Chronic Pain & Narcotics
Sorry about the delay once again in getting a post up but last month was crazy as we tried to get back to life as normal. The kids were back in school along with all the other things that come with being a parent. It’s pushed my body to the max with my CRPS and so I just didn’t put anything together for the blog. The past week or two I’ve also been dealing with a cold that doesn’t want to go away. This time of year is hard for anyone dealing with chronic illness. Why? Most of us deal with immune systems that are compromised and so we catch anything and everything that’s going around! As you read through my latest post also enjoy some more of my pictures
Today I wanted to talk about something that I’ve been talking about a lot in recent weeks in my chronic pain circles. It has to do with the medications we take and the stigma around those of us who take narcotics and other prescription drugs. It’s a subject that walks a really fine line and I can see argument on both the patient side and the health systems side. A very high percentage of patients who suffer from chronic illness are talking narcotics as part of pain management programs designed by either their doctor or specialist. A vast majority of these patients will be on these medications for most of their life, unless a cure is found for the specific illness they suffer from. As a result patients will then have to visit the Dr. on a regular basis to refill their perscriptions. In Canada in the province that I live, my doctor is required by law to refill my perscriptions every 30 days when I am on my last dose. He is not allowed to write a perscription for any longer or any sooner for that matter.
With doctors booking several weeks out it can be a big problem to refill your perscriptions. For the most part I can schedule my appointments one month out, but occasionally for various reasons I’m forced to cancel. The problem comes in that I often have to fight with the office in order to try and get back in to renew my prescriptions. As with most narcotics if you miss even one dose, your body can start showing symptoms of withdraw. With all my other medications my physician can write my prescriptions for three months and then follow up with me. Why not the narcotics as well? I understand all the laws and regulations that the doctors have to follow, and not for a minute do I blame them because they are doing what the law and Board of Physicans requires of them. This is where the governing bodies that make all laws and regulations that physicians have to adhere to, need to listen to the patient and regulate with the chronically ill patient in mind. I’m not saying that we don’t have to have strict regulations for narcotics because we do. In order to prevent abuse of prescription drugs we absolutely do. However there needs to be a better process for those of us who are taking narcotics or other prescription drugs long term.
Patients suffering from a chronic illness also face the constant stigma of being made to feel as though they are addicts. If you took a survey of chronically ill patients and asked them about their experiences when it comes to refilling their perscriptions, I’m sure they’d tell you that that they were made to feel as if they were an addict. I realize that this is more of an issue of how the physician treats the patient, but the regulations around the refilling of prescriptions don’t help. I’ve been on my meds for ten years and will be for the rest of my life unless they find a cure for CRPS. What I would give to not have to take a handful of pills every day! I don’t need to add to all I’m going through by being made out to feel as if I am an addict. Not that my physician is like that because he isn’t but I speak for all the others that are being made to feel that way. In order to have quality of life and to be able to function my body is dependant upon a carefully designed pain management plan that uses narcotics and other perscription drugs.
My question is this! Can the patient be monitered in such a way that they don’t feel as if they are labelled the minute they walk into the physicians office?