Pain Control and Drug Seeking

I have to admit that I love reading medical blogs. One particular subject seems to resonate with all of the bloggers in the medical field-Drug Seekers. These are the people that come into the ER looking for a fix. They generalize a condition which can be hard to diagnose so they can get high. They generally fake back pain or a migraine which puts actual migraine and back pain sufferers in a bad light.

Enter the Likert scale of pain (rate your pain 1-10) and they will tell you 10 or over every time. Each blog entry that I have read tells of a “patient” in so much pain that they are moaning, groaning or crying and that their loved one/enabler is threatening the staff. They don’t want tests they want shots, when tests are called for they get off their gurneys and leave.

I have always had a high respect for painkillers and I am also afraid of them since they can damage your liver. Since breaking my leg that respect and fear has been elevated. As a child my family found out the hard way that I shared my Fathers allergy to aspirin. We had just moved to the united states and I was sick, my Mother bought some children’s medication not knowing it had aspirin in it. I ran a high fever, broke out in hives and hallucinated we’ve been an Tylenol family ever since.

I rarely took medications growing up, an occasion Tylenol for a headache I couldn’t shake or some Midol for a bad monthly visitor. I’ve been on pain medication for close to 4 months now and it bothers me. My pain has become more manageable in the months after my surgeries. At first when I came home I was on Percocet a wicked pain killer. I only took 1 pill every 6 hours which I reduced to one a day and I could go three days or more without taking a pill.

After I came home from my second surgery which was more involved and invasive, since they had to rip out hardware from the previous surgery, I was taking two Percocets every 6 hours which was the maximum amount I was prescribed. After two hours the pain would come back and I would try not to stare at the clock and cry. A few days later the pain lessened and I was able to reduce my dose. It got to the point where I would challenge myself. I would note that I had gone 18 hours without medication and I would push myself to go longer. I had a stretches of days with no pain meds!

However, there would be times when my leg would be at war with the rest of my body but the pain didn’t warrant a Percocet but regular Tylenol wouldn’t suffice. I hated having to take my prescribed painkillers because it was overkill so many times I sucked it up until the pain got worse, which would upset Anonymous. I told my doctor and P.A. that I was hesitant to take my medication I asked if I could be given a lower potency painkiller. I was given a new prescription but was told that if it didn’t work to call and that a solution would be found.

Bloggers write that after a painkillers are administered theres a miraculous recovery often culminating with the patient doing “a runner”. Raging Server writes that servers will take a vicodin, to get through a shift, waitinh on customers being high as a kite. For me painkillers make the pain recede, there is no happy feeling as if I’ve had a few pints. One doctor who was given a painkiller echoes my sentiments.

Why am I writing this? Drug seekers terrify me and the longer that I am on painkillers the more worried I am about dependency. My next door neighbour during my last hospitalization was a real handful. He had done drugs in his youth and no painkiller, at least in the proper weight/drug ratio, seemed to work for him (I don’t think confidentiality is being broken since he was screaming at the top of his lungs and everybody heard). Apparently he had fentanyl patches at home and the IV painkillers he was getting weren’t cutting it. I remember waking up at around 2 in the morning to him screaming about being held against his will. He was extremely combative, belligerent, ignoring and threatening the nurses.

Dude: You can’t hold me against my will!

Nurse: You are not being held against your will. You are at Kaiser and if you wish to leave we can arrange that.

Dude tries to take out his IV

Nurse: Sir you need to keep that IV in.

Dude: It ain’t doing shit, you can’t keep me!!

Nurse: Sir you need to calm down, we can call the doctor if you like…

This exchange went on for awhile and he continued to be belligerent for the rest of the night. Earlier that day there was a commotion, he had ignored the instructions to call for a nurse to escort him back into bed after using the bathroom. His wife tried to talk to him but he bitched/screamed that it was taking to long and so he got up and ended up falling on the floor, I heard the thud. This was a huge guy who just had his leg amputated it took a transport team of 6 burly men to pick this guy up.

Finally his medication was switched or was amped up because he became cooperative but at the same time even louder. Like when drunks experience “hearing loss” and start yelling. This bloke scared the crap out of me and I never saw him, I just heard him. I don’t want to become him.

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3 thoughts on “Pain Control and Drug Seeking

  1. I am scared of heavy pain medications, too. After being on morphine several times for major surgeries, I am still at a loss why anyone would want to feel that way on purpose. (my sweet man and my mother were both relieved when I was taken away from my morphine pump after my last stint in the hospital!) It helped with the pain, but I hate that floaty weird feeling. I have several perscriptions in my cupboard for my back…stuff I have to sign for at the Army hospital…stuff I just cannot take when living alone. So, I have it “just in case” and generally try to get by on Extra Strength Tylenol…and excercise.

    I’m glad you do take what you need, but I understand the concern. You may need to wean yourself off when it’s time and not just stop “cold turkey” (sorry…don’t mean to make you feel like a junky…but you know what I mean.)

  2. Ever see flashing lights from a Cop Car in your rear view mirror and for a split second think you’re going to be pulled over?

    It’s this type of fear that I have with pain medication. I’m afraid that by taking pain medication, even if it’s warranted, that I will be labeled as an addict/junkie/drug seeker

  3. thank you very much! that man was a very interesting fellow. His name was ‘Brother Ray’ and he collected all of those jesus stickers from christian bookstores around the U.S. He was very kind and warm hearted.

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