Family and Pain Medication

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 70
   Posted 5/18/2011 2:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Everyone,

Not sure if we have every had a discussion about this- how does your family, friends, work feel about you and your pain medication?
A few months ago my boss pulled me aside and asked me to please be careful that I don't get addicted! Now I never felt "high" on morphine and now Oxycontin, so why would I need to take more/be addicted? I only feel relatively pain free.

Now with the Oxycontin switch I feel like people have been looking at me funny. I know it's an abused drug, I understand people have died from it- this is the risk with all of these medications (respiratory failure). I don't drink, I try to stop the pain naturally, but I have a spinal CORD condition and Fibro... how am I supposed to live/work?

Is it really anyone's business what medication you are on? Do they have a right to tell you what you should do, how you should deal with your pain- when you are obviously not a pain killer addict and you need the medication.


PS. I swear I have 50 horror stories regarding this!

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 5/18/2011 2:33 PM (GMT -6)   


 Hello Chompers!

       Yes this has been discussed many times here, but I think with all of the new faces, we need to revisit this topic every once in a while. I'm going to throw my two cents in quickly here, and let the rest of the members have their say.

      Probably the best rule of thumb that I learned from this site, is not to share with others what you are being scripted and how much. The general public will never have an understanding of this, and it can at times invite some distrubing comments or work related repercussions that may not end up in your favor.

      Even if you try to keep it a secret, working in a close envioronment can be a problem, for the simple fact that your eyes may be a dead give away to those around you. Most of the time, when taking pain med's the pupils will be what I call "Pinned" or constricted down tight. This may be indeed the difference of what they are seeing with you. Maybe?

   You are right that it is not anyones business, so becareful shareing the fact that your on them. Also many company's will frown upon and have policys in place, for saftey reasons. I think you may be looked at, as a lability in the work place as well....Just be careful!



Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

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Post Edited (Screaming Eagle) : 5/18/2011 1:38:58 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 70
   Posted 5/18/2011 2:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, well actually it was obvious that I was taking pain meds because at one point I was so bad my physician gave me 2 weeks off work. I was physically unable to sit or drive.. stand etc. That's how it got out. But you are correct!
Also we are a small company, no HR etc... so when I had my MRI done my boss faxed it to a neurosurgeon friend who told us both how severe it is etc..

They think I am off the pain meds now :)
Tethered Cord Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome (newly diagnosed)
Morphine (IR & ER), Baclofen, Neurontin, Savella, Voltaren Gel

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 5/18/2011 3:11 PM (GMT -6)   
As has been discussed before...but it's always worth mentioning again to limit who knows about your medication to your spouse/partner if you choose, your physician, and possibly the HR director if you had to take a drug test for the job..

Otherwise...I don't share with even my closest friends...I am living and helping take care of my mom right now and she has my printed list of meds in case of any emergency...and I have hers...but no other family knows..

They know what my past surgeries were and about my tumor...and that I take 'medicine' but not the details..

Your medical information is yours alone..and the decisions you make are between you (collective you) and your physician. Some people who have very understanding spouses it's good to be able to share this info for safety reasons...any change in medicine and side well as going with you to the Dr. and learning about how chronic pain affects your life...

It can be very detrimental to your job to have not only the gossip that goes along with the medicine...but the 'ignorance' that most have about CP and pain meds...but also the judgments...

As well as break ins happen from 'friends of friends' who know about these meds and their street value....As well as young adults who steal these meds from homes (their own or friends' parents) to take or sell while as people keep them in the bathroom at times....

Those are very dangerous situations that can happen (and are more frequent than we realize...especially with teenagers nowadays..

It is our duty as pain patients to tell the absolute LEAST amount of people about our meds to keep both ourselves safe and others...As well as our Dr. expects us to be 100% responsible for what happens to limit stolen or 'lost' medication..

Another issue I have seen lately from people I know on Facebook (friends from my past) is that people talk about their surgeries...and the meds they got from the DR...they aren't cp' they really don't know....but criminals these days are scouring the internet to look for this type of info to break in these homes to steal!....And again...for their friends' kids to take a few when visiting..

To the OP...glad they think you aren't on them anymore...if work...friends...or some family...ever asks you...just say..."I keep my medical information private..but thanks for caring about me"....and move on! polite...non defensive..but firm..
SB and "the pup who snores loudly" 
ACDF C5-C7, (no hardware), with autograft bone Nov. 2001
(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha")) 
ACDF with hardware, allograft bone Nov. 2005 
Anterior and Posterior CDF, allograft bone with BMP, removal of old hardware, use of titanium plates, rods, screws, & kitchen sink (lol) Oct 2006

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 5/18/2011 6:24 PM (GMT -6)   
I simply do not tell my family members what I am taking for pain. Only my wife knows exactly what I am on and how much I am suppose to take. This cuts down on the so call addiction lectures.

I am not shy though about educating people about the difference between addiction and dependence and tolerance. Seldom does a month goes by that I do not hear people making, at best, uneducated comments about pain medications.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 213
   Posted 5/18/2011 6:46 PM (GMT -6)   
I agree that your medication information should only be shared with a spouse/immediate family that you are living with and your doctor. If you have a close friend that understands, maybe you can talk to them also.

I have 2 teenage boys that live with me that know I take pain medicine. My pain medication has never been an issue with them. I keep my meds locked up in a lockbox and they do not know where it is. I only take out a days supply at a time and that works for me.

I also have 2 very close friends that know I take pain meds, but they do not know what/how much the dosage is, etc...

It is difficult for a chronic pain person to hide that they take pain medicine just simply because people that are around them a lot or live with them do see when they are in the severe pain that we get. I do not talk about the pain medication and I do not talk about being in pain. But I have been asked several times by different people if I am in pain because I look like it.

Hope this helps!
DX pyoderma gangrenosum, Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, Bone Marrow Transplant, Chronic Pain syndrome, Chronic Kidney Disease Stage 3, Major Depressive Disorder, Radiculopathy, Bilateral Hip Pain, Insomnia,Left Groin Hernia, Bulging Disk in Lumbar Spine, Tear in Lumbar Spine, Tendonitis and Bursitis in both hips.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 636
   Posted 5/19/2011 8:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Got to make it short tonight, this rain makes me feel like I have run over by a steamroller.
IMHO and experience, NOBODY at work needs to know what you are taking.  That being said I also felt it is important that SOME ONE knows the info incase of an emergency.  I kept a sealed envelope taped inside my desk and informed my employees that incase of an emergency that I couldnt respond to questions they should get the envelope.  I am sure that raised alot of questions, but they didnt need to know that I took 5 times more meds than some of our residents. 
Years ago when I worked at a hospital they tried to fire me when they found out I was taking Oxycontin.  They said there was no way I could be able to respond to a crisis with "those" meds in my system.  They ended up not doing it since I contacted the union, but they sure watched me like a hawk. 
I was thinking about getting one of those medic alert flashdrive bracelets.  You can fill in all of your meds and info, it can then be accessed by EMT's and ER's.  I need to look into that more, but that a chore for another day,lol.   
DX: CRPS/RSD full body, Fibro, CP, DDD, DJD, OSA, Syringomyelia, Arachnoiditis, failed fusion non union with hardware issues. Fusions C5-6, L5-S1. SCS trial successful awaiting placement after fusion revison 6/11.
MEDS:Fentanyl Patch 25 & 12.5 mcg, Fentora 100mcg, Oxyfast 10mg, Morphine Sulfate 15mg, AtacandHCT32/12.5mg, Clonidine, Zofran.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16796
   Posted 5/20/2011 3:00 PM (GMT -6)   
If someone were to do a google search of your username here at HW, your potst from here can come up. that is another reason not to be putting what you take in your sig lines and be careful of even what is said in the cyber world.

I believe it was PetesTrip messing around with his computer one day and found this out.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 5/20/2011 5:18 PM (GMT -6)   
I wanted to add to this cuz I have learned my lesson the hard way. At this point in my life I tell absolutely no one that I take ANYTHING, unless I'm absolutely 100% certain that they won't "judge" me.

I had a whole "family intervention" thing 5 years ago just from taking Tylenol 3 for my pain (at the time I didn't know what I had, just knew I was always in pain, with no one believing me). That led to an extremely traumatic time in my life and a horrible divorce with the loss of custody of my 2 boys! Seriously, they should make a movie out of it!!

But, now 5 years later, with a much more stable me and a much more loving husband, friends & family....I'm still very cautious. I even put my meds in an inconspicuous case so people won't "see my rx's" when I open my purse.

My husband knows of course. And, actually, I did have to tell my boss about my tramadol (cuz I was worried when I knew it caused a few of my friends to have seizures) so I wanted to make sure he knew just in case I ever had one.
He was cool about it, he understood and he does not have a judgmental bone in his, with that said....

I hope, chompers, that you can be confident/strong enough to let your boss know: "You got everything under control" cuz you know you do, and that's all that matters.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 5/20/2011 5:40 PM (GMT -6)   
[quote]IMHO and experience, NOBODY at work needs to know what you are taking

If one is talking about co-workers I agree, but if one is talking about informing your employer or potential employer that is a big MAYBE!.

As I brought up in another post there are certain professions where you are required by law to inform your employer of either all Rx'd medications or in some cases only those that may pose a safety issue.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 5/20/2011 11:28 PM (GMT -6)   
I would have to agree with Jim, only your boss need know what your taking,
if family members ask just say you've been sick and your on a prescribed medicine...

Why do you need to tell anyone??? and tell your boss
"Thank You for your concerns, I'll remember that" and then let it drop or
bring up something else
hope this helps and I send you well wishes...
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 1355
   Posted 5/21/2011 9:32 AM (GMT -6)   
I think here there is a law that states you have to disclose if you are taking any medications that may impair you ability. eg: if your operating machinery or driving. I tell my hubby and daughter exactly what I take but ever since my neighbor spoke her mind to me about her thoughts on narcotic pain meds (not knowing I was on them) I am more careful. I just did not realize how some people perceive these. If you need them you take them if they stop working stop taking them if you don't have pain don't take them, its that simple.
Take care

Insulin Dependant Diabetic, Fibromyalgia, Gerd, IBS, Sleep Apnea, COPD, Spondylolistesis, Diabetic Neuropathy, Fatty Liver, High Cholesterol
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