My Story: It’s a Culture War out there – Get a Helmet

My Story: It’s a Culture War out there - Get a Helmet

I have lived in Fort Oglethorpe Georgia for the last 50 years.

I have a Bachelors degree in Chemistry and a Bachelors degree in Spanish. I worked in Pharma most of professional life as a research chemist. My main focus was drugs and natural products from plants.

I am 61, almost 62 come February.

I have severe osteoarthritis and was hit by a car at age 13. I never knew anything about physical therapy and had to teach myself how to walk again after laying flat on my back for three solid months.

I believe my joint issues to be hereditary as my father suffered many of the same ailments I do.

I have been diagnosed with the following: Severe OA, Spinal stenosis, Intractable low back pain, Post laminectomy syndrome, lumbar spondylosis, inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, anxiety as acute reaction to exceptional stress, poisoning by parasympatholytic drug and anxiety problem.

I have had the following surgeries ALIF 360 fusion with instrumentation, total right hip replacement, three level facet nerve ablations (6 nerves at one setting), trigger finger release and gall bladder removal.

I have been through several pain management clinics since they came into existence. One physician was giving me buckets of tramadol which quit working so I quit him. I then went to another Chinese physician that forced me to get my hip replaced which led to me getting by lumbar repaired by a neurosurgeon. He got pinched early in the game when pill mills were all the rage.

From there I moved to a higher class pain clinic where I was give good medicine but at every visit I was harassed to buy into spinal cord stimulation. I would not because I had read the M.A.U.D.E database and knew all the pitfalls. I even spoke to the manufacturer in California and the regional technician. I was not ready to turn my pain management over to someone with a 2 year degree in DC circuits.

I spoke to my patient advocate at my insurance carrier and was told to go out of town and out of network if I had to. I did just that. I saw Dr. Faiz Ahmad lead neurosurgeon at Emory University and St. Joseph’s in Atlanta. There I was told that all the SCS devices he tried to sell me were junk. He said,” I put them in but not those models.” Besides, you are not a candidate. You have scar tissue on nerve roots and they count on scar tissue to hold the lead or paddles in place or they break or migrate. You also have two discs that are extruded. He set me up with Atlanta’s finest pain clinic. My doc was a 68 years old and full of wisdom. We worked for years to get the right dose of fentanyl and rescue meds. I even got a medication the counteract the side effects of fentanyl.

Let me briefly insert her an episode that happened on an annual MRI. The image looked bad and was sent for an EMG which confirmed worsening scar tissue and worsening spinal stenosis. It was also deemed I had foot neuropathy. The ordering physician prescribed me amitriptyline for that and within two weeks I was in the ER with Serotonin Syndrome. The physician had failed to look at my current meds and did not see the deadly consequences of using amitriptyline with fentanyl. I lost all cognitive function and had to poor ice water on my head to keep cool.

Just last week I went to Atlanta for my 3 month FU and urine drug screen. I was the only one in the waiting room. This practice does not use physician extenders so I was surprised when a nurse practitioner walked in.

She said, I am lowering your fentanyl to 37.5 mcg. I said that is fine I wanted to step down a little anyway due to the side effects. I asked what the MME is on that and she said 90. I said you know that is just a guideline and not a law. Her eyes glazed over and her face took on a sinister demeanor. She yelled for a witness. I said “I want a witness too”. Heather my regular nurse said she would come back if I needed help. Again a resounding “NO”. In fact, I am only giving you two months of medication, that will give you plenty of time to find another provider.

“You are dismissing me?”.

“Yes I am. “Where is the doctor” There isn’t one here right now.”

She tore up my Rx for rescue medication. At this point I had almost chewed my tongue off.

I said, “by the way I have some literature I am passing out in the area and would like to go over some of it with you. She asked “What is it”. I said I follow a group called ATIP- Alliance for the treatment of intractable pain. I can leave you copies of the articles for you to read at your leisure.

At this point the witches flying monkeys had arrived, slobber rolled from the corner of their mouths and I knew I was in deep Georgia cow dung. I did not see me taking a baton to the liver that day.

The letter she wrote me is exceedingly nasty. I turned her in to the Georgia Composite Medical Board. I also called the practice manager and told her that I had just been mentally abused by the nurse practitioner.

The NP wrote me a letter that totally assassinated my character. I got another one in the mail today that was toned down substantially.

I have several referrals to check out. Two in Atlanta and one in Tennessee. God I hate to go back to Tennessee.

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Authored by: Timothy Mason

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Timothy Mason, you are exactly the type of warrior we need to fight for the rights of pain patients. Educated, knowledgeable, articulate. And I agree with one of the other posters here that you should talk to a medical malpractice lawyer and see what your rights are. I truly believe that if a slew of lawsuits start being filed all across the nation, things will change. Easier said than done, but the only thing these pain management practices understand is money and power. It’s time to show them that we have the ability to bring them into court, not just the legal court but the court of public opinion and scrutiny!


Amen Timothy, anytime I see a np or pa come into the exam room instead of my physician my anxiety level goes way up. A nurse practitioner started a taper but my primary care stiopped that. A np took 10 days to write my monthly pain med scripts and sent me into withdrawal while my doc was on vacation. She finally wrote a prescription for a med I have never taken. Just recently I had to see a pa for my 3 month med check and he made sure to hassle me before writing the script. He was about 25 and been a pa for 4 months, had never seen me before, yet knew what was best for me!


Timothy..i also have had many surgeries I had the spinal cord stimulator in for 2 years taken out 2 years ago… Infection galore abcess and our of the hospital my body rejected it .. I did the radiofrequency an… That almost killed me .. If I didn’t get to the ER another stay in hospital home w IV over 3 months .. Now in therapy .. I take a step ahead 10 steps back .. I NOW have arthritis in back from all the time injections
They won’t risk surgeries again my back .. Omg omg I need strong meds but I am scared very scared 10 years of norco .. Trying so hard not to give up .i hate CHICAGO so much but my daughter s I at times feel lost then I go on to being active everyone I know is at work and it s boring plus I don’t drink nor do re recreational drugs CBD doesn’t work ..? Did you try the trial yet for stim. I buy all OTC well that really doesn’t work I am so sorry you are going through this I so understand .. I am waiting for something new .i can only wish .. I hope thing are working out we just have to keep fighting and not give up easier said than done .. 1 week ago I walked almost 5 miles couldn’t believe it .then Monday I couldn’t walk a block I am trying not easy .. I hope all is well we are all here for you

Molly K Canfield

I reread your article and have experienced similar effects (?) of taking pain medicine (oxycodone) with nortriptyline (cousin to amitriptyline). I experience continuous body heat, 24/7. For 7years I’ve suffered from hot flashes. Last year my neurologist/psychiatrist at Emory prescribed amitriptyline but switched me to nortriptyline when I objected to the side effect of increased appetite. He also has made his objections to opioid pain medicine clear.
Could I be suffering from serotonin syndrome to a less severe degree? I will certainly discuss with him as nortriptyline doesn’t seem to effect my pain level or help with my sleep issues (the original reason for taking this medicine).

Molly K Canfield

Let’s not deride those with mental health issues (“bipolar whacko”). Those of us with mental health struggles, me for the past 34 years, should not be lumped in with cold-hearted b****s like this woman. People with mental health battles did not choose their depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. any more than we did our chronic pain. We should not be wrongly labeled for what amounts to meanness, dishonesty, and calculated slander.


Having chronic pain is an invitation for doctors to abuse you. Im sorry that’s just the cold hard truth. You can ask my Facebook group members, every single one of them, in my group “Bad doctor Good doctor” that I set up to help people find decent doctors. The abusive horror stories I have heard can and do make me cry. Its nothing short of shameful the way people who are already struggling the hardest battle of their lives (trying to survive chronic pain) and they go in for desperate need of help only to be treated like a criminal and ABUSED by their doctor. There is something SO wrong with abusing the weak or needy. It takes a special kind of human to be ok with that. As God is my witness, I NEVER thought so many doctors would be ‘that’ type of person. Sadly, there are currently MILLIONS of people in pain, left to suffer and being mistreated by doctors. MILLIONS!! This war on pain patients will go down in history as one of the worst assaults on our basic human rights since slavery. The damage being done will go down in history, suicides will increase, the death toll will rise! People so desperate for pain control will turn to street drugs just to survive. This is what the opioid hysteria will accomplish. And all this, because of the heroin and fentanyl are killing people, so they take NEEDED pain medications from those who suffer in pain daily. Its truly unbelievable what is happening in this country. Its shameful.

Thomas Kidd

We shouldn’t be surprised in a country which has killed 70+ million babies in the womb. Hitler was a nice guy compared to this evil wicked nation.

Thomas Kidd

Sir I feel so sorry for what’s happening to you.


On behalf of my husband, that sounds disturbingly familiar. Good luck.


I hope you get a chance to talk to an actual doctor or just somebody with an ownership interest in this practice. This NP is going to ruin any good name they have. It sounds like she’s kind of a bipolar whacko. The reason for dismissing you from the practice is that you understand the English language definition of a guideline or that you had the audacity to disagree with her. That’s no reason for dismissing you. I hope you follow through with a complaint to your county/state medical board. A person like this doesnt belong treating patients for anything, much less chronic pain.


All this [edit] is so messed up! I’m sitting here with an enlarged liver, a possible biloma
or bile leak. The pressure/pain in my liver is unreal . I have degenerative disk disease, spinal stenosis, bulging disks, 2 failed neck and back surgeries. My pain meds don’t even come close to cutting the pain! The MME is bogus!
Our health care is in deep trouble! Our Drs. can’t even treat us properly!

God help us.

States receive 1.8 million for the opiate crisis. Alex Azar says that they’re heading in the right direction for people addicted to prescription opiates and naxalone for opiate addiction has save numerous lives it has a total in there. Also talks about MAT and making mental health available even in rural areas. Please read medpage today, things are not getting better for CCP. Nor is it getting better for people who are addicted to other substances because they’re not talking about those other substances nor is there any place available in rural areas for people to go that do not have insurance that are addicted, nor is there a place for CCP to receive treatment for pain unless you want to drive over a hundred miles and then you’re not allowed because of the distance in which you live from pain management. So what is this money really being used for in the states?

Pain Patient

Stable on 150 MME for 13 years. INTENSE Pain from unknown cause. Auto Immune disease, RA, kidney cancer found incidentally while searching for cause of pain. kidney removed. Gall bladder removed to “try” to cure intractable upper right quadrant nerve pain. Nothing wrong w Gall bladder, bounced from doc to doc, specialist to specialist, multiple bone scans, cat scans, pet scans, MRA, MRI, nerve damage discovered, tumors growing subcutaneously, painful but not cancer, YEARS AND YEARS of searching for answers, no concrete diagnosis but at least I had Pain Management. Then my Doc retires. APRN who took over his patients gives me the run around for two weeks when I tried to get meds refilled. She stalls, and stalls then says I have to sign new Pain contract, no prob, then says I have to come in for urine test, no prob, then more stalling, finally I’m told “No one in this office feels comfortable refilling your prescriptions” I was dumbfounded and desperate two days before Christmas.


I went through the worst PAIN and SUFFERING IMAGINABLE. I begged for relief or death. I scrambled to find a Pain dr but they warned me they couldn’t refill my prescriptions. I wouldn’t be able to be seen for almost TWO MONTHS. I have top tier Insurance, I have always been a good patient, always complied with every recommendation, I am a law abiding Grandmother and was treated like a worthless drug seeking junky. When I asked why no one was willing to refill my RX, I was told “The new laws are the reason”.

Apparently there are “New Laws” that mandate letting chronically ill Grandmothers suffer horrific Pain.

Welcome to The new cultural zeitgeist of our time.



I’m going to change my last statement. I think I need to spend some time helping people who have life hit them a lot harder then my uncontrolled pain effects me.

This is fighting a battle and none of us are winning, not for maybe a long time…. To do anything (like work or volunteer) with our pain and disabilities are very hard because we no longer have controlled pain. I’m sure there are places that could use my help that don’t require standing or lifting.

Bless you all.

Signe Topai

Oh my!!! I am so sorry you had to experience such rude behavior. I live in Colorado and I have had dumb people like that too but I’m on opiates to treat my pain. We all need to file lawsuit. It is called Doctor abandonment!! Look it up on line. There is a civil rights attorney representing chronic pain patients. It’s time!!!!


We (chronic pain patients) are the only majority in the United States that it’s not merely okay to demonize & abuse, it’s positively celebrated. We cause all the ills of society, dontcha know.

I’m so sorry you & so many others (me too) are being & were so criminally abused. These last few years I’ve developed a baseline of rage so strong that sometimes I feel like I’m going to lose my mind; no amount of facts or evidence or sanity seem possible to sway the Church of Opioiphobia zealots.

When I got viciously abused* by the NP at a former pain management clinic, I also lodged a formal complain with the state nursing board. 3 weeks later they fired me from the practice, just *BAM*, “Never darken our door again”, no warning, no Rx to tide me over while looking for a new doc, nothin’.

What a savagely messed up country we live in.

* verbally, tho she sure hit the trigger points for psychological abuse, and also was screaming so loud they could have heard her out in the street.


This is so scary and depressing. Pain is real and opioids are the only relief I’ve found. Nobody’s listening to us! They think they know everything but KNOW nothing. God help us!

Been there, done that. I’ve been very emotionally abused by pain doctors. It’s always hard to believe. And for what?! I’m proud of you for standing up for yourself. Best of all with future care. Keep strong warrior!


I’ve been dropped by several drs in the last few yrs. It’s nothing new to pain patients.

The problem I have now is that I’m in a rural area and theres 1 pain management doctor within an hour of where I live. My pain is an 8 on a good day with pain meds (my dr has a fear of prescribing & I have proof of that) so I’m basically a lump. A lump of pain and agony that cant get treatment. Idk how much longer I can do this as things are.

It’s so awful. I cant even get a GP to take me on anymore.

Also I was given serotonin syndrome twice by this same pain management doctor. I have nobody to complain to either bc I have no other dr to go see.

He’s going to.kill me I think. Either through drug interactions, severe (and previously known) side effects or through ineffective treatment.

I wonder if he worries if I’ll die bc of his inaction. I doubt it


What a perfect description! I got the same thing last week and all I had asked for was a muscle relaxant and steroid to help get over a hump! I’m still trying to figure out why I got the “opiates are dangerous, horrible drugs” lecture! I’ll never understand their game plan!!

Ur story is very good & so similar to mine & many others. We need to find some reporters that take pain meds who wld tell our side. I ran a group n I did this & it changed our world in that group. But I’m 65 now & dont get enuf pain meds anymore so I cant concentrate like I used to. I may be wrong but I pray everyday that everyone fighting against us that they’ll have more pain than any of us have. God bless u & thank u, brenda pitts bennett.

Janna Crickmore

Seriously this is all of our worst nightmares. We feel like we have to kiss up just to get the bare minimum. North Carolina is no better and California is even worse. Go figure you can smoke pot with no consequences in California but the same doc who wants to give you pot won’t write a script for norco. How messed up has this become?


BE WARNED, ONE AND ALL. What this man went through is happening to all of us. My doctors are in University of California system. Their official stance is NO OPIODS. You hurt, tough [edit]. I have been thru 3 major surgeries (2 liver and one back) sent home without adequate pain control.

I weaned myself off of my Fentanyl (50 mcg) down to 6 mcg. I begged for a pain doc to help me wean, they were the ones that handed out pain meds like candy. No help! So I am stuck at 6 mcg. My doctor said if I get off Fentanyl she’d prescribe pain meds like I was a regular person. (They refused after surgery pain meds because of my patch, it didn’t cover my after surgery pain). Last time I broke my heel in 4 places NO PAIN MED., I’m not allowed NSAIDS (kidney failure). New problem it’s summer, hot and muggy, I have fans running which add pain to my eyes. I have graves/thyroid eye disease, my eyes are poking out from pressure and my eyelid doesn’t close all the way. The headaches are horrendous and my doctor was out of town. I had explained to the new doctor that they gave me Fioricet from 2001-2010 for headaches until I had both eye surgeries. The eye disease is back. Immitrex gives me horrible side effects and doesn’t work, no Excedrin (kidney failure). The doctor that saw me said he had to ask the new head doctor before letting me have Fioricet. The new doctor (looks like he’s 12 years old) came in and said no no no, I’d get addicted to Fioricet. He said I HAD to try to new, out of price range headache meds. I told him I had Botox, it did nothing, and I live on social security. I can’t afford those meds. He just left the room….

I do get 4 Norcos a day but my doctor is getting scared. If I argue or admit how much I want to die, they’d kick me out. I’m a Buddhist, believing in cause and effect. I would never actually end my life, I just want to.

I think rich people that can afford alternative pain treatments will be okay. The rest of us, life sucks.

It sure stinks out there Tim, and sadly I see no end in sight, in fact its getting worse with every passing year! As sick as we are, we must now fight in order to have any semblance of an acceptable existence. Clearly healthcare providers today have all fallen victim to the profit driven business model. It’s “Them vs. Us”, they now view us as a threat to their businesses and not people suffering and fighting to stay alive let alone have a decent day. The industry is self protective and any threat to their profit model, whether perceived or genuine, are being phased out to make way for newer less threatening obedient patients along with faster treatments and procedures to increase profits regardless if they’re efficacious or not. Greed has replaced their Hippocratic Oath. We are simply the means to making money, no longer a patient in need of help.


So sorry this happening to you as well. And good for you for turning them in! My pain doc of 3.5 years flaked out in May, cut me off w no referral or regard for tapering. I filed a 17 page complaint with 100 pages of supporting documentation to the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct in Albany. I have little faith these state workers will conduct a thorough unbiased investigation as they “lost” my complaint packet. The investigator kept telling me for 2 months they couldn’t find my complaint, though it was sent certified mail & I received stamped card that it was indeed delivered. I kept checking to see if they received it but he kept saying no. I told him he needed to find it because I wasn’t going to pay for copies and mailing again…not to mention it had my health information in it! I finally had to send an email to the NYS OPMC commissioner about the matter. Within a half hour, they “found” my documents. They are all in cahoots with each other.


I am a long term cpp and have had similar experiences at my Drs office. Whenever my primary care doc is not in the office I get very nervous because my monthly requests for pain meds have to go through one of his PA’s or NP’s. They invariably act like I’m taking away their license on the spot. A year ago it took a NP ten days to write my scripts while I went into withdrawal, and even then she wrote the script for the wrong medication.
Last week I had to deal with a PA who has 5 months experience. He doesn’t know me and It was obvious he hadn’t read my chart. He wanted me to go to a pain clinic 2 minutes after meeting me, but reluctantly agreed to write the script.
Back when this whole mess started it was a PA who initiated a taper of my meds. My primary care doc stopped that. Thank god for my primary, I don’t know where to go if he leaves.

Adam Selene

The younger NPs and MDs don’t have any empathy and somehow in their training they were neglected in the use of logic to make a decision. When these particular persons believe they “know-it-all”, you can be assured you are viewed as a drug seeker and drug abuser. These people should be removed from medical practice and be forced to undergo remedial training to recover the shreds of humanity they have cast off along the way.

Betty B

Timothy I live in south MS and have a great pain doctor. If it’s not too far, his name is Dr. Chen and his main office is in Ocean Springs, MS. They have cared for me for the last about ten years. They listen and take great care of their patients.

Hope this helps.

Deb Mossop

I’m sorry they treated you so poorly. That is the way a lot of us are being treated
Its rediculous.Were left to suffer. And no one cares.

Rosalind Rivera

As a chronic and intractable pain sufferers and also one with Spinal Stenosis as well as RA and other severe pain and Depression/Anxiety issues, I deeply sympathize and empathize with you. We are treated so badly by the medical so called professionals. I too have a Masters degree and am amazed at how physicians look down at us as if we are uninformed and uneducated morons. I can tell you that I have knowledge of much more than many of them do including street smarts. We need to fight and do so armed with what we know. I am a consummate researcher therefore I keep up with what is going on and the unethical and immoral as well as illegal constrictions and tenets of the powers that be whom have signed our death warrants!

Timothy Mason don’t come to Tennessee they have the strictest state laws. The only thing left are the cold doctors here. You rarely see a doctor only in for injections and they are pushing their injections even if you have a stomach issue where you are told by your PCP not to take injections until your stomach heals but pain management so hungry for money they will not let you have time for your stomach to heal so you’ll be kicked out with again attacked of your character. you stand up for yourself all you’ll get is more nasty letters attacking your character. Pain management is now hostel environment you keep your mouth shut, Act like you’re ignorant , do all treatments no matter the cost . Good luck


I got sexually assaulted on the orders of two nurses because I lost my suitcase on a train journey with my meds in it. My pain doc sent me to the ER for meds I where they refused them and lied to prevent me seeing a doctor. What is the relationship between needing pain meds on the orders of ones condultant snd being sexually assaulted - in a British Hospital?? The police are covering it up by breaking the law redacting and withholding data not acting on a crystal clear human rights abuse police statement. People are afraid of pain that’s why they scapegoat us,

James McCay

I’m an empath, always have been and spent 16-years working as a true “MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL”. I don’t think those exist anymore. All I can say Timothy is- I’M SO SORRY!

Yet my story is very similar to yours as well. But I learned in working in hospitals to REFUSE ALL SURGERY, UNTIL YOU GET A 2nd, 3rd, 4th, even 5th opinion (and at different owned hospitals). I’d be DEAD today if I would have had ONE of the MANY surgeries they said “You need.”. I had General Myasthenia Gravis (with ALL the symptoms screaming at these surgeons) yet a “traveling Neurosurgeon” still wanted to replace my worst disc (L5/S1-right above the tailbone) early on in 2004.

Two years after 2004, a VERY RARE Adenologist (they’ve been lumped in with Neurology which is plain STUPID!) correctly diagnosed my Myasthenia Gravis (MG), then put his hand on my shoulder with tears swelling up in his eyes saying “I’m so sorry.”
After 13-years with Myasthenia Gravis diagnosed now (and my two other Neuromuscular and Autoimmune diseases) I now know ALL TOO WELL why tears were in his eyes! MG SUCKS!

Adenology is the specific study of GLANDS. Even as I write now, Adenology is being underlined as SPELLED INCORRECTLY, but it’s not! It was simply “phased out” of the US Medical Field because it’s mainly associated with RARE DISEASES, and many of us know by now that the US Medical Field DOES NOT CARE about VERY RARE DISEASES!

Many of us have Rare Gland Diseases that most Neurologists have a clue about, which is why they so quickly turn to SURGERY (it’s an easy way out that makes them A LOT of money!). “This couldn’t happen in the US medical field!”- If you thought that for one moment so far in the last 10-years, PLEASE WAKE UP! Doctors today have been forced into being POLITICIANS that many of us HATE SO MUCH! It’s only about MONEY for US doctors because OUR GOVERNMENT made so many cuts to what doctors get paid (especially hospital doctors) that all the good ones LEFT THE USA long ago!


Sounds like its way past the time when all of us should be recording our encounters with medical staff!


Another horrifying story. My sympathy to the author, and I’m so glad you fought back.


GOP Sen Rob Portman was anti-gay rights until several years ago when his son came out as gay.
Then the Sen changed his tune.
But if he had not been personally touched, then he’d still be anti-gay rights.

Unfortunately, this is the story on too many issues.

People lack empathy. They can’t begin to even try to imagine what it’s like for others until they are personally affected.

We need a lot of people in power to come down with our afflictions; our pains; our daily struggles.

Then, we’d get the relief we need.

But until then, it doesn’t look good.


I wish you good fortune sorting this out. No one goes through what you have for fun or drugs. I know because i have scarring on my nerve roots too. Causes referred pain to locations lower. Disrespect is unhelpful at best. Unfortunately a byproduct of troubling times and stable genius multiple places. Glad you declined invitation for a poke to the gut.

Carol Hammond

This man’s story is common all over the US! History will show the very illegal things that are being done to all pain patients. I wish Doctors would have stood together and said NO to our government, I don’t think this would have happened!

I’ve had many of the experiences that this person has had. I’m 74 and doctors are not helping me. God Bless all of us!

Patricia Bradley

This story is so close to my own its not funny..ive been through so much I’ve lost all respect for the medical community. Why are we being discriminated against? Our basic human rights are being taken away and no one seems to care. It’s like they want us to die.
I’ve sent letters to both Colorado senators and the governor. .still no change not even a mention of the crisis of chronic pain patients.


Well, I feel for you dude, but if you’re in Georgia everything the guy in the WH says is true, you know.
But everywhere, the DEA is treating us like criminals too
Most days I see a doc, they are trembling in fear. Our medical system is in deep do all over

Rebecca Hollingsworth

I think most all pain patients are sinking in this overcrowded boat. We sit through our appointments in relative silence afraid to rock the boat. Knowing that if we speak up and communicate just how we are being treated that we would leave empty handed, without our lifeline, i.e. no prescriptions. That is an extremely scary scenario. What little most pain patients receive now, less would be even more devastating. Enough is enough. At least in the last couple of days, I have heard “newscasters” debating the liabilities and benefits of opioids, that they do have a place in medicine. And how chronic pain patients NEED these medications, but it seems more of an afterthought than anything else. Our needs are still secondary and the focus remains on the addiction side of the equation. Our plight is still falling on deaf ears and addiction treatment is at the forefront of this “crisis “. This doesn’t help pain patients. We are not drug seekers or addicts. Our goal is to be as normal as possible. It’s a chance to be a participant in the everyday, mundane as that may seem to some. What a joy it would be to work again, take the kids to their practices and games, go to the store, cook dinner or even maybe just maybe go out to eat. Normalcy is what we seek, nothing more. A return to the way life used to be, when doctors, and not the government, treated their patients. We all know that when the government decided to practice medicine, bad things happened. Mr. Mason has big kahonas!! He was aware of what might happen if he spoke up and it did. Most pain patients are extremely vulnerable and afraid of having their government approved dose (little as it may be) completely rescinded. There aren’t any alternatives at present and our future doesn’t look promising either. So what is the solution?


Typical. A nurse to prescribe medication or deny it only because your smart enough to know what your taking. After 6 or more months of pain specialists telling you what they think is your problem. You shouldn’t retain any of it. I’m not a Neuro surgeon but I know what works or didn’t work from PT to spinal injections to elect stem to chiiro. I know opoids diminished and even stopped the pain for me. 1 year later after forced tapering I’m on OC meds. Medical issues about along with painnnnnn.


(Cont’d) So there I was, gasping and I had already been struggling to think clearly enough to get words from my brain out my mouth properly because I was not getting all the oxygen I needed… and the on-call doctor says that I’ve got a “problem with prednisone.”

I said some choice words at her: “What the…, lady?”

I sat next to an air cleaner all Thanksgiving and used my inhalers that supposedly “didn’t work.”

An ENT who diagnosed me with vocal cord dysfunction referred me back for repeat methacholine testing, which I was refused.

I wrote an email saying I wanted to schedule for repeat testing that my ENT had ordered. A nurse practitioner called me and said, “You can go to any pulmonology clinic, but they’ll see your records and tell you the same thing: You don’t have asthma.” She told me she wouldn’t schedule me. I was denied care… when I couldn’t breathe.

I almost committed suicide. If I can’t breathe, can’t get inhalers, what’s the point of dying that death?

I ended up finally traveling an hour and 45 minutes from my home to see another pulmonologist (the clinic I’d gone to is the Comprehensive Lung Center and I’d tried different doctors there before I was dismissed from the practice — they wouldn’t sway from “THE” opinion I’d gotten. With centralized clinics, there are tons of doctors and only one opinion). I had to be seen in a hospital that took my insurance where I could be re-tested… The pulmonologist said that he’s used methacholine to rule people in or out of a research study, but it wasn’t appropriate for excluding the diagnosis of asthma because it has to be prepared precisely. (I remember the tech telling me how she’s done tons of tests on people who thought they had asthma and then they found out they didn’t have asthma and “took their inhalers away.” She seemed almost smug).

The stigma of being a pain patient is hard enough. I couldn’t cope with being thought of as an addict by my doctors - & being denied care for BREATHING!!!!

Nikki McCuin

God bless you, Mr. Mason! All of us in the pain community know the misery of hurting every waking moment of every single day of our lives. Most of us suffer the anxiety that tags along, as well. We didn’t ask for our ailments. We didn’t act foolishly when we were younger to cause them. We just try to exist. When another struggle presents itself in the form of medical personnel, accusing and belittling and labeling us, that truly feels like the last straw. I’m not a vindictive woman, but I sure wish these practitioners could walk a mile in our shoes! Stand tall, Sir! I’ll follow you, albeit limping and cursing as I go!

Dearest Mr.Mason,
Am so sorry to hear your horror story. Sounds more like you needed a baseball bat; (just joking but let’s get real!) This woman needs to run for Congress versus working in a physician’s office. Opioid Injustice or not; there is no excuse for the way she mistreated you.. Seems as though she was trying to make you mad by lowering your dosage, that didn’t work so then she was really going to let you have it! (Who knows, maybe somebody cut her medicine back tenfold.) I’m finding not only in the world of medicine but everywhere one seems to go there is an abundance of rude people to deal with on a daily basis. It’s truly inexcusable for how you were treated, for how so many of us have been treated or might I say under treated since this mess started. I will be praying that you can find a physician with a staff who is sympathetic to your needs and can leave there own at home.

Gail Honadle

Good luck finding a Pain Clinic in Tennessee, we have 64 for the entire state. They are not friendly. Over 300 closed in 1 day. Tennessee doctor feels shutdown of pain clinics fuels opioid crisis CVS, Walmart, Walgreen’s are hateful places to fill a prescription for pain meds.

Like you I’ve multiple spinal issues and Gastro ones. Plus all the [edit] that goes with being 71. FMS, and just got told my A1C1 is 7.5 due to Gastropresis a Low to No fiber diet. And extended Dental work for the removal of the last 10 lower teeth, besides the pulling, had to have the bone spurs removed, then the jaw re-sculptured. 10 months and no lower teeth means you can’t chew. Denture still doesn’t fit right even after being relined. Needs to be remolded. No adhesive will hold it in place more than 3 hours as long as you don’t eat.

Molly K Canfield

THIS is exactly the sort of case the attorney I spoke to (in Georgia) said would be appropriate for a lawsuit. A for profit physician,,/physician assistant, clinic or hospital who abuses you. Taking away your medically necessary, legally prescribed (by them, no less) medicine. I strongly suggest a consult with a med malpractice attorney. I certainly would and will when (not if) this happens to me. Because I also live in Georgia and go to Emory for anxiety/depression issues, this made my blood run cold. Please let me know what happens to you. How many people does it take to make up a class action lawsuit? This is not a joke.


I’m so sorry this is happening to you. People with documented issues… ones that are even visible on scans… are being denied care. Not only that, they’re flat-out being abused in the process. Pain patients are not a face, a name, a person… we’re stigmatized and our “person-hood” doesn’t matter any longer. The hippocratic oath is empty, meaningless.

I sometimes feel like we’re in a dystopic world.

It’s trickled down to affect my care by other providers as well. An allergist wrote in my records that I have a “problem with prednisone.” I had an asthma diagnosis all of my life until I went to this practice. They undiagnosed me and said I only had vocal cord dysfunction. Yes, they did a methacholine test, but I was advised by an ENT that I should be re-tested in the event I had a false negative test. The practice flat-out refused to retest me. I had an asthma attack out of town while visiting my parents who have 7 cats. “Your inhalers won’t help you,” says the on-call doctor. She then said, “I see in your chart that you have a “problem with prednisone.” I had been on the phone, gasping and near to passing out for 45 minutes trying to get her to help… and it took a minute… “problem with prednisone… what does that mean?” At the last appointment, the allergist said to me, “I don’t believe in using prednisone.” It was… odd. But I still believed I’d get some kind of help… Instead, I was being told to do breathing exercises I’d already done and to go to the hospital (out-of-network, on a weekend evening when I couldn’t talk to anyone about my medical benefits. And yes, I’d rather freaking die than take on a medical debt that would drown me… that’s another topic about this country’s absurdity). It all sank in… and the copy I got of my medical records later confirmed it: They thought I was addicted to prednisone, which I took 4-5 times a year after allergen exposures. My therapist actually LAUGHED at the absurdity. (Cont’d next)


Why are they doing this to us ? It’s like we’ve all been scheduled for execution by the doctors ! It’s like being Jewish in Berlin Germany in world war 2 ! God help us !

Denise Lemrick

UNBELIEVABLE….all because you “hurt”her ego it seems…so sorry for your experiences….I also have severe spinal stenosis dx while in pain management along with multiple joint replacements with 3 fails on my left hip. The bone in my pelvis is disintigrating because of osteolysis and broken components of the prosthetic. I was told that they would remove the implant and metal fragments and just blatently leave me with no hip at all….I’m able to function with my state as it is and refuse to accept what my surgeon had to offer. I live in SC about 2 hrs from Atlanta. I don’t know where to begin finding a qualified surgeon able and willing to take my case on…. I’m scared to death that I will be rendered to a wheelchair.
I have a history of congenital musculoskeletal problems and hip dysplasia corrected as a child after being in Shriners hospital for three years(it was very severe case). Presently I have been referred to a good pain management physician and have the pain under control. I dont know what the future holds for us folks who suffer daily with the cars we have been dealt as far as our health goes. Oxycodone ER 40mg, gabapentin 800mg, mobi, and baclofen is the best treatment thus far that actually works to give me relief and enables me to live a semi normal life. I’m afraid as well that somehow they will find a way to drop me like a hot potato from treatment…..


What an interesting story! You showed great spunk. That takes courage nowadays. Did you ever get to talk to the doctor? That woman NP sounds like someone who needs to be fired. Maybe the doct will have you back so u don’t have to hunt for new one. Best of luck!