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 of the oral opiates, he was giving 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.
(part 4 here)