hours labor without pain meds).
After month’s of Dr’s and confusion, I was diagnosed with a spinal cord issue. I had syringomyelia which had lay dormant for years and now had split millimeters from my brain stem. The pain was not conducive with life yet as a Christian I had no choice, I had to go on. It took trial and error and I am now able to live a life with chronic pain.
I have taken everything you can imagine some meds respond and others don’t.
I always secure ALL my meds in a safe, Saturday’s I refill my bottle as needed. I realized early on, the idea was to have a life. If I took enough meds to be pain free, my life would not be what I desired.
In life we all have pain, it can be easy for chronic patients to go for the no pain life, not because they are I’ll intended but because the suffering can be overwhelming.
My 2nd eyes view of the issue is far more debilitating.
My precious 23yrs old outgoing, funny, popular, baseball,colege son is a drug addict. He started with trammadol, it was a gateway for him. He now lives in the streets.
I have taken ketamine, liquid morphine, oxy, etc… the only medication that left me pain free is Toradaol, its non-narcotic.
If we can send a man to the moon, why can’t we create non-narcotic meds?

Brett H

If you look at the 90 Morphine Milligram Equivalent chart is not made to relieve pain it is made to relieve money from the Insurance Lobby, they were VERY quick to say they would not pay for my pain medications, this upset me to no end, but ended up working in my favor eventually. The chart does not allow for sufficient coverage with Methadone or Buprenorphine, the supposed golden standard for Addiction, cant add short term meds to either of these with sufficient coverage say 10mg oxy 4 per day. Addicts get more pain relief than chronic pain patients. They want us to go to “Addiction Services”. Some how their plan fell apart but I am sure the Addiction services is very strong right now. I know I did not feel well during my forced tapering because Medicare threatened my doctor with not being able to see any Medicare patients. No thoughts to people having heart attacks because their blood pressure shoots sky high from pain, I know mine does. Mine was 180/135 the other day from sitting on the hard furniture at the dermatologists office.

So what is the actual story? They knew the industry would kill itself off when they tied the DEA’s hands and let them self regulate. They did the same thing with the greedy big banks. Way to go congress. Play god some more with those fragile and in need. We wont stay quiet.

Sandra Davis

I have medical issues that can’t be treated so I need pain medicine to function I had primary doctor put false information in my medical records to stop my pain medication and no one will do anything about it why so I have been dismissed from a clinic I have been a patient at for almost 40 years with no problems but nothing was done to the doctors for changing information in my medical records it’s at Duke university medical center in Durham NC.

Jeff Osborne

I’m so frustrated with this whole ”opioid crisis”. Just like most things, the government feels the need to legislate for the lowest common denominater rather than taking care of the perceived problem.
The issues that I see now are big pharmacies are enacting rules for their pharmacists that override ”real”doctors. They feel the need to tell the patient when they can refill the medication. That’s why I have a doctor! I have a pharmacist to follow the doctor’s orders not to override and do what the think is politically correct.
Please, all of us should rise up and change from any pharmacy that feels they know better than our physicians.
It’s bad enough that the government has created another completely new level of red tape, like pain management centers, just to provide what our family physicians were providing for decades.
Don’t get me wrong, pain management centers provide a needed service. However, being required to use this service just for telling an opioid prescription is extreme overkill.
Let’s work to bring back common sense to this area. Let’s don’t allow the small percentage of users and abusers force the rest of us down this expensive and unnecessary road.
Just my two cents.

Mara

Why is Botox being ignored?
What are the actual Stats of people who overdosed with more than Oxy in their system?
How many with Alcohol, Valium…
How many transitioned to Heroin, how many deaths now?
At least they could of tracked it targeted areas that needed infrastructure support, now it’s a blind roll, dam there’s some dumb people out there in somewhat control that’s scary.
All cash clinics should of been shut down.
All cash only pharmacies shut down
( It is pharmacists threatening to call the DEA on the Doctors, and don’t think they haven’t.
It was insurance adjusters in the 90s who dictated medical care, who could live and who just died, HMOs.
That’s child’s play to big Pharmaceutical, Pharmacy’s, Pharmaceuticals
I think there’s a link, you think?

Omg no resources no rehab no regard no recourse
What did they think was going to happen?

Pill mill capitol of the world had their largest drug bust in its history 2 months ago, 2 years after the ROXIE OD crisis
What? I thought it was the Pills
Why are there 160 drug dealers arrested in the same beachside county?
All that money made by Doctors killing was collateral damage, means to ends, my Pain management Dr committed Suicide, jumped out of a 7 story window, he got me on Suboxone and off pain meds after my brain surgery,

look who got stuck with their bills.

And Que The Paranoia

Julie

They are “targeting” the wrong people with the new “protocol”….. More focus should be put on Drs that are prescribing and to whom….. NOT responsible patients that are made to feel like criminals….. HOW is it in the “agreement” that is signed, you are NOT allowed to reschedule/miss an appt, but yet the Dr has rescheduled the appt twice (the same appt)…. And, should you say the wrong thing you might be threatened…. Again, this “program” is targeting the wrong people…..

David

I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in my servical, thorasic and lumbar in 2007 but i continued to work. I was prescribed hydrocodone which did help but in 2010 i no longer had insurance because i was no longer able to work so i wasnt able to see the doctor. It wasnt until 2017 that i started seeing a pain management doctor after my neck surgery and i seen him for about 3 months but i got tired of seeing him every month and treated like a junkie all because i was in pain so ever since then i have started using medical marijuana and i find a few hydrocodone a day here or there but it beats the hell out of being treated like a criminal from your doctor. #dontpunishmypain

Joan

Yes now the government is telling us to back off on tapering due to multiple suicides

My post surgery experience was the opposite, via a vis pain killers. I was donating a kidney as a Good Samaritan (to an unknown recipient in order to start a daisy chain of donations between those who need a kidney and have someone willing to donate that is not a match. For example, my kidney went to Person A and her sister then donated to Person B, who’s husband donated to Person C, etc.) My chain extended out to 5 kidneys being donated and transplanted, but some extend I to the dozens. Learn more at kidneyregistry.org) It was laparoscopic surgery, I donated on a Tuesday and went home Wednesday and haven’t missed it since, but the only thing that marred the experience was the morphine they automatically gave me post surgery (unasked for) that had me vomiting for several hours until I asked for Tylenol instead, which managed the pain and the vomiting ceased. I would think that the concept of starting with a sling shot and proceeding to a machine gun only if necessary would make more sense in the management of all pain, but especially post surgical pain. His doctor should have had the latitude to move him to a more powerful prescription given that the milder pain meds did not manage the pain, but not a blank prescription for it. Those drugs are addictive even when prescribed for legitimate pain and must be dispensed with extreme care and supervision.

Kristine Moberg

Judy K, sorry for all your frustration! Can you go out of state for your surgery? I’m a retired nurse, chronic pain patient. In and out of the hospital constantly, and receive wonderful pain management. My chart I do have to say does say negative things about my opiates, but as long as I have a reason for needing them I get them. In our state we still get pain management. I believe our neighboring state is the same. I would look to the Mayo clinic in MN. My husband has surgery today and he has no worries about pain meds, at first his primary doc didn’t want to give him anything prior to the surgery, the surgeon did. Maybe as a nurse I have a upper hand and know how to ask? I still get my fentanyl patch and loracet, just as I have for the past 8 years. Had to change MD once as one died. So I know it’s possible, but when I read everyone’s comments I worry that someday I’ll be in the same boat! While in the hospital, especially after surgery you should get pain management. I would double check on that. Keep looking.

Paul

Six months ago I had open heat surgery. While I was in the hospital my pain was well controlled. However I was sent home in less than a week with 20 x 5mg oxycodone for pain. Less than 2 weeks after surgery I call asking for additional pain medication. It’s flat out refused and I am told to use Tylenol. I struggled with extreme pain and sleep for the next several weeks.

Six months later I am still in significant pain. The insurance company is now paying for additional medical testing and medications. Even worse, I am really struggling at work and still taking days off due to pain.

I wonder if I would be in the same situation if my pain was managed better.

Rick

I need a full shoulder replacement and currently live in pain. The surgeon gave me tramadol pre surgery and to be taken once every 6 hours. My surgery is scheduled for august 5th. 2 weeks ago the doctor changed the perscrition to 60 to ladt me intil surgery. I cant wait to see what he does post surgery

Der

I must say the hell I’ve been through that I absolutely hate our government, the cdc,fda, I hope that every one of them get a dozen broken bones and given motrin as pain releif only ,and their bones heal wrong and need surgery with no pain meds and while they lay in misery kick them in the stomach. I dont care how horrid I sound. I am so sick of our system and the greedy pigs government, take so much of our paychecks hard earned money and take away some ppls only means of pain relief so they cant get up and go to work with severe chronic pain. I hate all our government, I will never vote again because they are all pigs. I rather see them dead than vote for any of them, I rather see them with busted up bodies and crying for pain relief, while I say oh noooo sorry pigs your rules. Rot in hell cdc,fda and our whole government andcourt system

Robert

I would like to comment on the author’s statement that he “understands” doctor’s actions which are influenced by DEA and CDC policies. As long as “understanding” does not result in acceptance it ( understanding) can lead to appropriate countermeasures to hopefully reduce the impact of such influences. Doctor’s pledge and owe their loyalty to patients only and actions taken counter to that loyalty even if out of self-preservation is simply wrong and represents a conflict of interest ie; the interest of the doctor over the interest of the patient.

Der

The chronic pain patients are going to turn to street drugs for relief. The drug dealers are going to be their new doctor. All because of the ppl who abuse it. The more scarce the medication gets the drug dealers will be making more fake pills and selling them to the chronic pain patients, this will cause them to overdose and die or almost die. IAf you cant rely on your doctor to give you safe medical care that is your human right ,then you turn to the street drugs. I’m getting taperedand if I do need something, I will find anything to give me relief ,I rather die than live in pain every day. When under thecare of pain dr, they regularly check ,drug tested me . I think if the dr dont do randomtests then they are the ones that should be penalized for not doing their job. ,our government has went too far. Its communist government actions.

John Black

The genie has been let out of the bottle with the CDC opioid guidelines.

As a practicing pain management specialist I feel the frustration that patients are going through with these guidelines.

But patients have to realize that the prosecution of medical professionals for “overprescribing” is very real. Nobody wants to lose their medical license if they can proactively avoid it, period. Cutting opioid prescription dosages aggressively is the norm. I have personally decided on a non-schedule 2 prescription policy in 2020.

My advice, start a local political campaign to address the issue for the upcoming presidential election.

Diane Higbee

I am appalled at all of these responses!! Is our goverment officals reading these!! My husband and I had no idea how many people are suffering needlessly. And ivw have said for along time how doctors are judging and labeling people. My husband has freely admitted that he is a chronic pain meds dependent. I struggle every day to get him thur his depression. Goverment step up and listen to the people.

Diane Higbee

Totally,these goverment agencies need to reevaluate. They are hurting people that could use some help from pain meds. We in vermont have to sign a contract and ho thru ridge rules. Unexceptible,o believe these contracts are are against our constitutional rights. What needs to be done is that patients need to be educated on the RISKS of addiction. And most of all. That is should be stressed that u COULD BECOME addicted. And that YOU are responsible for your own actions on these drugs. Because people SOMETIMES do really bad things on these drugs and then blame the drugs for their irresponsibly. Its is ALL about taking responsiblitie for your own actions. So responsible people who are struggling with cronic pain and pain from major surguries are suffering. I realize doctors will struggle tring to figure out who does this and who doeant. But people in pain should not suffer because there is a drug epidemic. My husband can barely function on a daily basis becaus ei f cronic pain. He has been thru countless withdrawals because of tring to ween him from these. The doctors making my husband go thru this up and down withdrawals are unexceptible. Even more damaging than his pain. To watch someone you love crumble because if chronic pain when there is some relief out their is sicking. These rules NEED TO BE READDRESED AND CHANGED. PLEASE before my husband commits suicide like countless others.

Jessica

Thank you for sharing your story, thankfully your wife had some extra meds to help you out, most people don’t, but it certainly is one more example of why people (in the know) are waiting to get surgeries.

I would be very interested in hearing more surgery stories from others who’ve gone under the knife as a CPP.

I know that, after 2008, I had to fight tooth and nail for anything above what my maintenance dose was and was often told I was “on enough pain medicine, you’re not getting anymore”.

The medical professionals, including an occasional pain management dr, had no idea that your daily maintenance dose only helps your daily pain and doesn’t magically increase to cover increases of pain- but gee wouldn’t that be a great med!?

I currently need 3 surgeries, although I’m terrified of getting any more (and will never get another spinal surgery), I might be willing to get the large hiatal (sp?) hernia and torn rotator cuff done, if only I knew that my pain would be properly controlled.

Meanwhile, I’ll continue to live with the swallowing & gastrointestinal problems, and continue with the tissue dissolving cortisone shots in my shoulder, as I head back to bed because the pain from sitting upright for longer than 20 mins+/- is too great.

Julie Walters

My heart bleeds for u and I thank u from the bottom of my heart because inocent people are in dire straits or/and committing suicide from the pain being taken off their pain meds. I totally get this. Because back in 1999 I came down with fibromyalgia. And at that time my doctors told me I had a very very severe case of it I was so suicidal but thank God this was back in the 1990s and my doctors did me right and they gave me pain medication. I did not take my pain totally away but it helps numb it to her I did not want to commit suicide anymore now 20 years later here I am five back surgeries two shoulder surgeries to elbow surgeries and I knee surgery thank God my fibromyalgia has lessened but now I am dealing with severe pain in my spine. I still get pain medication but not the dose I was on at one time. Things are getting ugly I live in Oregon and they are talking about taking your pain medication totally oh way only way you’ll be able to get pain medication if you are a cancer patient. I’ve thought long and hard about this my parents are in their 80s. Once they are gone and if this so-called opiate crisis is not over I will leave the United States of America to get the proper care that I need.

PS. I had sepsis as well when I was 14 years old ruptured appendix and it done a lot of pelvic damage. I almost died. And the pain is excruciating. Thank God that was way back then. So Ed I do know the pain. Yes I probably would have done the same thing in that kind of pain and not being in a pain clinic you have the freedom to do so. I’m not in pain clinic but if that happened to someone who’s in a pain Clinic that incident sharing medication would have thrown them out of the clinic. Sorry for all the post.

Roxan

I had a lumpectomy and then a mastectomy this spring. First thing I asked the surgeon was what pain control does she give? She likes tylenol#3, but that is only good for minor pain so we had a discussion. I dont know how to get through all this painful stuff with no pain meds. I am supposed
to exercise and do PT, but it is too painful.

Lee SchaeferLeejn8qg

Let this be a warning to anyone planning on having surgery, find out before surgery if there going to send you home with asprin or something that actually works for pain. There absolutely is no reason you should suffer because some doctor is concerned about authorities. HE should be concerned about his PATIENTS not some CDC or DEA guidelines.

Linda

Yes I am speaking up. The Opioid problem is not the problem for people without addiction problems. If one needs surgery for sure they need at least the right amount of pain medicine to deal with recovery. I’m glad you got through it and some people can’t. It’s sad that we have to hoard our own medicine to make sure we have something when we really need it.

The government is wrong to take it out on the wrong people. Drugs Addicts will always be drug addicts. Like one of my nurses told me the pendulum has now swung far the other way. This is so wrong. Thankfully I live in a state that has legalized medical marijuana. Well even recreational marijuana which I’m not into. So if I really need some painkillers I guess I could go there but it’s really expensive. Stop this insanity.

F.S.T.

Sherrie Stone, I’m addressing my response to you, because you asked.
I had shoulder surgery about a year and a half ago. Prior to it, my Orthopaedist told me to have my pain clinic contact him and they would work something out for my increased need for pain control during the post op period.

It just so happened I saw a doc I had never seen before in the pain clinic. When I relayed what my Ortho said, he laughed. He literally laughed in my face and told me just “hold off” on my meds for a few days and “bank” them for the post-op period. I was dumbfounded. I’d been a chronic pain patient for 9 years at that time, and I knew I couldn’t do it.

My anxiety level hit the roof after that, dreading the surgery but knowing it had to be done. I was a wreck and the surgery had to be postponed several days until my blood pressure could be controlled!

But my surgery went well because my Anesthesiologist gave me a pre-op nerve block and I didn’t feel a thing in my shoulder for days. After the feeling came back it didn’t hurt but was sore because I started immediately with physical therapy. Thank God for my Ortho team! They took care of me when my pain clinic wouldn’t.

I am no longer a pain clinic patient as of this month. I’ll tell that story in another post, another time. Blessings to all and may God help us take care of our pain.

Margie, I understand where you’re coming from but I would have done the same thing. If I was in extreme pain and my doctor would not address that, I would have taken my wives pills as well.

FDQ

The pendulum is starting to swing back in the media, but hasn’t seemed to move yet in reality, at least here in Arizona. A loved one just had an emergency appendectomy earlier this week. It could not be done laparoscopically for reason I will not go into here. He was in surgery for almost three hours. The next morning, he was sent home, not even having passed gas, and with no prescriptions for medication. The hospital nurse told he and his wife not to even bother asking for pain medication, there would be none due to the opioid epidemic. They were shocked, not only because he had just had a rough surgery, but more importantly, because they hadn’t said a word about pain medication. They said it was truly bizarre. After getting in touch with his surgeon’s office, I was able to secure him a prescription for Tramadol. They said they HAD to start there, and if it didn’t work, something else could be sent in. Well needless to say the Tramadol did nothing for his pain management, so herein lies the biggest issue as far as the so-called opioid epidemic goes. They claim all of this is being done because of the opioid epidemic, however, this story is one of nearly half a dozen I have heard in the last few months alone. Patient has surgery. Pain meds are either not prescribed, or, pain meds are prescribed and pharmacy won’t fill prescription. The patient is then forced to suffer in dire pain, or go to loved ones, or worse, the street, looking for pain relief. Now the patient and his family are left to try to figure out what should the patient take, how much, how often… THIS IS NOT A GOOD SOLUTION PEOPLE. We are living in a country that Ino longer recognize. Why? Why is the DEA treating every pain prescription like a drug deal? This isn’t about keeping people safe, quite the opposite. This is about an abuse of power. This is about a different type of government than what ours claims to be. It’s scary, the changes we’ve seen on the last several years.

Jane Lambert

As one who has chronic pain, I totally agree. Doctors are the only ones who can determine whether the use of opiods is warranted. Because of this crackdown I made the decision to have an intrathecal pain pump implanted which directly delivers the medication to the affected pain sites and much less medication is required. But I must say, it is a hassle first to go through all of the qualifying, surgery for implanting, finding the right meds for you, then monthly appointments for refills, and dr. appointments for consultation, etc.,etc.,etc! I would have rather been able to get the needed meds when I needed them. But it appeared that it was getting harder and harder, so I chose the pain pump. I am thankful for the drs. who are experienced in implanting and managing them! There are more people who ARE responsible with meds than those who aren’t but the ones who aren’t are making it hard for thoze who are responsible……as always!!!!!!!!!

Robin Smith lutz

Fortunately my orthopedic surgeon still uses his judgement providing appropriate post op pain management. I am a chronic pain patient due to inoperable spinal condition. I was a victim, cut off,lied to and about,kicked to curb. Gathered my records found a new doctor who put me back on my medication. Thank God. I did write to all sorts of ppl elected to represent me in Pennsylvania no one responded. Fact is they could not care less.

LYNDA LUTZ

My daughter has a mass in her abdomen. She is a CPP also. She told me even if she has cancer, she is not going to have surgery because she knows her pain will not be controlled. The pendulum has swung way too far and hurts literally all patients who experience pain, be it acute or chronic. On top of everything, my pharmacist blackmailed my doctor and me saying if I was not put on a long-acting narcotic, he would not fill my pain medicine for me. Practicing medicine without a license? My doctor has worked very hard to help me and it has been difficult due to my many drug allergies and age, 72. So now instead of one narcotic to control my pain, I am on two, a long acting and a short acting for break through pain. Does this make any sense? I was fine on one narcotic, a short acting, Oxycodone. That is now my breakthrough pain medicine and OxyContin is my main pain medicine. I am so sorry you went through the pain after your surgery with inadequate pain relief. The CDC and DEA said they went too far. That does not help because doctors are being prosecuted at a very high rate and they are running scared. Pharmacists are running scared too. That is why my doctor gave into the pharmacist even though I was fine. I am so sick of the attitudes many professionals have now, but what can we do? No one is listening.

Ali

A patient is profiled and labeled a drug seeker possible addict the second the patient ask “is there anything stronger, can I increase my dose, what other meds can help me, I’m in so much pain” As one retired in medical care patients have no idea what is charted about them. These questions are interpreted as “you are mentally incompetent, depressed, unable to solve the pain issue, drug seeker, addicted to pain killers, you don’t loose weight, walk enough, eat to much, mental mess, rely on others and lazy”, so one leaves the office with no script or suggestions to create a solution. You feel bullied, stripped of dignity for asking, and absolutely no help to solve your complaint of pain. Total loss of any medical care from the medical community. What has been written in your chart now possibly will follow you for the rest of your life. The CDC,DEA, etc..agencies have no understanding knowledge of irretractable chronic pain patients so guidelines are designed for seeking drug addicts.
Irretractable chronic pain patients have been labeled and profiled into drug addicts and made synomonus with street drug addicts.
Physician’s and government agencies are so stuck in drug addict mode that Opoids can not be seen as a compatable drug for irretractable chronic pain patients to use.
There are no pain medication police in your home between you and your wife about pain medication. Physician’s always discouraged it that’s there job.
Irretractable Chronic Pain Patient’s have been chronically abused by this travisty of Injustice negligence to strip them of there pain medication before seeking to first do duediligence “do no harm” and avoid the loss of medical care that has led to collateral damage by suicides.
Our government agencies continued SILENCE has left thousands with loss of medical care that can never in there life time be recaptured.
Government sound of SILENCE continues with sadly suicides.

Hurting like hell

I’ve had chronic pain in my knees and back for 20 years. I no longer get pain meds and very unhappy and depressed with life. I won’t live like this the.rest of my life. What option has our government given me ????????

BWaller

I have had 10 surgeries on my leg after breaking,long story short is I have nerve damage and can’t believe that I get treated like a criminal for asking for pain meds to help me deal with the problem. I guess you have to miss so much work from sleepless nights that you lose your job,house and anything else you owe money for then get on disability before a Dr will be willing to help you. The new DEA regulations are not helpful for people with real problems and aren’t going to stop addicts from getting the drugs they want. I am about to go to a new Dr with all of my medical records and test results in the hope of living life instead of sitting here in existence.

James Beauchamp

Ed,

I dealt with a similar issue about two years ago. My appendix inflated to 10 cm and burst. By the time they got me into surgery damage was done to nearby organs and it even perforated the pelvic membrane. The Peritonitis lasted about 24 hours and the NURSE (not the doctor) was the first person in my life to quietly say “If your fever doesn’t break in about 8 hours, you need to get with your family and ‘start making arrangements'”. The doctor may have been a good surgeon, but he was a pure coward.

I received a 7 day supply of hydrocodone, with instructions that if the pain continued, to call the doctor’s office. Of course with all the damage to nearby organs the pain continued, and THIS is where it gets sad. Instead of returning my calls, the doctor’s office (Nurses) simply never returned my calls, and I (as you) was forced to pull from other means to keep from screaming in pain 24/7. If we just ignore the patient, he’ll go away.

The pain continued for several months as the organs recovered, but in our state, the draconian laws are among the top 5 of CONUS for the strict “We know you will abuse it” factor.
Honestly, if I had gotten my hands on safe heroin, (non fentenyl poisoned) I would have used it without a second thought.

Something has to be done in this continuing war on pain patients. We are not the cause of illegal drug use, but we soon will be if this continues.

Bev bockoven

My husband has been on the same dose of pain meds for 12 years. He is responsible and never over medicates EVEN when the dose does not touch the pain. He has been forced to reduce his pain meds to such a low dose they do nothing. Its NOT the pain management dr. Its the pharmacist that refuse to fill the prescription. We have a national chain of pharmacy’s that have run all of the small mom and pop pharmacy’s out of business with false “anonymous” complaints. Then they have the nerve to tell the pain management drs they dont feel comfortable in filling the dose, if you write it for a lower dose then maybe and then it talks two days. When you are dependent on these pills two days, is a lifetime. No one cares. They think everyone a doper and every doctor a pill pusher. Ours is a board certified, pain manager. He does more than meds. He has alternative pain management choices, give classes on stress management, he is welcomed and has privileges at all 3 hospitals in our city. So why, with his schooling, experience and dedication is he “over-ruled” by a pharmacist. Some smells rotten

Dee Elledge

As a person living with chronic pain, I have had my meds lowered so much I have no quality of life to speak of. As far as the opioid deaths go, we are going to end up with more suicides from those who cant live with their pain if the issue with pain meds continues.

Molly K Canfield

I’ve emailed my representatives and senators, several times. Each time I get a prewritten form email response, “Thank you for contacting the office of Johnny isakson. your response is important to us blah blah blah blah blah.” I’ve spoken up to every person I think will listen and they are tired of hearing it. even my own family does not know how to respond to this egregious situation. If speaking up changed things, it would have already changed by now. I’m sorry to sound so defeatist but that is the current reality. I experienced it for myself on a recent similar hospital admission…begging and pleading for appropriate pain relief. It fell on deaf ears. Nurses told me to deal with it and the only person who seem to care a little bit was the surgeon. However the surgeon cannot change these guidelines that have been interpreted as law. even he was hesitant to prescribed more than a limited number of postoperative pain relief until I could get back to the pain management doctor. The stress and anxiety over trying to manage my own pain control while recovering from emergency abdominal surgery has left me feeling pretty hopeless not to mention exhausted. If people killing themselves because of being an excruciating, chronic pain has not woken up the government, then what will??

Lesly pompy

Some surgeries involve the surgeon cutting one inch of muscle. Some other surgeries involve the cutting of 10 inches of muscles. Do the patients having different amounts of tissue destruction during the surgeries need the same amount of postoperative pain medications?

Nancy Hamilton

I would love to see physicians be more sympathetic to chronic pain patients, of which I have been for 20 years. I use my medications exactly as prescribed, yet now I am being punished by those same physicians who have treated me without question in the past. The street druggies have totally ruined our chances of getting proper medications, and I, for one, am furious! How dare our government turn on those of us who were so productive in our lives, yet be discriminated against now when we need help the most! The FDA saying that physicians should assess each patient on an individual basis will fall on deaf ears unless the government makes it crystal clear that we chronic pain patients need the medications we are now denied.

lori

Like I said before we need a much larger protest,lots of noise,like the abortion protesters in order to be heard.nothing will change otherwise.It has to be BIG!who is with me?who has the skills to organize this?

I suffer chronic pain from inoperable spinal injuries I suffered when I was struck by 2 separate texting drivers while waiting for a red light. I have perminant nerve damage in both legs. 7 years ago I was in a wheelchair. Another set back, I got diagnosed with a aggressive prostate cancer.
Somehow these events made me a criminal addict in the public eye? Why? Anyway I worked with a cane until I didn’t need wheelchair anymore. Then I walked with cane enough to lose 40lbs and get a light duty part time job. This took 7 years of pain, perseverance, and medicines to control my pain, closely monitored by my physician. Now they take away my medications and I am only able to work 6 hours a week. Half if what I was able to do.
I started with pain from my neck down my left arm and had tests done. The neurosurgeon said my MRI scans were very impressive? Like is this a joke? He said I need surgery on my cervical spine, C5/C6 and C4/C5. He explained how they fuse the 3 vertebra with metal plates. Now I think about my State’s mandate of 6 days post surgical opoids. I had a complete blockage in my lumbar spine 30 years ago and know the pain and how long it took to even tolerate. 6 days? More like 6 weeks! And 30 years older with steel plates? I am terrified and don’t know what to do? I was fortunate with my lumbar surgery 30 years ago. I know of people who had rods implanted in their spine and suffered extreme pain. Does anyone in our government care about American people anymore? Or a have I become a useless eater? I know millions face similar problems and pray for them. Don’t know how long I can take the pain. The fight is gone.

Sherrie Stone

This is a good article ive dealt with chronic pain for almost 18 years i have not one but several chronic painful disease ,rhuematoid arthritis/disease,degenerate disc disease,fibromyagia,this is just to name a few ,well im having total knee replacement at the end of july the hospital where im having my surgury has got me scared to death about the pain afterwards ,i had a partial knee replacement in my other knee 6 years ago yeah it hurt but nothing i couldnt deal with i went home the same day ,well anyway my pain dr is suppose to up my pain meds for a few weeks afterwards ,my ortho dr said ive been on the same meds for years and hes afraid they wont cover my pain as well ,has anyone had an experience like this?