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Posted By : rehabnurse - 9/8/2007 4:14 PM

I chose not to do a poll here, as I want to hear your actual reply in a post. I am wondering if there are any people out there who must take "stronger" pain meds (and by that, I mean C-II meds: Morphine, Oxycontin, Fentanyl, etc) on a routine basis and still work?? I also am interested in people who take C-III meds (like Vicodin, Norco, Oxycodone IR, MSIR, etc) and who are still able to work.

The reason I am asking is because some of my docs are saying I am too young to qualify for disability (only 30) but I have to take morphine every 6 hours for a serious back injury, and no one will hire a nurse on such medications (nor could I work for 12 hours lifting patients, sitting, etc). Even if I didn't have the meds, there is no way I could do the job of a nurse anymore. I am getting the lecture that "lots of people take strong narcotics for pain and STILL work, so you should be able to as well".

Any input will be much appreciated.

Posted By : alwayshurtin - 9/8/2007 5:04 PM
I am on Oxycontin and Oxy IR and am able to work, but I am in the process of looking for a job. I've been on the meds for 2 years and it is questionable wether I was actually "able" to work when I started the meds. I could't think straight and I was foggy. Now I am adjusted to them and it is much easier to work. Good luch and take it slow.

Posted By : sissyrn - 9/8/2007 9:21 PM
Dear Rehabnurse,
I too am a nurse and found that due to an injury, surgery and other diagnosis cannot "hands on" nurse anymore. But I am able to do case management which continues to use what little brains I have left (lol). I am on Norco 6x's a day and she just tried me on a compounded med called Opana. Unfortunately the Opana is not working and I may have to go to something stronger. I have fought having to take extended release drugs due to my own personal issues related to my custody. My job has not been the problem. All you have to do is when you have an urine test for a job, tell them what medications you are on. As long as you have a MD signed prescription, they cannot discriminate. I am not sure if you were working during your injury and was able to use short term disability and/or long term disability, but you should be able to get disability at any age. Consult a lawyer about disability.
However on a personal note, I found that my depression increased being at home. I find that when my "mind" is busy I am able to do better physically. Don't get me wrong, I am still taking my meds (couldn't sit in front of a computer for 8 hours otherwise), however it makes me still feel like a productive member of society. Your doctor and your own body will tell you what you can do. Just this year with everything going on physically and personally with my custody, I took 4 months off (I happen to have a great support system with my parents, brothers and sisters and friends).
I hope this helped and please email me back. I can truly understand what it is like to go to school all those years and not be able to work at something you love.
Good Luck


Systemic Strep 1996 (The START of it all)
Epstein Barr 1997 (The Fatigue set in)
Fibromyalgia 1999 (But feels like forever)
Hypertension 2000 (When my husband became my ex)
Diabetes 2005 (Just too sweet for words)
Neck fusion 2006 (diagnosed with spinal cord compression
disc and spine degeneration) Ran my neck
into furniture.
Osteoporosis 2007 (Sally Fields and I both on Actonel)

Opana (new), Zanaflex, Ziac, Norco, Cymbalta, Glumetza, Amaryl

That which does not kill us, surely makes us stronger.

Posted By : Yanniberg - 9/8/2007 10:03 PM
been a while since i have been on here, however i have had no issues doing any physical jobs while on oxycontin, methadone, duragesic. however it seems that any sit down job i have had, i just became very sleepy, and then difficult to focus. after a while i have had no problems with doing any jobs since sit down, or up and active. i hope all goes well for you.

Posted By : KREF - 9/9/2007 12:05 AM
I am on the duragesic patch 75's and work a 10-12 hour shift, standing the whole time, actually that is the reason I take the med's so I can still work, have to support my family, so I dont have time to worry about wheather I can or can't I just do. I am a machinist.

Diagnosed with DDD, Tarsal Tunnel, 3 Herniated discs, Arthritis in hands. Asthma, Hypertension, Diabetes.
Currently on 75 mcg Duragesic Patch, Neurontin 4800 mg daily, Relafen 1500mg daily, Lexapro, and have SCS unit for leg pain.
             PAIN SUCKS :(

Posted By : extreme - 9/9/2007 12:12 AM
Hi, I worked on Vicodin for a couple of years, then as I developed a tolerance I needed to increase to a more powerful opiate, Fentanyl, and was still able to work. I had no side effects from Vicodin that effected my work. With the Fentanyl I would sometimes get sleepy in meetings where they would dim the lights for presentations.

I'm not sure what you're getting at. That the pain meds themselves would (or do) effect how you work, or that the meds don't control the pain well enough to work? Remember, when a person in chronic severe pain takes a strong opiate, it doesn't make that person "high", it just makes them feel more "normal". The pain med itself doesn't make *me* unable to work at all but its ability to control the pain symptoms is sometimes a little borderline.

I hope this helps. I also just want to throw in that, in my opinion your age has nothing to do with any of this....30 is young but not to a 19 year old, and pain is pain whether you're 30 or 50.

Posted By : whitfield - 9/9/2007 8:16 AM
I personally do not work anymore, although I wish I could--I DO have a close friend that is taking Avinza (Morphine based) and DOES work at a full time job and even has a company vehicle--So, I guess it depends on the reason you take pain medicine and whether or not you feel you can do a specific job.  Some days I know I could work and contribute to society and some days I know I could not--So, what type of employer will tolerate that?
Just my 2 cents--Good luck with your poll---whitfield

Posted By : sissyrn - 9/9/2007 9:56 AM
Whitfield and others,
I am able to do a job SITTING only. I have thought many times if I could take disability some of my other stressors would be gone. Between long term disability and social security disability, I would almost have the same money I am MAKING now working 40 hrs a week without any of the hassle or pain. At 40 years old I am tired already. However I feel depressed when I am not working. That does not mean if you are not working that you are not a productive member of society. There are other things you can do. I had a person that was a volunteer at the hospital I worked in that was on disability. But he would come every week to read to the patients. He could see but had mobility problems. Also plenty people I know who are on disability have been able to help their children and grandchildren by taking care of kids etc. I hope that I did not sound as if I was judging anyone. I know better than anyone what is like to be judged by your illnesses or diseases. The world judges people if they take pain medicine (I guess we are addicts right??) or if we have problems (we must be lazy). I liked what Extreme said about how the pain meds work. We just feel almost normal if we take them; how everyone else feels on a good day.
I hope you understand Rehabnurse that being on pain meds is not how most of us would like to work. However you can use what experience you have and pick an alternative job (case management, liason for your company etc.) and continue to work if you want and can tolerate it.
Good luck to all


Systemic Strep 1996 (The START of it all)
Epstein Barr 1997 (The Fatigue set in)
Fibromyalgia 1999 (But feels like forever)
Hypertension 2000 (When my husband became my ex)
Diabetes 2005 (Just too sweet for words)
Neck fusion 2006 (diagnosed with spinal cord compression
disc and spine degeneration) Ran my neck
into furniture.
Osteoporosis 2007 (Sally Fields and I both on Actonel)

Opana (new), Zanaflex, Ziac, Norco, Cymbalta, Glumetza, Amaryl

That which does not kill us, surely makes us stronger.

Posted By : Chutz - 9/9/2007 2:57 PM
Hi all,

Interesting and encouraging answers. I teach part time college so basically it's a "desk" job, although I'm on my feet the entire 3 hours my class lasts. I have done two 3-hour classes back to back and it just about does me in. Then go home and for each class I grade papers for 2 or more hours. I'm on oxycontin and percocet 24/7 for the last couple of years.


Co-Mod Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, collapsed disk, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteo arthritis in spine and other locations.

The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits. Albert Einstein: (1879-1955)

Posted By : rehabnurse - 9/9/2007 11:56 PM
My problem is:

In my state, working while on a narcotic means you are IMPAIRED and grounds for losing your license. I worked too darn hard and for too many years to lose my license. My Board Of Nursing has this on their Practice Act for a reason. THe BON is a little ancient in the times when it comes to pain management and chronic pain, but that still means I don't want to lose my hard-earned license. And I totally understand the whole "tolerance", "dependence" thing.

I can not do floor nursing anymore, due to the understaffing and the lifting, but I perhaps could do a part time telephone triage or something similar, the only problem is, I cannot drive.

My pain has been increasingly worse, and I need to change positions every few minutes. I never sleep, I have difficulty focusing due to pain.

It will be another 3 plus months before I can ever work again, due to being on chemo the past year. I have a million things going on in my life that affect me every day, and I am only trying to find out if anyone out there could still handle working. I am in the middle of a nasty divorce with a lazy, low-life who doesn't ever pay child support, and I am broke, and all I want is to figure out how I am going to support my 5 and 6 year old when my cancer is in remission.

I shouldn't have asked, I am sorry.

Posted By : rehabnurse - 9/10/2007 12:05 AM
sissy rn, if you would like to talk to me offline, please email me. i would like to talk to another nurse. thanks.

Posted By : baseballmomof3 - 9/10/2007 10:03 AM
Hi RehabNurse:  Here is a thought - through the hospital where I work, we have a Nurse Advice Line - a telephone number where parents can call and ask questions.  The nurse (who is very scripted) answers the questions and then suggests to that parent either to try to treat the child at home or to bring the child to the ER.  about 1/2 (I think the number is 1/2) of the nurses have computers and software at home and a phone line and they actually work from their home.  The only catch is that you have to work at the call center for awhile before getting the computer, etc. at home; however, mayber there are other places like that in your area that don't have that requirement.
Just a thought.  Hope you are doing well.  How is the Cymbalta and Lyrica working (I think I read on a post that you had switched to those meds)?  I have been worried about you - just know you are being thought about.

DX:  Migraines since June, 2006, kidney stones
RX:  Daily - Verapamil, Trileptal
PRN:  Relpax, Prednisone, Dilaudid, Lortab, Lidocaine Nasal Spray

Posted By : mexximelt - 9/10/2007 10:45 AM
ReHabNurse, If I have this right you suffer cronic pain, you just went through chemo, you raise 2 small children while going through a divorce with no child support? And through all this you take the time to share your medical knowledge and loving support with all of us?

Well, you are truly amazing and we are lucky to have you.

Posted By : Circa1988 - 9/10/2007 12:15 PM
Does anyone know about rules on being a practicing physician and being on narcotics, becasue that is what I am planning on doing and their is currently no end in sight to my pain and I am on methadone and dilaudid for breakthrough pain. I am also considering being a pharmacist, so if anyone knows about rules with that, that would be great too.

Posted By : baseballmomof3 - 9/10/2007 1:22 PM

RehabNurse:  Ditto what Mexximelt said.  You are awesome.  Most  people that have gone through all that you have would have jumped off a bridge.  You are also so wonderful in sharing all you can with all of us here.  Thank you!


DX:  Migraines since June, 2006, kidney stones
RX:  Daily - Verapamil, Trileptal
PRN:  Relpax, Prednisone, Dilaudid, Lortab, Lidocaine Nasal Spray

Posted By : straydog - 9/10/2007 6:07 PM
I wanted to add my 2 cents here too. I think Rehab is one great lady and yes we are lucky to have her with us. Anyone who has endured what this lady has and has kept her sanity, I just don't know how. One thing I do know, she is a very strong willed person.


Posted By : rehabnurse - 9/12/2007 11:01 PM
thank you guys who think i am a nice lady. wow, it's been a long, loooooong, time since i've heard some comments like that. so long in fact, i don't remember the last time someone gave me a compliment like i've gotten from my friends here. i truly think that no one can understand what chronic pain does to a person, until they live it. i wish that EVERYONE could live a week in our shoes, so that they would be more compassionate. I especially think nurses and doctors should have to sit in an ER and be labeled a "drug seeker" and be denied pain medicine so they know how we feel when we are treated badly by some not-so-nice health care workers. i know that sounds cruel, but that's how i feel.

i just am not sure what is going to happen to me. i have tried to find support. i have contacted every charitable organization in the world it seems, all with no results. i applied for welfare, and was denied. i applied for food stamps, and was denied. how can a mom to two young children, with NO INCOME, and no supporting spouse be DENIED food stamps?? am i supposed to eat out of the garbage can? i don't even have a car to live it. once the house is foreclosed on (a few more days) i am homeless.

i just don't know how i am going to ever get back on my feet. my credit is shot, i mean, my life is one big &#*%(*% mess. oh, how did i ever end up here? i just don't understand how all this can happen is such short period of time. what did i ever do to deserve this? i sure would like to know that.

but thank you to all of you that have been so kind to me, i really appreciate it. i haven't heard such nice words in a long, long time.

DX: DDD, DJD, HNP L2-S1, OA, OP, intractable pain, severe asthma, COPD, migraines, endometriosis, uterine ca, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, chronic epstien-barr virus, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, PTSD, avoidant personality disorder, social phobia, SLE, connective tissue disorder

MEDS: MS Contin 100mg q 6; MSIR 30mg q 6 PRN; Celebrex 200mg QD; Actiq 600mcg q 6 PRN; Lamactil 25mg BID; Klonopin 0.5mg BID, Cymbalta 60mg QD;
Ventolin 2 puffs q 6; Advair 500/50 one puff q 12, Multivitamin

Posted By : razzle51 - 9/13/2007 3:41 PM
I take the Methadone and Tramadol . I dont work but I function quite well . Drive and keep the house up

Syringomyelia T4-T10
Chiari Malformation
Decompression Surgery 1999


Posted By : tyler's granny - 9/13/2007 9:15 PM
i just wanted to drop you a line and just tell you my prayer's and thoughts are with you.i have read your post and you have been through so much and i truely think you are a remarkable person.all you are going through and you have always taken the time to stop and help others with your words of wisdom .i truely do feel for you,and hope and pray very soon things will start to look up for you.keep your chin up and know many are praying for you . sorry i could not answer your question as i am not working just felt  the need to send some kind words your way.
tyler's granny

Posted By : Pete trips again! - 9/14/2007 8:37 AM
Don't give up! Please don't, you have to beleive in yourself for your children. Keep up the fight and keep trying. keep calling Social Services, free legal aid, re-apply for the aid you've already tried to get. You just can't give up. I don't mean to come off as a jerk by saying this. God knows you have alot on your plate, but if you keep at it, something good will happen.
I can't say I have been any where close to what you are going through but I do know about giving up. I stopped working after a cancer surgery for about a year and a half. My depression and cronic pain just got worse the more time I spent idle at home. I didn't think I could ever work again and contimplated SS disability. I was taking methadone & oxycodine and a handfull of other crap. I could hardly walk and was using crutches to get around. Then after going on a cancer retreat and spending some time with others who had thing a lot worse than I did, I realized that life is pressious and I was waisting mine. I got a job, went back to work continuing to take my meds and did things I never would have believed I could do! 3 years later, I still have "bad days" but I still take my meds (I couldn't work w/o them!) but I feel so much better physically, mentally & spirirually. I beleive people like us have to keep busy, when we don't, thats when we get in trouble.
This is just my opinion and I hope I haven't offended you or any others here. I saw your post and just had to write. God bless you little sister, my prayers are with you!!!
Your friend,

54 years old, Surgury, Radical Prostatectomy 8/20/03, PSA 6.6, Gleason 3 + 3 = 6, Adenocarcinoma extent (moderate) Stage & Margin:T2NOMX, No Metastases, Organ Confined, bone scan: Neg. Testosterone Theropy since 12/06. I am's what I am and that's all that I am!!! 

Posted By : kttn251977 - 9/15/2007 10:02 PM
Rehabnurse- I am 30 also. So I think you and I have a lot in common. I have been having "back aches" for as far as in high school I always thought it was sports... then fast forward I was a bartneder. Three years ago the back pain became unbearable... the dr's I had at that point were accusing me of pill seeking- even though in the MRI you could see the vertabre BROKEN IN HALF! Fast forward 1.5 years ago I moved to FL and have a MUCH better relationship with my PM dr. After being on darvocets, percocets, percodan, flexral (ha ha), soma, avenza, kadian, duragesic, norco, soma, methadone... on and on.... you get the idea. I obviously quite bartending for a "desk job". Now, there are days I have tears swimming in my eyes from the pain. I have been to work with all of the above meds and as one person said earlier- what I take would knock a normal human out- I am so tolerant to everything- it is quite depressing. Well, anyhow I was out on MIP last month (short term) and seriously considered going on permanent disablity. I just hate getting out of bed, I hate the days I have to go without eating to have a BT med work to tolerate sitting at my desk. My employers are great and quite sympathetic- they let me move my schedule around on the days I just can't get out of bed. Well, I did call over 10 different lawyers to seek help for disablity. Here's the problem. And you know what I am going to say... No one will approve me for disablity- even though the problems I have do qualify- because of my age & I have an education. Exact words from all of them. Try in about 10 years. I'm being punished because I have an associates degree. Well, I keep plugging along with things. There is nothing else I can do. I am blessed I don't have something worse going on. But between us, I can tell you my routine. Wake up and take all my meds including the ER meds- go to work (around noon- I can't get up any earlier) once I get to work I turn on my fan at my desk, grab a bottle of water and take 1 soma and 2 norco's (or percocets- which ever is the flavor of the month) and work the first few hours- take another norco through the halfway point and something small to eat- talking an ice cream or cup of soup. Finish the day and take my meds before I begin my 20 min drive home so they start to kick in when I arrive home. I rarely get that "fuzzy" feel because I have so much pain sitting in my chair. I keep an ice pack in my drawer. I know I will be there at least 8 hours without driving so I know it is OK to take that much meds there. So yes, I work and drive normally on these meds. I wish you the best of luck with what you are going through. I know what you are going through- my best friend is a nurse in another state and has chronic pain from an accident with a patient and she is now doing desk work for the same reason as yours. If you ever want to talk outside of here, send me an e-mail. Come to think of it though- when I first started going to the PM clinic- the main dr told me he takes a lot of meds for his back pain- can you work as a nurse in a place like that? No one could quite have the compassion as someone who is going through or has gone through it. -Shannon

Posted By : pew - 9/15/2007 10:39 PM
Hi Rehab nurse- I'm new to this site but I thought I would like to give you a word. HOPE. I worked 14 years in a small hospital. I was injured several times lifting and twice in auto wrecks. Then developed - Diabetis, uterine cancer and had radiation TX, spinal spirs, bulging disc -2 in lumbar and 2 in cervical, I also have Chronic Sarcoidosis. The pain never stops and depression has come and gone 3 times. I now it doesnt leave but it does hide for a while. I tried to work at first but the meds does effect you. I tried to cover it with laughing and jokes. I would forget things or my thoughs would get lost in my head. I had a really great friend who was a doctor I worked with a lot and he pull me to the side and ask me If I was having some personal problem because my work was not up to power. But never forget your HOPE. When I lift work I was ready to die. But I have found other things that dont require life or death work. I have sit with some elderly people who got ill fast and not able to care for them selves before family was able to make arrangements. I cant do this as a job because my illnesses make me undependable for long periods but for short terms it helps us both. pew

Post Edited (pew) : 9/15/2007 10:49:49 PM (GMT-6)

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