I can't eat. I can't sleep. Every few seconds, my legs twitch and jerk. My body feels as if it has been invaded by an army of red ants. I know what is happening. I am going through withdrawal. Except I am not a drug addict.
I am a 65-year old woman, wife and mother, who has been a chronic pain patient for more than 15 years. For most of that time, I have been very, very lucky. Although I was never pain free, I still was able to care for myself, keep the house clean, and even work part-time. Until recently, when break-through pain became a problem. My primary care physician wrote me a prescription for more morphine sulfate IR ("instant release") and sent me on my way. I wasn't worried. From what I had learned after years of reading about chronic pain, I wasn't worried. This was what leading pain specialists usually recommended doing.
But the break-through pain continued. My PCP wrote a prescription for even more morphine sulfate IR. Now, I was worried. This was not what I remembered being told at the pain clinic I attended. When break-through pain became a problem, another tablet of MS Contin ("morphine sulfate continuous action") was prescribed.
I wasn't sure what to do. I always had been leery about taking any pain medications. I had refused them when I had complicated dental procedures done, and I also had refused them when I gave birth to my son. What I didn't realize was that the pain I experienced in the dental chair and the pain I experienced giving birth was "acute" pain. It had a beginning and, more importantly, it had an end. "Chronic" pain may vary somewhat in intensity, but it is with you 24/7/365. It never ends. Never.
When I was told about UPMC's Senior Care Center, I made an appointment immediately. UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) has a reputation for being among the better medical centers in the country. I thought that I would be in good hands. I was wrong.
The doctor I saw initially raised my dosage of both MS Contin and morphine sulfate IR . I don't remember much about the month which followed. I slept through most of it. Every time I took one of the MS Contin tablets, I fell asleep. Sleeping for 6 to 8 hours, I would wake up in pain. Pain bad enough to be forced to take one of the morphine sulfate IR tablets.
At my next appointment, the doctor reduced my dosage and sent me to UPMC's pain clinic. Thus began a nightmare from which I have yet to awake. The doctor I saw there reduced my dosage of MS Contin and discontinued the morphine sulfate IR. A 75% reduction in pain meds without titration. And without medical supervision.
Since then, I have been in severe and unremitting pain. I have called both doctors many times, but they have yet to return my calls. I have been to several emergency rooms, only to be told that my doctor refuses to prescribe any medication.
I don't know what to do now.
Can you help me?