At my last appointment with my pain management doctor to get my intrathecal pain pump refilled and get prescriptions for oral medications, I was given some bad news. Well, not really bad, maybe irritating is a better word.
Most of my pain is managed by the pump, but I have a prescription for morphine pills for “breakthrough pain”. I also have a prescription for Restoril for insomnia. Insomnia is often comorbid with Fibromyalgia.
So, the irritating news is that thanks to the DEA trying to clean up the opiate mess, there are stricter rules for doctors writing prescriptions for any opiates, benzodiazapines, muscle relaxers or sleeping medications. Basically, all the stuff that people abuse. Unfortunately, these are also all the medications that help people like me with chronic pain.
The DEA made a new rule that a pain management doctor cannot write a prescription for a sleeping medication or a muscle relaxer along with a prescription for an opiate without authorization from the patient’s primary care doctor. So I either need to get a note from my primary care doctor for my pain doctor or I need to have my primary care doctor write the prescription for my sleeping medication.
Here’s the problem… I don’t have a primary care doctor😕. I see my pain doctor every four weeks to fill my pump, I rarely get sick and I just never thought about needing one. Now I need one.
I live in a mixed residential/small business area and there’s a doctor that practices out of a house about half a block away. I figured that close is always good so I called and made an appointment. The first available new patient appointment is a month away. That’s going to be cutting it close to when I’ll run out of sleeping medication.
I realize this isn’t a life threatening problem and it’s partially my fault for not having a primary care doctor but it’s still a pain in the butt. I have Medicare through my SSDI but it’s still probably going to cost me some out of pocket money. The appointment is in the afternoon so I’ll have to arrange with my daughters who will meet Ben’s bus. I’m sure I’ll have to fill out reams of paperwork then explain all my medical history and past surgeries to this new doctor. Sigh… I’m getting tired just thinking about it.
I understand the reasoning behind the new DEA rules but it’s people like me that pay the price. The opiate problem can be laid directly at the feet of Big Pharma. They lied to doctors and told them oxycontin wasn’t habit-forming and pushed for doctors to write prescriptions for even minor pain. All for profit. Oxycontin is extremely habit-forming (I know from experience) and a lot of people became dependant on it and then the cycle began. I HATE Big Pharma👿😤, but that’s a rant for another day.
I guess it’s actually a good thing that I’m getting set up (against my will😜) with a primary care doctor. I am fifty now and it’s probably way past time for a check-up…oil change, tire rotation…😂