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***NOTE: I wrote this post 3 months ago, and it somehow got ressurected! Yea! My most current situation is on the post 'Finally asking for help'
Trying 03/12/04

Please Please take a moment to read this and give me your input. I really need some good advice right now. I have nobody I can talk to, and am freaking out. Thank you in advance to all of you who take the time to read this.

I was wondering if anyone had experience going into an inpatient or intenstive outpatient detox program through the HMO, Kaiser Permanente of California. Also, I want to get some input on those of you who have had major surgery after you have been clean....a surgery where you absolutely have to be on painkillers for a short time (neck/spine surgery) and how you handled it.

I will give you a quick background on myself, so bear with me.

Being on an HMO is so different than going through a private PPO or POS insurance. I've had both, and truly think the HMO makes you jump through so many more hoops. Its like they want to spend as little money as possible, even at the cost of your well-being. It took so long to get my PCP to allow me to get an MRI on my back, and in the meantime while I was waiting, I used 5mg hydro and Motrin. And then after a year of fighting them, they did the MRI, found multiple chipped disks, pinched nerves, etc. So they put me on the Duragesic Patch with Norco for breakthru pain. I will probably have surgery in March. The meds helped and I finally felt like I could move freely and without pain. After a year of this, I realize I've become addicted, and can't stop taking them even if the pain stopped, because the withdrawals are truly hell-like. Not to mention, I like to drink occasionally, and I know this is the worst for your body (My doc regularly checks my liver function, and it always comes back perfect...I don't know how?) I love the feeling of a narcotic buzz with a beer, and trust me, I am a well educated person about the risks, and know I am playing with fire. I can't apply that logic to stopping though.

I definitely have pain, but I want to feel that pain now and not take these meds. I worry more about the addictive nature of the meds than the pain of the injury. I take full responsibility for my actions, but I also am upset that my doc never warned my about the patch. He didn't even talk to me about it...I called his office one day in horrible pain that the Norco wasn't fixing, and his nurse called me back and said to come pick up a script for the patch. I should've done more research, I know, but at the time I didn't. It worked to stop the pain, and he told me to use the 50mg patch, changing it every 48 hours, and up to 8 Norco a day. I think this might have been overprescribing, but like I said, I know that I control my actions at the end of the day. So I am upset wtih myself, and know that I would've critcized my doc had he not treated me agressively with meds, etc.

Long story short, I would much rather go back to having the stiffness and spasms, etc, and don't want to be on these meds. When I do have surgery, I don't want to be tolerant to everything so that I have to be bumped up to the highest narcotic to control post-operative pain. I would be so miserable not only from the surgery, but also trying to wean off all that medication. I want to be clean off all this, tell my surgeon about all of it before my surgery, and make sure he knows the situation and monitors me super closely.

In the meantime, I want to figure out how to go into an intensive outpatient or inpatient treatment. Only, I don't want to be denied pain meds after this surgery. They will be cutting into my spine through the back of the neck, shaving off the chips of disc that are pinching nerves. It is apparently very very uncomfortable. Think about how much muscle they will have to cut through. I am scared that if I tell the treatment people the truth, there will be a notation in my record never to give me narcotics again. And while I truly don't want them ever again for minor or moderate injuries, I know that it is necessary to have them after majorly invasive spine surgery. How do I tell Kaiser about all of this without jepordizing my comfort after this surgery? Its a 6 week recovery period that is apparently pure hell.

Sorry for babbling so much. I'm so stressed and upset about all this, and know that someone here will be able to offer good advice.

Thanks everyone, and take good care.


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