Friday, January 22, 2010

Chronic pain, narcotics and the DEA

I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since I posted. I'm glad this is a goal and not a resolution because I'd be in trouble with the resolution police. :-) I've had an awful case of bronchitis and it has finally started breaking up. I've stopped feeling like I was going to cough my toenails up so I think that means I'm better.

During my down time with the bronchitis I got the call I had been waiting on for months. No, Publisher's Clearinghouse didn't call. Something even better to a chronic pain sufferer. Dr. DeFlumere's office called the morning of the 14th and said they had a cancellation at 4:00 that day. This Southern Lady promptly took it and got there early - and I'm never early. On time but never early. :-) You see, Dr. DeFlumere is my pain management specialist. I've been on the waiting list to see her since mid October. For someone with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Rheumatoid Arthritis, a pain management specialist is a very important person. I have reached a point in my illness where only narcotics relieve the pain - they don't make it go away but they do make it bearable to a point where I can function. Those of us in this situation find it hard to get the narcotics that we need to treat our pain because of our wonderful lawmakers in Washington and the DEA. Our internal medicine physicians and even our specialists refuse to write prescriptions for narcotics for the treatment of chronic pain, even tho they feel prescribing these drugs is warranted, because of threats by the DEA to take away their licenses for doing so. Pain management specialist are there to take up the slack and stand up for our right to not be in pain. However there are so many people with chronic pain and so few doctors willing to work in pain management that it takes months, if not years, to get in with one and get your treatment started.

I hope that 2010 will bring a time of change and awareness about the differences between addiction and dependence. I am not nor are my friends with chronic pain disorders addicted to our drugs. We don't take them to get "high", we take them to function. We would rather not take them but we do so that we can have some level of "normal" in our lives. These drugs allow us to take care of our families, to be wives, mothers and grandmothers, to volunteer at our churches and in our communities. We want to be contributing members of society.

Yes, I am dependent on my narcotics but I am no different than a diabetic who is dependent on their insulin. No one would ever say that a diabetic is addicted to their insulin. Why can't chronic pain sufferers get the same compassion and respect?

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