A Rant: Pain meds and health care professionals!

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New Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 5/13/2010 4:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Everyone,
I was diagnosed with fibro in 2007, and in 2008 after trying cyclobenzaprine, gabapentin, lyrica, SSRIs, tramadol, guaifenasen, alprazolam, lorazepam, NSAIDs, and prolly a few other things I can't remember I got dry socket after a wisdom tooth extraction and was given hydrocodone (generic vicodin) by my dentist. It kept the dry socket pain bearable but I found that it also wiped out my flu-like aches and extreme fatigue. I was narcoleptic at the time and it kept me awake which was crucial because I kept falling asleep at work and behind the wheel! I relayed this information to my doc (internist) and she told me that I was "too young" to be on a maintenance narcotic. Okay. So, after two weeks of feeling better than I had in years, I had myself a good cry and went back to being the co-worker that everyone was laughing at because she would fall asleep standing up mid-sentence.

8 months later, I was busy doing our yearly spring inspections which included 8-10 hour drives to inspection sites and long days doing fish necropsies (think extreme repetitive motion) outside in wintry Northern Wisconsin and Michigan. I told my boss I couldn't drive anymore (because I was eventually going to have a crash due to the narcolepsy) and she got angry with me because that meant my co-worker would have to do all the driving. I was barely making it through the days the pain and cold were pushing me to tears. I relayed this info to my doc and told her I was worried I would lose my job. She wrote the script for the hydrocodone and I found work a hell of a lot more bearable. Unfortunately it was already too late to save my job.

After a while the side effects of the hydrocodone (mainly gastro intestinal) became another physical hardship in and of themselves. But everyone responds to pain meds differently, and everyone who suffers from chronic pain deserves to try all treatments available to see what works for them. Yes, there are a lot of reasons why doctors don't want to prescribe certain meds. But unless you have a history of narcotic abuse or liver problems, your doctor has a responsibility to give you a chance with opioids, because of their unique biophysical effects and the fact that they have been shown to be effective for many people with chronic pain, including those with fibromyalgia. When a doctor withholds even just a trial treatment from a patient you have to ask yourself why. Do they think that if they let you try them and you start asking for more and more they won't be able to say no? Do they think that if they say no you'll look to the black market for a supply? Do they think you'll sell your pills? Do they think you'll overdose? And if the answer to any of those questions is yes; then how well does your doctor know you?

I believe that any doctor who will deny a fibro patient in pain a trial of a narcotic without a good reason doesn't really understand fibromyalgia. Because if they did, they would understand that the pain is REAL (like the real pain of Lupus, MS, Arthritis etc.) and that not treating because there is a risk assumes that you are not ALREADY miserable. If they understood how miserable you felt then they should understand that you are willing to take some risks in order to possibly feel better!! What harm can a trial do? If you have a bad reaction then you discontinue and try something else; simple.

I think we need to be more honest with our health care providers. If you are so miserable that you are crying or having breakdowns often; tell them. Don't put on a happy face for them or focus on the positive when you're with them; it's their job to help you deal with the negative. If you break down crying in the examining room and firmly but respectfully say that you feel like there is no relief from your suffering they will be faced with a choice. If they think that it's "all in your head' or you're "doing it for attention", they will have to say or do something to that effect and then you will know why they've been playing games with you. If they just didn't know how poorly you've been feeling they'll get a wake up a call, and if they're a good doctor they'll do something about it. Maybe they'll suggest something you don't really think will work; but if you do it and it doesn't work then they should suggest the next thing (or even be open to trying your suggestions) and so on until the two of you have exhausted your options. If you've tried everything that's available and nothing works then they should begin helping you to live a life that includes unalleviated suffering. This may mean writing letters to your boss, helping you get Family Medical Leave Act paperwork in your file, helping you afford your prescriptions, helping you get a good therapist that specializes in helping people with chronic pain, and helping you get on disability if that's what you need. It's what they do for everyone else with chronic disease, and it's what we deserve if we are not to be driven crazy or suicidal.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 71
   Posted 5/13/2010 4:25 PM (GMT -6)   
WOW!!!  Awesomely well said!!!  I am going to print your post and keep it in my fibro folder.  I haven't run into any problems with meds yet, but it could happen.  Thank you for posting!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 906
   Posted 5/13/2010 4:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Sorry you had to go through so much. I've had fibro for 25 years and have tried every pain med. I took hydrocodone for over a month and I might as well have popped m&ms. Fibro is different in every person.
Fibromyalgia since 1984, Sjogren's, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Auto-immune eczema, GERD, osteoarthritis, IBS, RLS, sleep apnea

New Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 5/13/2010 5:21 PM (GMT -6)   
happy cat thanks! i did feel rather empowered after i wrote that (typing one handed sorry no caps). reddiane well put, it is different for everyone, which is why we need to keep trying until we find something that works, even if its only temporary. my sister (who also has FM) said the same thing about hydrocodone. did nothing, but apparently codine works well for her migraines. you have quite the impressive list of diagnoses, my heart goes out to you. did it start with the fibro? do your doctors have any idea why you have so many different diseases? i'm interested in hearing your story if you'd like to share.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17059
   Posted 5/13/2010 5:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, and welcome!  I spoke with my doctor about pain meds before and he said that you can build up tolerances to them and need more and more.  Then there is the possibility of addiction.  This has happened to people who never had a drug problem previously.  So, they are kind of caught between a rock and a hard place, too.  They can't just whip out the prescription pad.  They have strict rules to follow, too.  I have Vicodin for breakthrough pain. 
Tramadol is an opioid type medication and it didn't work for you.  It didn't work for me, either.  It just knocked me out!
Anyway, I figured there has to be things out there that I can help myself with without taking the powerful pain meds.  I've learned that we are deficient in certain vitamins and nutrients and so that is the route I have taken...along with ibuprofen and Tylenol.  I do have pain but I'm in control of it.  
Be sure to check out Fibro 101...the second thread on the forum.  There are links to good info about fibro and also links about malic acid/magnesium and vitamin D.  These have helped me a lot.
Gentle exercises and stretching exercises have helped me a lot to.  It really lessens the pain.  I walk and swim for my exercises.
I'm sorry you are having all of these problems but keep searching.  You will find what will help  you control the pain.
I'm so glad you found us and joined our family.  I hope to hear more from you soon.
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 5927
   Posted 5/13/2010 7:01 PM (GMT -6)   
blubyrd, well put indeed!  We have been conditioned since childhood to believe that doctors are these wise, benevolent people with big brains.  Not necessarily!  And we are paying them, not the other way around!  I still have to remind myself of that.  Things are changing, but not fast enough. 
    Diagnosed: Fibromyalgia, possible Meniere's, elevated liver enzymes, skin grafting on back, arthritis, scoliosis, lumbar disc damage, sciatica, IBS, migraine headaches, tachycardia, skin cancer surgeries on face
    Meds: Nortriptyline, Clonazepam, Darvocet as needed
    Multivitamins, l-lysine, probiotics, magnesium, malic acid, calcium + vit. D, vit. C
    Chiropractic adjustments
Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 4796
   Posted 5/14/2010 4:43 AM (GMT -6)   
I agree that it is very important to be open and honest with our doctor. Over the years I
have become proactive in my care. I read up on testing and procedures. I have questioned
my doctor's reasoning on some issues and have had some heated discussions with him.
He knows that I'm a questioner. I do like him because he does listen and does explain.

Because of bad past experiances with other doctors I feel I need to always check things out.
I have learned not all doctors are good doctors and they need to earn my trust. I am not a
number but a patient. It is a doctor's duty to take their time with me, not to rush, give me
their full attention.

It is important that we speak up and let our needs be known. Perhaps if we all did, the days
of overbooking appointments would be over. I still remember the days when doctors
made housecalls. What happened to our healthcare system?

Hugs, Robin
Fibromyalgia, MCTD (Lupus, Scleroderma & RA) Raynaud's, Osteoporosis,
Osteoarthritis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Migraines, and Hypertension
Prescription Meds: Savella, Cyclobenzaprine, Methotrexate, Diltiazem, Boniva,
Folic Acid.  OTC Meds: Multi-vitamin. Vit, D, Vitamin B12 & calciim supplements

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 384
   Posted 5/14/2010 7:18 AM (GMT -6)   
I wish I could get my hands on some real pain meds. Nothing helps me.
I struggle with FM,Raynauds Syndrome,gastroparesis, IBS and depression. I trust in God with all things. Been a tough journey and it's not getting any easier but thanks to God and my family I am not alone.

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