Or the unofficial title would be The Pain Medicine. I feel very sorry for chronic pain patients who have been forced to taper off their pain meds because of current attitudes in the medical community, and society in general. There is a great opioid crisis but I can guarantee that the chronic pain patients aren’t abusing their pain meds. No, they’re holding onto their treasure chest of pain meds, counting pills, rationing and hoping they will be able to get more. I read The National Pain Report regularly about patients who are limited to 25% of what they used to be prescribed, as well as those that have been shut off. Sadly, I also read about the increase in suicide by pain patients who can’t take the pain any longer.
My experience with Pain meds was a good one. For the first 19 years of having RA while I had pain in a number of joints, my knees were mostly affected. I was mostly bone on bone for years. I still walked, exercised, worked and skied. Yes, I took a lot of pain meds in order to do all those things, but I have a never quit attitude and there was no way pain was going to stop me from life’s activities. For almost 20 years I had vicodin available to me. Sometimes I went months without taking them, and other days it took a pill or three to make it through my day. I never abused the meds. I misused them once when I shared several with a woman who took them all at once. I was flabbergasted and knew I had done something wrong but that was many years ago before we knew about opioid abuse. I subsequently lost a friendship because I wouldn’t share.
But what I can say is that having the ability to have those pain meds kept me working. I still have a terrific job with great benefits and being able to pre medicate on those mornings when I needed it has kept me in my profession. I also was very fortunate to decide to replace my knees last year.
If I hadn’t had my knees replaced I’m pretty certain that I wouldn’t have access to the pain meds that I used to have and I’m not sure what the quality of my life would be. So for those chronic pain patients who have lost their pain meds, my heart and soul are with you. We need to realize that our regulations have gone too far the other way for some people. Let’s work on the illegal fentanyl and heroid and leave the chronic pain patients alone.