Chronic Pain part 3 ~or~ How Stephen King Saved Me

I wrote this post a couple years ago. I’ve been trying to write the next part of my journey with chronic pain but it’s very dark and I really don’t want to relive the memories. The original post tells the basic facts without all the darkness. You can find part 2 here.

At one point during my ongoing battle with fibromyalgia and the work comp insurance company I was informed by my doctor that he was no longer on the provider list and this would be my last visit. Of course, my first feeling was panic. How would I get my prescriptions for the medications I depended on to live some kind of life? How would I find another pain management doctor on the list? I called my attorney as I was leaving the appointment. I had to get an attorney after trying to deal with the insurance company on my own for a year. This company was worse than most from what other people with work comp injuries have told me. Anyway, my attorney found a new doctor for me and set an appointment. My first time meeting this new doctor didn’t go well. He told me that my problem was not fibromyalgia but pain medication addiction. He wanted to send me to an addiction specialist for a consultation. Meanwhile he would renew my existing medications for one month. Another call to my attorney on the way out, he’d look into it. My attorney calls me back to tell me that no other doctors on the provider list can see me and the addiction specialist can’t get me in for three months. I’m stuck with it. The insurance company has all the power. So I go back to Dr Jerkface and explain the situation. He excuses himself to go call Dr Addict. Dr Addict tells him the same thing, three months. Dr Jerkface decides that while we’re waiting he’s going to put me on a different med. Instead the oral opiates he was given me the fentanyl patch. I’m not happy but I don’t really have a choice. The problems began immediately. The patch wouldn’t stay stuck to my skin so I had to use super strong medical tape since the patch was supposed to last three days. My latex sensitive skin didn’t like the patch or the tape. Dr Jerkface’s office basically told me to deal with it. (To them I was a drug addict, not a pain patient) So I’m rashy and starting to feel sick. I look at the info sheet that came with the patches and I figured out that Dr Jerkface has cut my opiate level down to one third of what it was. That explains the sick feeling. I’m going through withdrawal. Questions of addiction aside, my body had become dependent on the opiate I was taking. I spent the next three months in bed. I could barely eat, I was so weak it was difficult to walk to the bathroom, I couldn’t sleep. I was miserable. We couldn’t afford internet and there was no TV in my room so I spent hours, days & nights staring at the walls. I would occasionally read, but I had already read everything in the house two or three times. Then a neighbor brought me some books. Included in those books were the first four of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. The story captivated me & took me away from my pain and sickness. Those four books saved my sanity and possibly my life. Eventually I saw Dr Addict who told me that while I was dependent I didn’t have an addiction problem. He switched me to Suboxone to stop the withdrawal and help with the pain. The Suboxone did stop the withdrawal but did nothing for the pain. Eventually I was able to get in with my current pain doctor and he is wonderful. My case was settled with the insurance company and I get to make my own medical decisions. I still look back on that time where I was labeled an addict ( that follows you too) and bedridden for months, and I send a little thank you out to Stephen King and his imagination for giving me some place to escape to.

35 thoughts on “Chronic Pain part 3 ~or~ How Stephen King Saved Me

  1. I’ve been professionally involved in the healthcare system of three countries so far, but never in my life will I understand how governments of a country claiming to be “greatest on Earth” (no offence to decent citizens) have designed the most grotesque and inhuman health services in the so called 1st world, where insurance companies have come to make medical decisions.
    Because that’s the problem’s core…
    So let me do the maths: you work, you pay, and the government sells you out for a profit to companies which will make further huge profits by providing you the cheapest healthcare possible, which most of the time is less effective than a more complex and therefore expensive one…
    Nothing personal, just good business…
    Dear Gran, I wish you all the best ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you! Yes, it was 10+ years of the worst kind of hell. They once delayed a surgery 6months just because. No reason. Just wait 6months. Thank goodness that’s all in the past and if nothing else I learned to not stress on “what if”. I’m a stronger more patient person from having survived those 10+ years. Medicine should not be a for profit business. Corporations are in charge, CEOs are Kings and the dollar is all that matters. Ah, don’t get me started๐Ÿ˜

      Liked by 4 people

    2. “country claiming to be โ€œgreatest on Earthโ€ (no offence to decent citizens) have designed the most grotesque and inhuman health services”

      none taken. everything here is absolutely barbaric. dont get me wrong, there are lot of places i wouldnt prefer to be, but “land of the free” was written over 150 years ago. the corporations are free, they write all our laws and care for no one.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. That’s just awful – to be dealing with the pain of fibromyalgia and not being able to find any relief. And to be labeled an addict – which I agree – does follow you. A no win situation. I am so glad that you were able to connect with your current pain Dr. And that the masterful Stephen King was there to help carry you through that time!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I always loved LOTR, Middle Earth, then to find The Dark Tower, Mid World, series at that time was a life saver. I did learn patience through all that and it’s a good thing because I sure do need it now๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Argh! I’m so sorry this happened to you, dude. I’m so relieved for you that you found a human being for a doc – they’re hard to come by! I mean, I know that there are some addicts who either fabricate or play up their pain as an excuse for obtaining a “high”. But that’s SO not you. โค

    And I find it ironic that the very docs who dish out these pain pills instead of taking a more holistic approach first are the exact same ones who judge the patients (*people*) whose bodies become dependent on the drug, stigmatizing them and calling them "addicts"! Seriously?? OK, rant over. I just SO feel for you. :)) โค

    (Short on the emojis only because I'm typing from a laptop and not my mobile LOL) ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    1. Aside from Dr Jerkface most of the docs have been good. Writing referrals for physical therapy, massage, acupuncture. The problem was always the insurance company wouldn’t pay for it. The doc was left with nothing but his Rx pad. And the drug companies pressure/entice the docs. I’ve been given so many samples by docs that the drug rep leave with them. The whole thing is about money. My first dx wasn’t fibro. That developed from never getting the treatment I needed. The insurance company basically caused my fibro. Still lots of anger & resentment. Whew! Can of worms, that. ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’ž

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yeah, I can imagine!! Insurance companies are very deceptive. They–and the pharmaceutical companies–are the villains in the story. It’s a push-pull between the two, behind the scenes. Meanwhile the marketing efforts of both are aimed at creating the illusion of empowerment of the customers they create. When really, they’re sort of enslaving people. Herbs like Curcumin and resveratrol have shown huge promise with pain and inflammation, as have omega-3 fish oils. But do docs recommend those and do insurance companies cover them? Nope. The pharmaceutical companies hate them because they’re so effective, so they strong-arm their way into the med school curriculum and essentially buy their influence over what gets taught. Then that’s all the insurance companies will cover (IF and when they decide to cover them), because they are pretty well aware of the side effects of these meds and how they’ll break down health over time, causing people to decide to hang onto their insurance instead of saying “I’m doing ok; I don’t need the full coverage insurance”. It’s another cat-and-mouse game. And the kicker is that insurance companies will only cover treatments up to a certain point before they start cutting them off. To preserve the profit margins for the insurance companies themselves. Not fair. Not cool. I think I just wrote the thesis for a WLK post lol ๐Ÿ˜‰. I’m so sorry they caught you up in this. I’m rooting for you dude!! ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ

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  4. I’ve never been into Stephen King, but the “good book to take you somewhere else” thing I totally get. So nice when you find another world to immerse yourself in!

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  5. This is infurinfuriating, but all too commonplace. There is a big difference between being psychologically addicted to a substance because it makes the user feel good and being physically dependent on something to deal with pain or illness. Personally, I would love a safe alternative to opiates for pain management. The judgy doctors need to go find one instead of throwing out accusations. I also don’t agree with the way drug addicts are treated. It’s a medical problem like any other and the shame involved often makes it worse. I am so glad that you are doing better. I also like Stephen king and have a tape allergy. You should see the look on the nurse’s face at the hospital when I pull out silicone bdsm tape for my IV.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Silicone bdsm tape for the IV๐Ÿ˜‚ that is too awesome!! I might have to get some of that myself. My current doc and his staff are so great they’d probably want to know where I got it so they could get some.
    I tried Lyrica and Cymbalta but neither helped the pain. Cymbalta actually caused stomach pain more acute than my chronic pain and Lyrica just made me super dizzy. I have an Intrathecal Pain Pump now and I love it.
    Thanks so much for reading, commenting and the follow ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was just thinking “hey, I’m sure I’ve read that post”, and lo and behold, I even commented on it! ๐Ÿ˜ Good to hear from you, in any shape or form. Are you still into Stephen King or what are you reading now?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Definitely still love Stephen King and his son Joe Hill is really good too. Right now I’m reading To Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams. It’s the third book of a fantasy trilogy. Next up is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I’ve heard excellent things about it.
      I’m always looking for new books. Have you read anything worth recommendation lately?๐Ÿ’Œ

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  8. This was truly difficult to read, kmowing you were treated by doctors in this way, and all the suffering of withdrawals you had gone through (Not to mention all the pain).
    I think I mentioned this before, but my mother is going through all of this now (minus) attorneys. She has seen over a dozen pain mngmt., doctors over the last five years… Nothing can be done. She is on every opiate I know of, and has been through withdrawals herself at least 4-5 times.
    Between insurance companies and doctors, all they care about is their bottom line = money. The patient is the one still suffering.
    Honestly, sending out a thank you to Stephen King seems appropraite… He’s the one tht saw you though your own misery.
    I’m juts so damn sorry you had to go through all of this. I’m so thankful nothing worse happened to you, and that you are still here today!!! ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜˜ ๐Ÿ’–

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh your poor mama๐Ÿ˜ž The thing that really helped me, shoot, changed my life, was getting the intrathecal pain pump. It’s surgically implanted and delivers a constant drip of meds into the spinal fluid. I don’t know if she’s a candidate for the surgery but I HIGHLY recommend it. It eliminates the up & downs, not to mention the withdrawal of oral meds. It also stops the stomach problems.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No one i the sateof NJ or FL will touch her as far as surgery goes. They have all said she probably won’t make it if they attempted any surgery pertaining to her back. Plus, what we have learned is it also surrounds the Medicare insurance plan she has. The medical/insurance programs here in the US suck!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah, it’s her back. I’m surprised that the surgeons won’t touch her. Back surgeries are pretty common. Anyway, it none of my business, her medical stuff. I feel bad for her though and I get royally pissed when I know about people suffering needlessly!
          Our medical system is “for profit” so the bottom line is, patients don’t matter only profits matter. It’s horrendous!

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Frigging doctors think they are Gods! it’s rare to find a good one. My own doctor who l used to like to use was great, but when this shoulder thing started, all he wanted to do was feed me drugs for depression. i kept telling him, l was not depressed, just in agony.

    Then one day my doctor wasn’t available and l had a new doctor and she instantly was mortified that l was not on a much higher pain killer and awarded me higher without any fuss. I am going to see that doctor again on the 28th June, l made the appointment ten days ago, that’s the only time she is available.

    But that’s the thing, you find a good doctor who actually cares about the patient and listens, well that’s rare.

    The tablets l am on are no longer cutting the pain levels, and as you know the surgeon hads basically discharged me. The physiotherapy department has lost me, and the pain clinic is now in September as a first appointment.

    i just have to try and switch off and focus on something else, in this case it’s the blog, which for me is my stephen King, so l can relate to what you are saying on so many levels, Grandma.

    But l am glad it’s much better these days ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you’ve found a doctor you like and that seems to take your pain seriously. That’s half the battle. It sucks that you have to wait but it’s better to wait and actually be seen, heard and treated than to waste time with a useless doc.
      Having an escape will definitely help the mental health! The physical pain, for me, was easier to bear when my mind wasn’t all twisted.
      Things are SO much better. There IS hope! Getting the intrathecal pain pump gave me back my life. I still have pain, sometimes severe, but it’s manageable.
      I sincerely hope your journey is much shorter than mine was!๐Ÿ’Œ

      Liked by 1 person

            1. My own journey from when the pain and numbness became enough of a bother to actually go see a doctor to when I had the first intrathecal pain pump surgery and recovery was 15-16 years.
              I had an appointment yesterday (Wednesday) to have the pump refilled. I have to do this monthly. When I got there, I was informed they weren’t doing pump fills that day. When I asked why I wasn’t called to reschedule and when *could* they do it, the girl consulted with someone and told me to come in at 1:00pm today (Thursday). I got there about ten minutes before and was not seen until 2:40pm.
              My point is, there are still hiccups, so I guess the journey continues, but at least I can live my crazy life on daily basis, with my pain mostly managed.

              Liked by 1 person

  10. Sorry to hear you went through such a terrible experience but glad you are in a better place now. You are obviously a strong person to come out with your sense of humour in tact. Books can make such a difference to our lives. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My strength was tested and I learned that I can handle whatever life throws at me. I am blessed with a twisted sense of humor. There were times when bad thing after bad thing after bad thing was happening and it just seemed so ridiculous that it kept getting worse. Like it was a movie or something. I have to laugh when things get absurd. Books are my addiction. (I guess I AM an addict๐Ÿ˜‚) They’ve been my escape since I was a child. Thank goodness for the public library. I don’t have the funds or room to support my habit๐Ÿ˜‰๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ’Œ

      Liked by 1 person

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