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Thanks to all of you wonderful people that have continued to give me words of encouragement through my difficult time. Last night I could not sleep. It kept replaying through my mind the fact that my pain management doctor obviously has me pegged as a doctor-shopping addict.
Well, this afternoon, I called and went in to see him and talk this out. What transpired was beyond my wildest dreams.
I started out by explaining to him that any prescriptions prescribed by another doctor in the past year was by my PRIMARY care physician who had full disclosure on what meds the pain management doctor had me on. I told him how he had made me feel like a cheap street addict yesterday. He told me that was not his intention at all....he said he was simply bringing to my attention a report that my insurance company had sent him regarding the large number of narcotic prescriptions I have been given in the past year. He reassured me that he did not have the idea that I was doctor shopping.

Then the floodgated opened and I revealed to him EVERYTHING that I have been going through for the past 6 months: ie, waking up in the middle of the night in full withdrawls and needing to take pills to stop the horrible feelings. I told him that I have been getting breakthru withdrawls several times a day and that many times I take pills not for pain, but to ward off the withdrawls. I told him that I know I am addicted and want OFF all the narcotics.

He stopped me right there, and told me that he was also an addiction specialist. He said he hates how 90% of the population perceives chronic pain patients as addicts because they become physically dependent on narcotic medications. He told me that I am not addicted, but physically dependent. If I was addicted, I would be mentally desiring the pills and seeking a "high" all the time....which I do not do. (in fact, I never have gotten a high from the drugs I take).
He asked me why I have not come forward and talked to him about these issues before. I explained that I am terribly embarrassed by the situation, feeling very down on myself for becoming addicted and did not want to lose his trust, so I was trying to quit on my own.

I then revealed to him that I had planned a 2 week "vacation" starting next week to cold-turkey detox myself off of everything. He told me that it was foolish to put myself through that agony and then sat me down and worked up a very structured taper. He prescribed clonodine patches to help relieve any withdrawls I might feel with the taper, as well as phenergan for any nausea and Klonopin for the anxiety that results from withdrawl. This is all very structured and I will be in close communication with the doctor to help prevent me from slipping up and cheating.

I feel like a HUGE weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I KNOW I can stick to this taper because I have committed to it with my doctor (as opposed to me just trying it on my own with no one else to deal with if I fail). The other meds prescribed to ease me through any withdrawls I may experience as the taper proceeds will help me overcome the biggest roadblock I experienced when trying to taper on my own. While trying to self-taper, I inevitably took more when I started feeling the old familiar withdrawls creeping in.

After I get tapered down, my doctor WANTS me to keep taking just 4 darvocet a day because I do have some serious spinal issues that he is working on getting fixed. It looks like I am facing some more out-patient non-invasive surgery to mend these messed up discs.

I am so happy tonight that I now have partnered completely and honestly with my doctor and he is helping me without making me feel bad about myself. I have feared for so long to come clean with him that he might cut me off and drop me as a patient.

I hope my experience might help anyone else out there who reads this that honesty with your doctor IS simply the BEST way. I know REACH will vouch for that:)

I know I will sleep much better tonight...

--Lou





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