attack_laurel (attack_laurel) wrote,
attack_laurel
attack_laurel

To hell with laughter; medicine is the best medicine.

 
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.
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