Monday, March 10, 2014

Pain Management

I've been talking with friends and acquaintances recently about pain medication and it seems that doctors are getting more and more reluctant to prescribe pain meds.  One friend told me that heroin addiction is on the rise among senior citizens because they can't get adequate pain medication from their doctors and apparently heroin is cheaper than buying pain meds on the street.  How scary is that?  And how sad?

I have a friend that recently had a total knee replacement.  She had her other knee done a while ago and after that surgery, her orthopedic surgeon prescribed Vicodin for her to take before physical therapy appointments because the therapy was so painful.  This time, he has refused to do that for some reason.  She told me that at her last appointment with him, he was complaining how many of his patients have been cancelling their physical therapy appointments.  He didn't seem to get that the reason they are cancelling may be related to his refusing to prescribe pain meds for that purpose.  Duh.  Patients don't want to do very painful therapy without any pain medication.  Imagine that.

My friend is supposed to do physical therapy once a week for eight to 12 weeks.  She wants two Vicodin per week.  Sixteen to 24 pills.  Seriously, no one is going to get addicted taking two Vicodin a week.  I don't think it would be possible to abuse two Vicodin a week.  I guess you can get a slight buzz off two Vicodin, although you probably wouldn't even get that if you abused Vicodin on any kind of a regular basis.

Another friend offered to give me a few Vicodin that he had left from something, I think having some dental work done.  I told him that if I could have two, that would be super.  I was imagining one night of being able to sleep without pain keeping me awake.  Today, he gave me 10.

I can't even explain how precious those 10 pills seem to me.  They were in an envelope.  I brought them home, found an empty pill bottle to keep them in, tore off the corner of that envelope and poured them into the bottle.  I always label any container I store meds in other than the original bottle, so I made a sky blue label for the bottle.  I set the bottle on my kitchen counter for the day.  I thought of putting it on my alter.

At bedtime, I straightened out my covers, turned down the lights, and took two Vicodin along with one of my few remaining Flexeril.  Twenty minutes later, I lay down and I didn't hurt.  I didn't fall asleep and I kind of didn't want to.  I just wanted to enjoy the feeling.  I was able to lay in one position for a long time.  My arms didn't hurt.  My hands didn't hurt.  My hips didn't hurt.   My toe didn't hurt.  How stupid does that sound?  But my little toe on my right foot has been hurting a lot.

I felt a little sad because really, how sad is it that it's been a long, long time since I was able to lie still for a while without hurting?  It's been a little over a year since I had any Vicodin.  It's been a month since I came off the Tramadol, but that didn't allow me to lie down at night without pain.  It just made the pain more bearable.  But gods, does it feel good right now.  One night without pain.  Priceless.

Edited to add: So I slept really, really well last night.  I woke up feeling rested.  I noticed when I got up this morning that my blankets were still neatly arranged.  Usually, they are all twisted into knots when I wake up.  Apparently last night, I didn't twist and turn all night like I usually do.  It is so amazing to wake up actually feeling rested.


  1. Why do you have so much pain?

    1. Several reasons. I have degenerative disk disease and a herniated disk in my back. I have osteoarthritis in both knees and both hands. Recently I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

  2. I'm glad for that night of no pain for you Kelly. As a fellow sufferer of chronic and now pretty much constant, pain I know how precious and restorative those treasured nights can be.

    It's disgusting that the powers that be have decided that because of the wreckage caused by the actions of the few (who abuse their meds), the majority (who use their meds without abusing them) must suffer so extremely and so needlessly.