How long is too long for your doc to call you back?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 4/1/2012 3:36 PM (GMT -6)   
So I recently switched to a new GP, family friend whom I don't know why I didn't see in the first place, and the short of it is that he has me on prednisone and hydrocodone. I told him on my last visit that I'd prefer an extended release pain killer because I don't like the ups and downs of the hydrocodone, though he said we'll stay with that for now. So a couple weeks go by and the combination was working alright, and within a period of about 4 days the hydrocodone seemed to only keep my pain at bay for maybe 2-3 hours. It's to the point where I can't sleep for more than 5-6 hours without waking up bc of my pain.

So, I called his office on Wednesday right when they opened and they said he'd call me back. I waited until thursday and called again at 12pm, then at 4pm. I told them I didn't want to be annoying but I hadn't slept for a couple nights and had an exam which I was struggling to see straight long enough to study for. Didn't get a call back thursday or friday. They're closed on weekends and I'm really trying hard to hold on until monday and don't want to call the answering service. I hate bothering people, especially since he's been the first doctor that's actually made a difference in the quality of my life. And it sucks because our plan was for me to take 2 10mg/325 norco every 6 hours but the prescription label says to take 1 every 6-8 hours which put me in a precarious position because I have refills but they were telling me I was taking too many and they couldn't refill it until I got a hold of my doc. Luckily enough, the other pharmacist that I know well was there the next day and refilled it w/o a question.

The question I'm asking is simply how long is too long to have to wait for a call back in a matter like such? What qualifies as important enough to have him paged, in your opinion?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 4/1/2012 4:22 PM (GMT -6)   

I think a 24 hour window - unless it's extremely urgent - is reasonable. When I call one of my doctors - someone usually calls me back that same day (or the next morning) - and either handles my issue OR makes me an appointment to come in.

Most of the time, when it comes to changing narcotic medications - it's my experience that you need to make an appointment to go into the office to have those adjustments made. I know that's a pain....or, at least it is for me.... but that seems to be standard protocol.

Re: having a doctor paged - I reserve that for an emergency type thing....

I'd call tomorrow morning and let them know that you have been trying to reach the doctor since Wednesday... and you really need a call back to know what to do. I'd call right when the office opens.... and, if you don't get a return call in the morning, I'd call right at 11:30am - which is before lunch.... and ask them what to do. Sometimes you need to be a bit of a pain to get your needs met. :)

Good luck....--Tina
Moderator - Chronic Pain Forum

My faith and family sustain me even on my worst days... as well as my wonderful friends here at HW.

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 4/1/2012 4:26 PM (GMT -6)   
If I were you I would just make an appointment.  Usually my rhuemy calls back herself the same day.  My GPs office may just call in a script without ever calling me back -I hate that-how am I supposed to know to go to the pharmasy.  If it isn't a script question then someone from the office calls within 48 hours-not usually the doc.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 4/1/2012 4:30 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't think there's an easy answer.

I ended up in the ER this summer due to vertigo. I called my GP a few times, left message, never heard back. I tried to treat myself with a home traction kit that made the symptoms multiple times worse.

When I finally got in touch two days later, I found out that the office had to shut down because their A/C broke.

Maybe something has happened at your GP's office. But you could try again Monday morning, adding how many times you've tried, that you need the script issue resolved, and ask as well to be fit in for an appointment that day if you can't talk to the doctor over the phone.

You might also want to reintroduce the idea of a time-release. There is none for hydrocodone, but you might want to look into Tramadol ER. It costs about $200 for 30 days.

Let me also suggest that instead of more pain meds, maybe ask for something to help you sleep. Ambien CR is a good place to start. If that doesn't work, then maybe a benzodiazepine. Although Xanax isn't typically prescribed for sleep, that's what I use because it has a relatively short half-life and so I'll not be as groggy in the morning.

Hope you get these issues resolved. I understand the difficulty trying to keep pace with intellectually demanding work while in pain.
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs), RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident. Also, pectus excavatum, supraventricular tacycardia and mitral valve prolapse syndrome.
Current meds: Ultram ER 300mg & 2-3x 10mg Hydrocodone daily. Oxycodone 10mg for BT. .25-.5mg xanax as needed for sleep, Verapamil 240mg SR (for tachycardia). [/gray

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 4/3/2012 9:40 AM (GMT -6)   
I finally got a hold of him after calling at opening on Monday, then again at 5pm and was told he was gonna call me back very soon, didn't call me back, I had him paged at 9pm, called back 30 mins later. He said he was going to prescribe a 1 time a day to take at night thing. His main concern is that he's "going to get me hooked on narcotics" . I didn't ask for them in the first place, I just told him the norco is only working a short time and I don't like the up and down feeling. As far as the sleep stuff, I've tried ambien, sonata, klonopin, xanax, etc. My psych doesn't want me to rely on taking xanax for sleep as he said its a bad habit. Plus, I don't have trouble getting to sleep, it's staying asleep because of the pain. I'll literally wake up in the middle of the night bc of it like theres a little kid shaking me to wake up. Like "hey I'm your pain, wake up bc I'm not gonna go away".

It ended up that he was busy so he says. I understand I'm not the main priority but when I recently have been put on narcotic pain meds and I'm having an issue I guess I expect my problem to be addressed. As I consequently took more than prescribed, have less than I should now, and tried to solve the problem as it happened but had to wait for 6 days. Now I have to ask him for more Norco bc of it which sucks.
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