Yesterday afternoon I had a routine visit with my Rheumatologist. He’s cool – he walked in the room and asked about skiing and how was my knee and we compared notes on our ski trips. I mentioned that perhaps it’s time to revisit the knee replacement issue, but he talked me right out of it and actually I think he helped me come to a good solution with Synvisc shots in the bad knee. I had them in 2010 and had such good results – my knee felt brand new. Unfortunately, they do ultimately wear off. My current medical insurance provider considers the injections out patient surgery and therefore they’re subject to my deductible ($5,000 – not a misprint!) and the cost was like $1400. I’ll keep you posted on the alternatives he and I discussed and maybe that will resolve itself.
When I was in the waiting room waiting to schedule my next appointment, he called me back into the office and asked me to wait in the exam room. Soon he came in with a form that I had to sign which is from the State Department of Health. I’m required to sign it because he prescribes pain medication for me. Any patients that receive certain narcotics are required to sign it and the Doctor keeps a copy and files one with the Department of Health.
There were 12 points on the form. I agree to use the meds exactly as written, no changes can be made between visits – any changes have to be made during a visit. Only the primary rheumatologist can prescribe pain meds – not a covering doctor. I can only use 1 pharmacy for filling pain meds; I agree not to use any illegal drugs of any type and I agree to periodic random drug screenings.
Obviously this is a reaction to the abuse of pain meds that seems to be common. The Department of Health is trying hard to stop abuses and establish proper prescribing techniques for narcotics. We have all read articles about abuse and dependence. I can’t imagine it happening to me – I take pain meds occassionally, but not regularly and I never get a high from it. I guess because I have pain – or so I’m told.
I signed the form, assuring the doctor that I use them as prescribed. Besides, I promised my mother years ago that I would take care to prevent abuse and addiction.