A few weeks back I posted about what a pain doctors can be. Well nothing has changed. The pain continues. The first post came after an appointment in December with my pain specialist. A doctor who seems to be preoccupied. I have no idea what he is preoccupied with, but I do know it isn’t relieving my pain.
That last visit I asked if I could be restarted on a medication that is similar to Lyrica. It is supposed to help lessen pain and hopefully make the need for narcotic pain meds unnecessary. I had been on this medicine recently but stopped taking it when I started feeling awful. I was dealing with a lot of heavy gravity days both mentally and physically. Heavy gravity days are those days when it feels like the earth has extra pull and everything and anything I do takes more energy than I have.
I usually only experience heavy gravity days when my heart failure is getting congested, but once I had heavy gravity days so bad that I thought I was becoming a black hole. It was from taking a medication similar to Lyrica. I was so sick I ended up in the hospital. I was physically and mentally totally wiped out and had no interest in being alive. That wasn’t healthy so they put me in the hospital and got me off the medicine and brought me back to my normal slowly disintegrating state. So when I thought I felt the same thing happening I chickened out and stopped taking the med. Now I think it was a mistake. After stopping I still wasn’t feeling well and I am sure some other evil was involved.
Prior to stopping the med I do think it was starting to work. I was taking less of my pain meds and feeling better in many ways. I jumped the gun on this med and should have ridden it out some to see how it would play out. Unfortunately I was scared because of how I ended up when I was taking that medicine similar to Lyrica.
So on my visit I asked to try this medicine again. Of course my visit this time wasn’t with the doctor, but with a nurse practitioner whose job, I think, is to check if the pain patients look like they are following their regiment right, not abusing the meds, and then doling out another prescription. It seems anything deeper than that is asking too much. So when I did ask for more than that she looked quite displeased.
It took me a little while to convince her it would be alright if I tried that medicine again. I explained that my pain has grown considerably and though I am taking a relatively low dose of narcotic medicines I can’t really increase them because of my cardiac situation. I told her that I believed I had started to get some relief from this other medicine before I stopped it. I told her my fear of ending up in the hospital drove me to stop taking it. She looked at me as if I was covered in crap and I was demanding to sit on her lap to tell her the rest of my story.
It gets frustrating to feel that the people who are being paid to care for me are disinterested and prefer not to be bothered with my problems and knowing that my PCP would prefer that I make it work somehow. I’m not saying all my caregivers are like this. Matter of fact this is the first doctor’s practice I have run into like this and considering I was born with major heart defects in 1962 and have seen scores of doctors since, this office really stands out.
I also don’t want to paint my PCP with that same brush I have been with him for a long time and he has helped me fight many diseases and has been there for me the whole time. One of my problems is I have so many complications that some of these doctors are frustrated from treating me. And when I’m wiped out and have no resolve I think bad thoughts. More than once I have been in an appointment with a doc who I think is thinking why doesn’t he just die, for the love of God. I’m sure they don’t really think that, but when I’m running on empty I’m about as positive as the national budget.
Back to my appointment. After much negotiating the nurse practitioner and I came up with a plan to restart this medicine and how she wanted me to dose up. After that she moved back to comfortable waters and gave me my pain med prescription. She was so more relaxed when we got back to the things she wanted to deal with. I think she wanted me to feel guilty about making such great demands on her by asking her about a medicine that might help me, but I refused to go their, thank God the gravity level was about normal that day or I wouldn’t have had the strength to get that done. Is that what the intimidation some medical personal use is all about. To keep us tired, sick, unhealthy people from making any demands on their time.
So I walked away from the office with hope in my hands. Possibly I might get relief from this awful pain and get away from those mind numbing narcotics. Off to the pharmacy I went. I dropped off my scripts and went about mu business wasting time until the prescriptions would be ready to pick up. It’s amazing how much time I spend at doctor’s offices, hospitals, and pharmacies. If I could get paid for it I might be dictating this post.
When I got back to the pharmacy I was told that they had given me my pain medicine prescription too soon and they couldn’t fill it until Sunday and it was Friday. That was fine with me, I had plenty of medicine left, so no problem. They gave me back the prescription and told me to bring it back on Sunday. They aren’t allowed to keep those type of prescriptions for patients, who knows what those crazy pharmacist would do with other people’s narcotic prescriptions. The next thing you know is they’ll have access to every medicine in the pharmacy. This unexpected turn did cause some pain as I’ll explain momentarily.
The second prescription, the one for the new medicine that I was going to restart also turned out to be a problem. When the pharmacist saw the orders on the prescription, orders that had me slowly stepping up the dose, not the maintenance dose they thought I needed, they questioned how the script was written. So they called the doctor’s office and the fine folks at the office agreed and told the pharmacist not to fill the prescription and that they would fax over a new one. I had been off this medicine for several months. The prescription as written was exactly what we wanted.
The nurse practitioner and I agreed that we had to start over and follow the slow dosing increases new patients use. She wrote it that way on the prescription and in her notes, but when the pharmacist called the medical assistant that took the call either took the pharmacists orders over her own boss’ or didn’t even look at her boss’ notes. Either way the pharmacist was under the impression that the prescription he had was wrong and he couldn’t fill it until it was corrected.
The pharmacist told me a new prescription was being faxed and I could probably pick it up the next day. This is where my screw up comes in. While I was waiting for the prescriptions to be filled I went to the store. When I went back to the pharmacy I got the bad news about my two scripts, but I wasn’t going home empty-handed. I have twenty-one medicines I take each day. Some once, some twice, some three times, and even one I take four or five times a day. So no matter why I go to the pharmacy I usually take home some medicine.
That day I took home four prescriptions plus my unfilled pain med script. When I got home I put away my groceries, emptied the trash, and decided to go to the dump. Part of my marital duties. When I got back from the dump I looked for the pain med script to put it away and then a light went on. I would not be finding that script. It was in the Rite Aid bag that I always throw away after putting my meds away, but not in the trash can. That had been emptied and brought to the dump.
I had to call the doctor’s office that wanted nothing to do with me to tell them I threw my prescription away. Not any prescription. A narcotic pain prescription. A big red flag for all pain med docs. Thankfully, for the three plus years that I have had to use these meds I have always taken them as ordered and had never had a problem before. So the problem wasn’t trust, but there definitely was a problem.
It was Thursday and they didn’t think they would get to it that day. They told me to call on Friday and they would try. I was a little worried because I was going to run out by Sunday and I have a hard enough time with the pain while taking pain meds. I didn’t want to face not having any to take.
My main concern was that in this office if it wasn’t routine it wasn’t going to get done. I’ve seen dysfunctional people and families, but never, until dealing with this office, had I seen a whole doctors practice that could benefit from an intervention by Dr. Phil. So Friday I called and with hope fading quicker than the sun in December I got exactly what I expected. I was told no one was around to fill the prescription they said maybe on Monday.
Not great new, but expected. I called my PCP’s office and explained what happened and they got it filled in less than an hour so off to the pharmacy I went. The prescription got filled and I asked if the other office had sent over another script for my new med. The answer was no, and down the street I went.
Monday I called about the new med again. They told me that the providers were only physically in the office on Thursdays so they probably won’t be able to do anything. So I waited till Thursday and called again. This is where they thoroughly amazed me.
Me, “It’s Thursday do you think I could get that prescription done?”
Medical assistant, “Thursdays are the days the Doctors see patients. They are very busy. So they may not get to it.”
Me, “They are not there any other days and on Thursday they are too busy to deal with this stuff. What day would you like me to try then?”
Medical assistant “We will get to it as soon as we can.”
Me, “It’s been over two weeks already.”
Medical assistant, “I don’t know if we’ll get to it today, but we will get to it.”
Me, “I would expect nothing more from your practice.”
Medical assistant, “Have a nice day.” and she hung up.
I felt so confident that I was thinking of running right over to Rite Aid to see if it was there but I controlled that urge and set about waiting. On Saturday when I went back to Rite Aid, home away from home, to pick up another prescription I was told that the new one was there. They hadn’t even called me to let me know.
On Monday I called my PCP and asked him for a new pain management doctor. The new doctor’s office called me that day and set up an appointment. It’s not till February, but the response was so quick that I feel confident this will be a good thing. Like I said earlier I’ve had a lot of doctors since 1962. I know the number is closer to a hundred than zero and out of all those doctors I had only fired one until last week. Doctors are a pain, but this one won’t be adding any more suffering to my life.