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Did you know that most other countries in the world do not have the puritan attitude towards painkillers that the US has?  and that most of the insane drug laws passed in a blatant attempt to garner more votes to thwart drug abusers merely harm the legitimate patients who have to jump through ever more elaborate hoops to get the medication they need?  And that none of those laws do a damn thing to prevent junkies getting their hands on the drugs they want?  

Not a thing.  In the meantime, I have an insurance policy that won't pay for my medications unless I order them through the mail, and a doctor's office who point blank refuses to do it that way.  And when I attempted to resolve this yesterday, I was made to feel like a pathetic junkie who doesn't know what's best for her.

Oh, yes, the "War on Drugs" is going so well.  Civilian casualties are in the hundreds of thousands; any day now the junkies are going to throw their hand up in surrender and never take another pill ever again, and we can get rid of all pain pills forever.  The pain?  Oh, I don't mind; it's good to suffer.  It makes me feel all strong and in control, and it's much better that I go through my day unable to do any of the things I love, than risk the chance that someone, somewhere, is guzzling pills they shouldn't have because I couldn't manage without medication.

You can quote statistics about the damage caused by drug abuse all you want; it is very, very real.  But it isn't solved by passing more laws.  We've done that for more than half a century now, and the "drug problem" is the same as it ever was - perhaps it might be time to try something new.  Maybe something that doesn't mean that I and all the other people in my big medical boat have to be in pain and denied the care we need because political scaremongers have whipped the country into a hysterical frenzy about how the drugs that people need to live pain-free lives are bad, bad, BAD, and no-one should ever take them, ever.  Seriously, Canada and Britain think y'all are nuts.

Despite what you hear about celebrities being addicted to painkillers after an injury, studies show that almost everyone who starts taking a narcotic painkiller for a legitimate issue will not become addicted (they will suffer withdrawal symptoms - it's a physical brain thing - but the urge to take drugs recreationally never manifests).   99% of drug abusers start taking drugs of some sort because they want to take drugs; prescription drugs are just easier for some people to score than street drugs.  This problem is not solved by passing yet more laws; there are already laws in place that bar the sale or transfer of drugs from one person to another without prescription.  The main method of obtaining prescription drugs other than stealing is buying them off someone who has a prescription, and that's - wait for it - already illegal. 

I think people who have never had long term pain can't wrap their minds around what it's like.  For most people, over-the-counter (OTC) medications are sufficient to handle everyday aches and pains.  I take regular Motrin for mild headaches, and Excedrine Migraine for my migraines, because frankly, they're not bad enough or frequent enough to warrant prescription drugs (and considering my new insurance policy, thank God for that - I don't need more hassle).  I take an Advil or two when I have muscle aches (yes, I can tell the difference).  When I was a teenager, I never took anything  - I didn't like taking pills (to be honest, I still don't).  But the chronic pain?  It laughs in derision at OTC stuff.  More than one doctor has asked me why I don't just take a bit more Advil when it hurts more.  I would do that, but the bottle warns me that if I take enough to be effective, I might die.  

You know, when laws are passed to restrict the availability of legal narcotics, the junkies don't suffer.  They're used to living outside the law, and they will steal drugs or buy them on the street.  But those of us who prefer to honour the social contract and live within the law are treated with contempt, patted on the head, and told that we should "just deal" with the pain.  We get our urine tested, and we have to sign drug-use "contracts" as if we are recovering addicts.  We suffer all sorts of humiliations because we have had the sheer nerve to develop chronic pain that only responds to narcotic treatment.

I don't want to take coedine every day.  It has annoying side effects that I constantly have to deal with.  Contrary to what anti-drug people want to tell you, I'm not euphoric, or on a "high" all the time.  The half-pill I take at a time is just enough to allow me to function close to normal levels (y'know, minus fun things like playing the harp, fencing, or opening heavy doors), but there is always a low level of pain in my life (right this second, both forearms feel like they're burning, and my right elbow is all "stabbity stabbity, sucker!").  On bad days, I have to ration out what I can handle, because I am only allowed a certain number of spoons pills a day.  But because of politically expedient drug dispensing laws, someone who has never met me has decided how much pain I am going to have every day, because drugs are OMG! bad, and how dare I need them?!  

I am dependent on the medication; that is the nature of narcotics.  They interrupt the normal function of the serotonin receptors in the brain over time, and I have been taking them every day for almost five years.  I am terrified of the withdrawal period, but I'd deal with that happily if it meant I was cured.  But until the day I am pain-free, I won't voluntarily quit the coedine.  I'd rather deal with this monster than the far bigger one of uncontrolled pain.  In spite of what some (grossly uninformed) people think, this does not make me an addict.   It makes me a person unwilling to live in crippling pain without the assistance of legal medication that should be freely available with a doctor's supervision.

People ask me if I've tried anything else, like I went straight for the hard stuff without even bothering to investigate other options.  I've tried everything else; acupuncture (it hurt really bad), massage (short-term relief, but I broke my therapist), antidepressants (singularly uneffective, plus I got depressed), and other less addictive painkillers (I got depressed, nauseous, and the withdrawal was awful).  Do they really think I'd steadily poison my brain and destroy my serotonin receptors if I had any choice?  Let me repeat; I do not get any high from this drug.  There is absolutely no benefit to taking coedine except that it takes my pain away.

(Or at least dulls it sufficiently for me to function.  Hey, I'll take what I can get.)

There is no nobility in pain; there is only constant tiredness, and an inability to do very much.  

I'd make a joke here, and say "I'm not bitter!", but I am (and not just about the fact that other people seem to enjoy far geater psychotropic effects than me from this drug).  The drug hysteria in this country is patently ridiculous, and honestly, disingenuous.  Politicians and holier-than-thou pressure groups want to punish drug users, which is why no comprehensive drug rehabilitation policy exists, only outrageous prison sentences and punitive drug laws that prevent doctors from treating their patients properly.  Every time I am confronted with drug ignorance and the attitude that it's nobler to be in pain than on medication, I want to slam that person into a wall really hard four or five times, then stamp on their forearms for about five minutes, as hard as I can.  Then, when they ask for an Advil, I'll say no.

And then I'll ask "How does it feel to be noble, bitch?".

That might make me feel a bit better.  Siccing my lawyer on the Doctor's office helps, too (thanks, Bob!).  But what would help most of all would be an actual diagnosis and a proper course of pain management from a doctor who doesn't treat me like a pathetic junkie trying for a stronger fix.

It seems awfully sad that it looks like this is too much to ask.


( 83 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
I hear you. I just found out from my insurance company that: they will stop paying a cent if I get my Cymbalta from the pharmacy, I have to get it online. Fair enough. I go online and find out that, unlike my other meds which I can switch from the retail outlet to online with a couple of clicks and a computer acknowledgement from my Doc, this is a 'controlled substance' and all of my transactions have to be based on paper mailed to them. So I have less than a month to get the paper from the doctor (that he already gave me to take to the retail pharmacy), send it them with lots of paperwork identical to the paperwork they already have on me, and wait for it to get here in the mail, and pay for three months of copay right now rather than only one. Also, it can't be renewed for more than three months, so I have to do this again every quarter. Drive, get paper, fill out form, mail.

You can't even get high on this stuff. WTF?
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
This is Nancy Reagan's fault, I swear.
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
I wish this were not so true but it is. I truly do not understand this fear of pain killers that Doctors have. At 15 I broke both bones in my arm and when I discovered I was allergic to Tylenol 3 (codine)the Dr. had me take Advil. Due to a previous injury for which I was also been refused pain killers I had to take 6 Tylenol/Advil to even take the edge off the pain. So yeah it was better for a 15 year old to take 36 Advil a day for a month+ than it was for me to have a prescription pain killer. Sure that sounds like the better plan to me.
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
"More than one doctor has asked me why I don't just take a bit more Advil"

D'oh! I'd fire that doc. I know, finding one who is even partly compatible is difficult enough. But you shouldn't have to go through this!

My doc when I was 12 told me to just take more (then prescription) Actifed for my allergies. When it got to the point where I was taking 6 to no effect I freaked out and stopped taking them at all. No one understood why I'd rather suffer allergies than keep pumping more ineffectual meds (I think I was immune to the active ingredient by then) into my bod. An effective med would have been good, but no, the doc just said to take more and more and more.

It is insane that you should have to live in pain when there *are* effective meds that can help you.

Come to Canada.
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC)
Of course where I am (in eastern Canada) there is a doctor shortage... lucky to even get a prescription or see a doctor :S
(no subject) - damedini - Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - landverhuizer - Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC)
Damn straight!!!

I know it's not debilitating like chronic pain (although in a blind taste test, 95% of people chose breathing over not breathing), but I have the same feeling about the hassle I have to go through to get the only allergy med that actually works for me.

All because some damn meth-heads might make crank. As if they aren't getting the majority of their base material from Mexico...
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
...The other 5% were on heroin and didn't care. :)
(no subject) - dorinda2212 - Jan. 23rd, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spranglady - Jan. 23rd, 2008 07:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
It is incomprehensible! Thankfully our govt. concentrates on things we do not need... like guns, which is handled/seen much in the same way. but... to take away something people need. And this helps dealing with the drug problem how? If it is a street problem then the help should be taken to the streets instead of risking injury to those who are law abiding. It seems like imprisoning many in hopes of caching a few.
Jan. 23rd, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC)
Don't. Need. Guns? That's crazy talk. What about the crime? What about the terroristissess? What about the librels? Or zombies?

Don't need guns. Hah.

(who, no, you don't know, but attack laurel is my wife and she's armed, too.)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jan. 23rd, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
It has really become ridiculous, hasn't it? It's certainly easy for a doctor to tell the difference between a patient who needs effective pain management and a junkie who needs a fix.

And it's not just prescription drugs. You can't get Sudafed without ID and signing paperwork and going to the pharmacist. Why? Because they use it to make crystal meth? Do you really think this will stop because they inconvenience sinus sufferers? Nope!

I hate medicine too. But I have to take pills everyday to stay healthy. I hate and dispise it, but the alternative is disease.

I have very mean things to say about the "War on Drugs" but I think I'll restrain myself. Prohibition didn't stop people from drinking. It just created an entire smuggling industry. If people want to kill themselves with drugs, I say let them! Freedom of choice, right?

(And don't give me "What if that person is your doctor or the person driving a car towards you at 80 mph?" Do you honestly think that isn't happening everyday now? Do you think the "War on Drugs" is stopping that from happening? Do you think Nancy Reagan convinced even one addict to "Just say no"?)

I bet old Nancy gets all her 'scripts filled without question!

My sincerest empathy, my dear, and I hope you have a low-pain day tomorrow.
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :) I was afraid I'd start a "drugs are badnononono" war in my comments section.

Of course, the day is young... '8)
(no subject) - kass_rants - Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - damedini - Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kass_rants - Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dream_wind - Jan. 24th, 2008 02:11 am (UTC) - Expand
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Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
am curious about this as well, never heard about such a thing... and what of the reasoning behind that?? (or has anyone given one?)
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - janinas_nest - Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - kass_rants - Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - landverhuizer - Jan. 23rd, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
Complicating the issue of drugs are the insurance companies themselves. And it isn't just painkillers, but just about any drug that is *not* a generic! I was diagnosed with acid reflux and put on Prevacis, since OTC Prilosec did not work. Guess what Insurance company won't cover the drug for more than 3 months. When I go to the Dr. to get them to approve it, it doesn't get fixed, and what do they give me? Genereic Prilosec. Which does not work...

The insurance companies are the biggest rip off ever. They have driven the price of health care up (since they negotiate a lower price for thier clients) to the point that you cannot afford to get health care without insurance. Then they look for the most spurious reasons to deny claims or delay payments. There is a reason Medical collections do not get counted by most lenders when they get your credit file!!!
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)
IMNSHO, Insurance companies should be sued for "practicing medicine without a license."

Clueless idiots should NOT be deciding my medical care!
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:11 pm (UTC)
I live with daily pain as well, in my knee and back (from 2 car accidents) and Dr's have decided rather then actually being helpful and healing or medicating me for the actual injuries I have.......... I must be depressed. Every time I go in trying to get help they offer depression medication, when I tell them I am a happy person, they basically tell me that I am only happy because I don't know how depressed I am. When I tell them I can pin point the moment of the start of my pain (a dodge ram up the backside at 50 mph will tend to stand out in one's mind) they say they can’t find anything on any scans so I must be healed from that by now and I am depressed. Even though I have been declared permanently disabled from my accidents, I have not applied for social security, I haven't been on narcotic drugs for any long period of time and have never been addicted as I spent a long time preggers or nursing, so it's not like I could potentially be faking it, what would I gain? Heaven forbid that chronic pain be an actual physical feeling, it must be in my mind. I get so mad at them it just depresses me, wait..........
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, the "we can't see anything, so it must be in your head" explanation. It's so patronising, it's a wonder more doctors aren't dead of strangling.

Actually, the nervous sytem is very delicately balanced, and damage may not show up on an MRI. Doesn't mean it's not real. :(
(no subject) - pirategirleee - Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Jan. 23rd, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ciorstan - Jan. 23rd, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
Hear hear.
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)
I haven't had an experience with pain meds but I have ran into problems in other med areas. When I was diagnosed with Crohn's the Doctor prescribed two medicines, Pentasa (which is to actually treat the Crohns and I have to take 8 pills a day of) and Prevacid to help with the stomach and intestinal discomfort.

I got a lovely letter from my insurance company basically telling me that even though Prevacid was prescribed to me by a Doctor to help treat a chronic illness (and had 5 refills) they were only going to cover the first filling of the prescription and then I was on my own. I can't remember the exact words they used but it basically boiled down to "this is a drug you take to help you feel comfortable and therefore does not treat an illness....we don't cover drugs that keep you from being in discomfort or pain."

Fortunately I didn't need the prevacid too long so I haven't had to deal with refilling it...but still. I hate to think if I was experiencing pain and discomfort and needed the Prevacid.....
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
I was shocked to find that terrible pain alone is not a reason to have surgery, according to the insurance company, either. Sometimes the doctors help you out by leading you to say the magic words that will help them successfully fill out their claims forms. The truth is, IMHO, that the insurance companies approve expensive procedures only when it will save them money in the long run, not because it's what you think you rightfully paid for and should receive to maintain quality of life.
(no subject) - pirategirleee - Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - florentinescot - Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pirategirleee - Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - florentinescot - Jan. 23rd, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dream_wind - Jan. 24th, 2008 01:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)
The unwillingness of some doctors to treat their patients as people rather than sheep really pisses me off. Particularly because some of my sister's stories from Med School give me the idea that they are (sometimes) taught to take that approach!

Once you find a new doctor, one with functioning ears and brain, maybe your old doctor can meet some of the 'uncles' of a friend of mine...
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
And yet, I sort of stand here and go--- Insurance. Wow, what would THAT be like on a regular basis. :-)

Part of it is the nature of corporate practice. I had an interview yesterday with the HR dept. for a private veterinary conglomerate that needs a vet for one of their practices. And the woman says (I kid you not) "Some people say we tell you how to practice. But we don't! We use an algorithm!!" You punch your Physical exam findings into their computer, and it spits out a list of potential diagnoses with appropriate treatments, ranked by likelihood. Accck, run away!!! Run away!!!! I practice about 50% on gut instinct. Keep your freakin' computer and it's laundry list of treatments away from me!!!
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I shouldn't get much sympathy for bitching about my insurance when one out of 7 people is completely uninsured and praying they don't get sick - as annoying as it is, at least I *have* insurance. Without it, I'd have bankrupted us long ago. I've been trying to find out what's wrong for over 7 years. I can't even remember how many doctors I've seen.
(no subject) - spranglady - Jan. 23rd, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
nods. My chronic pain is a headache -- only because I don't want to take asprin/tylenol every damn day. I can function with it, but I know it's there.

We really had to deal with the narcotic thing with my MIL. She was dying of small-cell lung cancer -- a very ugly disease. But make her comfortable? She might get addicted. 'Scuse me? The woman has (on average) 90 days to live and you're worried about whether she dies as a junkie or not? I don't think so, Tim! If she'd been my mother, there would have been hell to pay!


I wish there was something that I could do.
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC)
The thing with your MIL is what makes me so insanely angry about the attitude towards drugs in the US. And it is this way because of snotty people who have lied and overexaggerated the drug issue in an attempt to scare us all into doing whatever they say.

My mother once alled me in for a talk, and said "I don't mind if you try marijuana, but stay off the hard drugs, because they can really screw you up". That's all she said - no lies, no stories about how I'd end up a homeless crack whore with twenty children if I so much as looked at a spliff. One method leads to an adult who has never tried anything stronger than a bottle of rum (I should tell that story sometime), the other to generations of people who mistrust anything the authorities tell them, and a legal system that demands people die in excruciating pain.

Call me crazy, but I prefer my mother's approach.
(no subject) - florentinescot - Jan. 23rd, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tasuskind - Jan. 23rd, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - florentinescot - Jan. 23rd, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hugh_mannity - Jan. 23rd, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - florentinescot - Jan. 23rd, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
This entire health care fiasco was perpetrated upon us when Congress (under the Republicans at the time) decided that health care should be a for profit industry. It was doomed from the start because of that decision. I recall the fearmongering that allowed we would turn into a nation of socialists if health care was not kept in private (money-grubbing) hands. The vast sums given to politicians by the health care lobby undoubtedly sealed the deal.

And now can we even imagine that politicians will sort out this mess they've made???

Hrrumpff, growl

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