Friday, June 29, 2012

Better Living Through the War on (Some Kinds) of Drugs

So I have these shoulder spurs.

And I've been to my PCP. And she's referred me to a surgeon (after jerking me around with steroids and other horrible "less aggressive" approaches for weeks).

The surgeon tells me he can't fit me in until August 2nd, which at that point was two months away. That's just for the initial appointment, the intake. Who knows how long after that we will have to wait before the surgery can be scheduled. (Yes, thank shit we don't live in Canada! Why, I might have to wait months to be treated there, with their evil socialized medicine!)

Meanwhile, my PCP says she can't prescribe pain medication for me anymore, since she has already referred me to another physician.

And the surgeon's nurse says they can't prescribe pain medication for me yet, since they haven't seen me yet.

"The fuck am I supposed to do?" I demanded on the phone to the nurse. Only more politely. I did not say fuck. I wanted to. "I'm in pain. I can't sleep. I can barely work. It hurts all the time. I'm not seeing you people for over a month."

The nurse repeated, like a robot, "The doctor will discuss pain medication with you in the initial appointment."

I know why this is, of course. Here in Arkansas, the local "problem" for the DEA is prescription drug abuse. That and meth. So they've been cracking down on the physicians, doing a witch hunt of anyone who gives out too many prescriptions for pain medication. Physicians who do give out too many scripts for pain meds are in danger of losing their licenses. And what does "too many" mean?

And someone like me who is in pain, and can't get medication? Tough luck, I guess. Collateral damage in the great War on Drugs.

It's all worth it, if we can JUST GET AMERICA CLEAN!


Anonymous said...

Your PCP is just that. She is your PRIMARY contact for health issues. There is no (legal) reason why she cannot prescribe pain medication to you even though you have been referred to a specialist. The DEA issue is valid. My husband works at the VA in Fort Smith and he always tells me about the issues disabled vets (like him) have when they are in chronic pain. The VA PCPs are under pressure to wean their patients off their pain meds and replace the meds with acupuncture! In any case, there is no legal reason why your PCP can't prescribe a pain reliever for you (narcotic or otherwise.) She is choosing not to, for whatever reason.

Athena Andreadis said...

Americans are way undermedicated for pain -- a result of the Puritan mindset, now reinforced by the misguided war on drugs (and the real problem of addiction). There is no legal, medical or moral reason why your GP cannot prescribe pain medication.

delagar said...

I assume it's the DEA issue.

According to her nurse (I've only talked to the nurse so far) the doctor "doesn't prescribe" pain medication, because she's not a pain management specialist.

"And what if one of her patients is in pain?" I said. To which the nurse just repeated she was sorry, that the doctor didn't prescribe pain medication, that I was welcome to come in and speak to her.

I think I'm about to switch doctors, frankly.

Anonymous said...

Good plan to switch doctors. You might ask around to see if anyone you know has a doc good with chronic pain management. --L