The one where I bitch about how much it sucks to be me

Except not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m gonna totally be bitching about stuff that I have to deal with that sucks and even pisses me off, but even though I have to deal with it and it stresses me out and all that happy horse shit, I completely realize that there are other people dealing with far worse things. So, really? I know it doesn’t suck to be me. It’s merely inconvenient sometimes.

Now, without further adieu, ON TO THE BITCHING!!! 😀

Now, some of you may or may not know that I deal with chronic pain on a daily basis. Going on 7 years or so now, I’ve been in pain EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. There is no reprieve. The only semi-relief I get is the fact that I can walk most days and seem to be ok. Today is looking to NOT be one of those days and it’s pissing me off.

Just a little history, in case you’re curious. If not, skip this part. Back when my ex-husband was in the ARMY, I started getting sharp pains in the lower right quadrant of my abdomen. After a week, I realized that the pain had never completely gone away, just got less intense. That was when I started going to doctors to see what the hell was going on. (This is either 2002 or 2003. I’m having some trouble remembering exactly right now.) Here I am in 2010 and I still don’t have a definite answer as to what’s going on. I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS, Endometriosis, Diverticulosis (or Diverticulitis, I can never remember which it is) and Interstitial Cystitis. ALL of which can cause intense abdominal pain.

Fucking awesome, right?

Anyway, since being diagnosed with all of those oh-so-fun things, I’ve been placed on a variety of pain killers and been treated a variety of ways, all while still undergoing testing to determine what exactly is going on. (Seems that while all of those diagnoses can cause pain, NONE of them should be causing me the type and strength pain of I’ve been dealing with. Yeah… I don’t quite get it, either.) When I lost my job with the hospital ambulance service and lost my insurance, any and all testing and prescriptions stopped as I lost my medical insurance. Some of you may remember back about a year and a half ago when I was bald? Yeah, that was due to a prescription I was on.)

Fast forward to now. I have medical insurance now and have had it for almost a year. I have yet to actually start seeing a doctor again due to either A- never having the money to cover my co-pays, B- Not knowing who the hell my doctor actually IS cuzz they left the practice and another took their place or C- not being able to actually GET to the office. (As I’ve said before, 2009 was a pretty shitty year.) I haven’t had an active prescription for pain killers since August 2008 and I haven’t undergone any testing since roughly the same time.

And now I get to the bitching part. You can continue reading now if you skipped over the ginormous history lesson I just gave you. Who knows? There may come a time when you actually may need to be well versed in all of my medical bullshit and you’ll be HAPPY you read all that! Probably not, but play along. It’s more fun that way.

So, since I happened to have gotten tired of being poked and prodded, I’ve stalled going back to the doctor. Granted the 3 reasons listed above were pretty damned good for not going, there may have been a time or two when I had no excuse to not go other than I was scared and didn’t want to. Like I said, it’s been over a year since I’ve had an active prescription for pain meds and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t concerned about how I might be treated.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard nothing but good things about this doctor that has taken the place of the one I used to see. What worries me is that I might go in there and be treated like one of those people. The people who have been labeled drug seekers for whatever reason. Usually, the people who are labeled drug seekers have earned the title. They may have earned it by visiting the ER one too many times saying that their in *insert type of pain here* and they need help. Maybe they earned it by trying to get their pain meds refilled earlier than they should be. Maybe they visited multiple ERs in search of drugs. Whatever the reason, once you’re labeled a drug seeker, it’s hard to shake.

Now, to my knowledge, I’ve yet to earn that title. I ran out of my meds early once due to being so spectacularly graceful. I’ve learned to close the drain if I’m going to open any pill bottles near a sink. o_O Other than that, I’ve never tried to refill anything early, I’ve never refused any test or treatment that has been thrown my way, I’ve never gone to multiple ERs or doctors in order to get more pills… I should be all good as far as being a patient is concerned. However, I had an experience about 2 or so years ago that has made me very leery of telling any doctor that I’m in pain.

So, the time that I lost most of my pain pills down the drain cuzz I’m full of The Awesome? Well, I wasn’t able to get an appointment to see my doctor until 2 weeks after cuzz the scheduling people in the office didn’t seem to understand that I was full on admitting that I screwed up and ran out of my pills early. Rather they seemed to think that I had run out early cuzz I have taken them all and was now trying to get more. (An entire months worth of Dilaudid in a week? Heh. If they hadn’t gone down my drain, I would have had quite a nice little money ball in my hands.)

So, I had been with out my pain meds for about a week and a half and still had, like, another week to go before I saw the doctor so I could explain what happened and see about maybe getting a refill or sample of something until my insurance would approve a refill. While I was at work, the pain that I had been tolerating decided that it wanted to be the center of attention and I wound up not being able to walk by the time I was supposed to leave. I was able to get a hold of the answering service for my doctor and get permission to go to the ER at one of the satellites of the main hospital that I worked at. Awesome.

One of the medics wheeled me down in my office chair, which made me turn red with embarrassment and giggle a little cuzz that’s one of the things I do when I’m nervous. Since I couldn’t smoke inside, chain-smoking was out of the question, so giggling was pretty much all I had. By the time we got down to the ER patient intake place, I wasn’t giggling anymore, which was probably a good thing. They put a bracelet on me and since it wasn’t busy right then, they wheeled me into triage.

That’s where things got interesting.

The nurse asked my name and I told her like I was supposed to. Nothing weird there. She asked to see my bracelet so she could make sure she had the spelling correct and as she was filling in my information, she asked me a question. She asked if So-and-so was my father. When I said that he was, she decided to tell me how she knew him. Seems she had treated him 20-some years before for chronic migraines.

Now, if you know ANYTHING about HIPAA laws, you know that she was breaking pretty much every one of them at this point.

I listened to her talk and didn’t really say anything. She kept going on and on about how she thought he was a nice guy and that she would sometimes see him several times a week in the ER, trying to get help for his migraines. She pretty much talked about him the entire time I was with her.

I waited in the room for at least an hour before the doctor came back to see me. Remember when I said it wasn’t busy? As far as I know, it didn’t get busy in the time it took me to go from triage to the room to wait, so there was really no reason for it to take the doctor so long to get back to see me. I was annoyed, but I didn’t act like it cuzz I know things could have changed and gotten busy or he could’ve been giving a report or any number of other things could have happened that would have delayed him.

When he got in there, he asked me why I wasn’t in a gown. I told him that I was told I didn’t need to be in a gown. He yelled at me a little about needing to give me an exam and told me to change. I did as I was told and then waited for another 30 minutes.

When he came in the second time, Greg and Alex were there. He asked me about what was going on and I explained everything. He looked at me and asked me, with a straight face, why I hadn’t had a hysterectomy. I told him he needed to ask my doctors that cuzz I had no clue. I’d been telling every doctor I came across since the pain started that I would be more than willing to get a hysterectomy, but I’m always told that I’m “too young” and that I’m going to want “more and more babies”.

*cough*

At that point, he told me to lay down and he pressed on my stomach. I told Greg to take Alex out to the waiting room, thinking that it would be kinda awkward for him to be in the room while I was having one of those oh-so-lovely girly exams. The doctor said there was no need. He was ordering a blood test to make sure that I didn’t have ANY drugs in my system and depending on the outcome, he’d be back to maybe give me some pain medication. When I stared at him like he had just took a massive shit right then and there, he told me that he suspected I was a drug seeker and that there had been an indication in my chart that there was a “history”. (Yeah, he actually made air quotes.)

By that point, I was so completely frustrated and in so much fucking pain, that I started crying. Anyone who knows me knows that tears in public are NOT an option. Unless I’m drunk, in which case once they start, they may not stop.

Another 45 minutes later, my drug test came back fine, he gave me a shot of Dilaudid and made sure Greg had the car keys.

I can only assume that the reference in my chart came from the nurse who asked me about my father. Before that, the only time I had been to that ER was when one of the EMTs decided to try to kill me by exploding a fire extinguisher at me, so there would have been nothing there about me seeking drugs for pain. I had only been to ANY ER for pain one time previously and that had been at least a year before I started working where I was. I did EVERYTHING I was asked to by all of my doctors, so there would be nothing in any medical chart saying that I was a drug seeker. The only option left would be that nurse.

Ever since then, I’ve been scared to death that I’m gonna be labeled a seeker. And that makes me scared to even go see the new doctor that took over the practice I go to. After that, I was nervous every time I had to refill my prescription. Scared that the pharmacist was going to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to get my meds cuzz a red flag had popped up by my name.

Maybe I’ll have gotten over it by Monday and I’ll call and see about maybe getting in that morning, if possible. As it is, I can’t stand up straight right now. If this continues, I may end up in the ER again. I doubt it, though.

Once a seeker, always a seeker, right?

I’ve been thinking some of suicide,
But there’s bars out here for miles…

-Dear Chicago by Ryan Adams (Calm down, it’s just the lyric that stuck in my head this morning.)



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