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Old 06-07-2008, 07:02 PM   #1
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HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

I won't get into the long version right now.. I'm freaking out. I just got back from the ER and the doctor there said that he didn't believe I was in pain and was going to report me to the State. I live in California. What happens from here?

A little history... I do have a history of rx abuse, mostly vicodin and norco. I also have a valid history of kidney stones, various surgeries and other problems that have required narcotics. And to be honest, this trip was not about a kidney stone. It was about getting some medications...

What's going to happen? I'm terrified right now. I know I got myself into this mess, believe me, I know, but please, right now I just need to know if this has happened to anyone and what happens from here.

 
Old 06-07-2008, 07:16 PM   #2
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

One more thing... I have never doctor shopped in the sense of going around to different doctors for the same condition. What I have done in the past is go to the ER for kidney pain, GI pain, whatever, and gotten meds that way. I've only been to a handful of ER's over the past like 10 years and it's not like I do this every month. But, I do it nonetheless and I know it's wrong. I also have a primary doc who prescribes me norco each month for a GI condition. I don't see anyone else but him as a doctor, with the exception of my urologist - who, by the way, every time I've seen him and he's given me meds it's been b/c I have a legitimate kidney stone and usually require stent surgery. So he's never given me meds for something that isn't there so to speak.

I'm just worried that all of the ER visits will get me in huge trouble...

 
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:30 PM   #3
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

all that will happen is your name will be put on a watch list, so doctors know to be uber careful if you turn up looking for drugs

 
Old 06-08-2008, 10:13 AM   #4
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

The doctor said something like he "would find out what's going on here" after he reports me. I was thinking that they would do an investigation into my medical/medication history and all of that, and then contact my doctors (primary care and urologist) about things, etc. Although I didn't think that they could contact this guy again and tell him the results of an investigation? That's kind of what it sounded like to me... I've heard of people doctor shopping on here and they had charges pressed against them so somehow the state found out about them and I thought this was how... someone reports you, they investigate and find out everything.

I really hope all that happens is that I'm put on some list where hospitals and doctors are aware of this incident!

 
Old 06-09-2008, 12:18 PM   #5
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

What did you go to the ER for? I think I need some more info before I can comment.

Did you list all your Docs, or is this info available to him/them.

Ex

 
Old 06-09-2008, 01:15 PM   #6
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

I went to the ER for kidney pain/stone pain. I tried to give the ER doc my urologist's information and he wouldn't take it. He literally said "I can make my own decisions". Then I tried to give him my old primary care docs information as I had just come from her house from eating lunch together... she used to work at this same hospital and he wouldn't contact her either, or even take her information. He wouldn't take any info I offered him, and all the info I was trying to give him was legit.

I live in southern California but was up the SF area for work and visiting family so I went to the hospital that was close to my mom's place, which is the same place that I'd been to before in the past - but I'd never been there for anything requiring pain meds or any controlled substances at all. I've been there for anorexia and re-feeding/heart problems,etc. Like I said before, I do legitimately have kidney stones but this time I didn't have one - it was just about getting medications. He did a CT scan and of course nothing showed up and he said that I was fine and that "anything and everything" would show up on a CT scan, which I know is not true because I've passed stones that didn't show up on a scan and yet I caught them and had much pain from them. Also, that's something that any urologist would say is not true as well...

Let me know if you need anymore info. I decided to leave a message for my urologist to call me back and I'm going to tell him what happened w/this doctor b/c I think if this guy does report me to the State of CA and they do an investigation on me that they'll contact my doctors to get documentation for the meds that have been prescribed to me. I've also done the same with my primary care doc and I'm waiting for both of them to call back right now..

One more thing that I found out online... California is one state that requires "triplicates" for controlled substance prescriptions. Each doctor is required to submit one of the triplicates to a database or some sort of govt. monitored system, so they have all of the prescriptions that have been written for me up to this date. I read somewhere that at any point if they look at someone's info and think something is up that they can do an investigation just off of the triplicates being reported. So, they've had my info this whole time and haven't conducted an investigation that I'm aware of, although they may have looked into things, who knows. So given that they've had this info maybe they've already determined things are legit? I don't know, I think I'm just fooling myself with that one. I've definitely been scared straight with this, no matter what the outcome. NO MORE ER visits for me unless I have a kidney stone!!

Last edited by lizzy76; 06-09-2008 at 01:23 PM. Reason: forgot something

 
Old 06-09-2008, 07:38 PM   #7
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

Thanks for sharing more information as it definitely helps. I think you did the right thing by being proactive in calling your Docs. You have done nothing wrong technically. When they call, here's what I would do:

I would tell each of them what happened....That you went to the ER over the weekend due to pain...Tell them it was escalating and you felt really bad. I would mention that as you've gotten older and the more you have these things, the pain seems to be getting worse and there is less and less you can tolerate....This is a fact about pain in general.

I would tell them both that you were humiliated and the whole visit was very demeaning. Tell them that this Doc seemed to have chip on his shoulder and refused to take the information you offered for supporting evidence. If he would have stopped long enough to listen and call one of them, things would have been different. Tell them he started saying all this stuff about reporting you and that you did nothing wrong. I would tell them that if you can't go to the ER for extreme pain, then it's a sad time we're in.

It's very plausible that he is just trying to scare you. In fact, he has NO EVIDENCE that you were not in pain.....Especially since all your facts lined up. In order to go after someone for obtaining meds by false pretenses, you've got to have some serious evidence....Like a completely fabricated story with NO medical rationale...Even then, it's shaky because you can't measure pain. About the only way you can get people on these charges is by Doc shopping all over town for the same condition when none of them know about each other. Your case is completely different.....You have a HISTORY of these type of problems and if he had not been so arrogant, he could have figured it all out.

I feel like both your Docs will be appreciative that you called them. They both sound like understanding Docs anyway. After all, it's always best to be out in front of things when they happen....So, if someone does call them, they will have heard from you first and they can probably nip the whole thing in the bud by simply telling them you are legit and have a medical history.

Just curious....Was this ER Doc a young wipersnapper, or an older doc?

Good luck.

Ex

Last edited by Executor; 06-09-2008 at 07:44 PM. Reason: Added Text

 
Old 06-09-2008, 08:55 PM   #8
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

Thanks Exec! I really appreciate your reply. Very helpful. I am 100% positive that this doctor is going to report me. He was so confrontational - talking in a loud voice, but not yelling, so that everyone could hear... my mom (a nurse) came towards the end of this whole thing and she was just appalled by this guy. I think maybe I spent too much time trying to get him to call my doctors, to check my history, etc, and that just ****** him off even more.

Well I talked with my primary doc today and he was somewhat reassuring. I told him what happened and said that must have been a scary thing... and it was, not just b/c of the fear of being investigated, but the fear of what if I atcually had a kidney stone and this happened to me.

Anyway, he said that all that would happen is that the doctor would call the state and get a record of who had been prescribing to me (I think he must also get a list of what's been prescribed) and that they wouldn't investigate me. He said that they look for things like doctor shopping (he didn't use that term though) and more so they look for falsified rx's, which I have never done. He was really understanding of things and did not question me on anything - he's the one who prescribes me norco each month.

The thing that I'm worried about is that there have been times that I've gotten a months prescription from my primary doc and then had a kidney stone and also got an rx from my urologist. And then I've had some rx's from ER's at times as well and I'm worried about all of that. But, then again, I do have a legitimate medical history for stuff... my last kidney stent surgery was in Feb of this year (and the one prior to that was 9/07), and my last major abdominal surgery (15 staples) was in March of this year, so I've had a lot of stuff going on that have definitely required pain meds. Same thing last year... I had two major abdominal surgeries and one kidney stent surgery, plus another kidney stone that didn't require surgery.

So I don't know, even if they see some multipule rx's there is documentation for them... and I haven't doctor shopped - same primary care doc, same urologist all the time. My primary care doc prescribes the norco for the abdominal condition and the urologist takes care of the kidney stuff, although I know I should be getting rx's from just one doctor no matter what. And then there have been a couple of ER visits in between the real stuff that were honestly just looking for meds, or wanting something stronger like IV dilaudid.

With all of this happening, well this is my rock bottom. I've thought that I hit rock bottom before but I hadn't... I always went back to pills and the ER. NO MORE! This has scared me straight. Seriously. There is no lingering feeling like there was before when I "hit rock bottom"... no desire this time to seek meds when I don't need them!

Oh, and exec... the doctor wasn't super young but he looked about 40-45 years old.

Last edited by lizzy76; 06-09-2008 at 09:00 PM. Reason: added something else

 
Old 06-10-2008, 08:31 AM   #9
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

Quote:
Originally Posted by lizzy76 View Post
Thanks Exec! I really appreciate your reply. Very helpful.
No problem. When you're in pain and meds run low, it can cause a lot of anxiety & etc. so I can see your position. As you've indicated here, be careful moving forward. As I said previously, calling your Docs was a very smart thing.

Quote:
I am 100% positive that this doctor is going to report me.
Like your Doc said, unless there is some real shaddy stuff going on, you'll be fine. Your biggest issue will be if one of the two Docs cut you off moving forward. Stick to your story of being in pain and that's why you went to the ER. Tell them the Norco just wasn't cutting it and on top of that, you were getting lots of anxiety, which happens when you're in pain

Quote:
The thing that I'm worried about is that there have been times that I've gotten a months prescription from my primary doc and then had a kidney stone and also got an rx from my urologist. And then I've had some rx's from ER's at times as well and I'm worried about all of that.
As long as there is medical documentation for your condition(s), you'll be fine. Doc shopping only comes into play when you go to two or more different Docs for the exact same condition within a short period of time. IF someone from the state starts digging and they see surgery and etc., they'll back off quick. Who knows, he may have just been trying to scare you....After all, he had NO EVIDENCE whatsoever and you can't go around accusing people of stuff without evidence. Just because you go to the ER for pain and nothing shows up on the scan doesn't mean crap. After all, you just had surgery in March. I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't trying to send you a message of possible drug seeking and "don't come back here any more type of thing." Especially since you recently had surgery, he has a lot of gall to accuse you of something to the state in any kind of an official manner.

Quote:
So I don't know, even if they see some multipule rx's there is documentation for them... and I haven't doctor shopped - same primary care doc, same urologist all the time. My primary care doc prescribes the norco for the abdominal condition and the urologist takes care of the kidney stuff, although I know I should be getting rx's from just one doctor no matter what.
Again, I think you'll be fine because there is a very clear medical history and documentation paper trail. And, there is no law or requirement to get pain meds from just one Doc....That only applies if you are in a pain mgt program being prescribed pain meds for chronic conditions and you sign a contract agreeing to do so. This does not apply to you or anyone else.

Quote:
And then there have been a couple of ER visits in between the real stuff that were honestly just looking for meds, or wanting something stronger like IV dilaudid.
If you're in legitimate pain, then you should talk to your Doc about something a little stronger or a long acting med. But that's up to you.

Best of luck to you.

Ex

Last edited by Executor; 06-10-2008 at 08:34 AM.

 
Old 06-10-2008, 02:32 PM   #10
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to reply to my post. You have helped put my mind at ease a bit, although I think I'll be on edge for awhile about this, just waiting for the other shoe to drop so to speak!

I haven't heard back from my urologist yet and I left him a message yesterday morning. He's usually really good about calling back in the same day so I think if I don't hear from him today I'll call him again tomorrow. I just want to make sure I talk to him about this before he hears it from someone else. My primary doc was very understanding about things and hopefully he will be too!

I do know that this guy will report me or check on me or whatever it is he can do. He was really ****** off because I kept trying to give him my docs contact info, my medical history, etc, and he didn't want to hear any of it. He was quite upset about things... when my mom got there he took into my room and told me to "talk to her about what's going on and he'd come back and talk to her after I was done". I told him no way - that I had nothing to say to her that I didn't want him to hear so he stayed... I was trying to explain things and he kept interrupting just about everything I said and was very rude to my mom as well. At one point I said that I just wanted help and that he wasn't helping me.. boy did that upset him... he very clearly stated (in a loud voice) that they did "treat me" and didn't turn me away. I know he was making it clear that he didn't break the law because he did see me and I wasn't turned away from coming into the ER, although I was turned away from any help in my opinion (very scary if this were a real kidney stone). So yeah, I *know* he reported me. I was so flustered in trying to give him my kidney stone history that I forgot to mention the major surgery I had in March!

One thing that may work against me is that I did try to stop taking pills and was on suboxone for a little while. If they see that they could just assume I'm an addict... but then again, like I've said I have had a lot of surgeries recently and for a good deal of the time I did need meds, but at the same time I'm not denying that I have a problem here with taking meds when I don't need them and/or taking too many at once. And this information has been on file in that triplicate database thing this whole time so hopefully they've already reviewed it and okay'd it... I think the only reason it would be okay'd would be due to the multiple surgeries I've had. I had that abdominal one in March, but with the kidney stone I had in February of this year I had to have 3 stent surgeries for it because of problems and complications.

There are times with a kidney stone that I have needed stronger meds than norco or percocet and ironically I hate going to the ER each time that happens - it's just too long of a wait and the pain is too awful to wait that long so I would like to have something stronger on hand to take in those cases, but I don't think I'd ask my doctor for anything like that because I honestly don't know if I'd take it when I don't need it or abuse it. It's funny though because at one point about a year ago my primary gave me a small prescription for Dilaudid and when I took it I didn't get any sort of high from it, but whenever I've had the IV form of it I get high as a kite. Funny how that works...

 
Old 06-10-2008, 06:02 PM   #11
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

Hi.

The ER doc said that to scare you. He did a pretty good job, didn't he? Personally, I don't think you have much to worry about. I have been told that primary care doctors understand your condition better and will ignore any "reports from other doctors." Besides, as busy as the ER is, when is the doctor going to find time to report you? He probably forgot it about 15 minutes after seeing you.

My sister in law is a nurse practitioner. She works in the ER and says that she can detect 95% of the people that are just trying to get pain meds to get high. A warning sign is if they are some distance away from their home (it's a red flag for the doc). She said that she has heard of people driving 300 miles to an ER in another city to get the meds (hard to believe, isn't it?).

I am an addict, and I came clean with my doctor. Now, I can't get pain meds at all, but it seems that over the counter meds work well enough for my condition. The pain is not severe enough to effect my quality of life. Your story, however, is different.

As an addict, I MUST advise you to tell the truth to your doctor. It is paramount that WE as addicts tell the truth to start our recovery. Addiction, as I have experienced it, is riddled with lies and deceit. You are off to a good start by telling US the truth, as hard as it is.

From what I know (can't verify the truth of it) is if you tell an ER doc that you have excruciating pain and he doesn't give you any medication, it is a lawsuit (in your favor) waiting to happen. My sister-in-law told me that she must give out the meds if the patient insists that the pain is a 9-10, even if she thinks they are faking it. One time, she got into big trouble when she refused and the patient complained.

Good luck.

mike

Last edited by mk7657; 06-10-2008 at 06:15 PM. Reason: Some other thoughts

 
Old 06-10-2008, 09:25 PM   #12
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

Quote:
Originally Posted by mk7657 View Post
From what I know (can't verify the truth of it) is if you tell an ER doc that you have excruciating pain and he doesn't give you any medication, it is a lawsuit (in your favor) waiting to happen. My sister-in-law told me that she must give out the meds if the patient insists that the pain is a 9-10, even if she thinks they are faking it. One time, she got into big trouble when she refused and the patient complained.
I've said all along that this Doc had no evidence that you weren't in pain.....Just becuase a test is inconclusive, doesn't mean squat. I think he was trying to scare you into not coming back to his ER and if you have legitimate pain, to handle it through other channels.

Again, if anyone were to start digging, once they see all the surgeries and etc., the investigation won't last long. All your GP has to say is that she's in pain, and that's the end. I'm not going to judge you because I believe you are in pain...You have to be given all that has happened. The other thing people have to keep in mind is that there is a difference between "addiction" and "dependence." I'm guessing you most certainly have a "dependence" issue given your long term exposure to pain meds. This also leads to "tolerance" which means meds like Norco don't work very well, or at all.

My suggestion moving forward is to see what happens here...Talking to both your Docs was an excellent preemptive move and then follow the rules to a T on pain meds....You don't want to risk losing your access to meds. Additionally, I'd talk to your GP about maybe something stronger to keep you from having to use the ER and avoid situations like this all together. Tell him that at times, the pain is really bad and that's why you have gone to ERs.

Lastly, if things don't improve @ some point, you may look into a pain mgt program somewhere. However, keep in mind that they are almost always very strict and following the rules is a must or you get discharged.

Best of luck to you moving forward.

Ex

Last edited by Executor; 06-10-2008 at 09:26 PM.

 
Old 06-10-2008, 10:06 PM   #13
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

lizzy, after reading this whole thread, i must say that i really believe the dr. was just trying to scare you--he was an ***. i would report him to the hospital administrator, because of the way he treated you and your mom. with your history, he had no reason that i read here ,that would make him act like that. he probably had just dealt with a pt. right before you that was trying to con drugs from him, and maybe he took it out on you. what if something was truly wrong?? he deserves to be at least reprimanded for his behavior, and maybe he'll think twice before he treats someone else that way! now, if you are truly taking these drugs as needed for real pain--you wouldn't be posting on an addiction forum. do your dr.s know that you were on sub? with opiates, if you keep taking them constantly (when not in pain)--you only drive up your tolerance and make them ineffective for when you really do need them. after long term abuse--they don't work at all and just keep you from going into withdrawl. what are you going to do if something does happen--like a real stone or surgery? norco's aren't gonna do a thing--and i seriously doubt that your dr.s will give you a supply of dilaudid. you need to think about this! but i really think that dr. forgot about you 15min after you left.

 
Old 06-10-2008, 10:37 PM   #14
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

I think Kellibear makes a lot of excellent points. I'd be very tempted to fight fire with fire and go on the offensive. But, that's up to you. It may be best to lay low if your Docs are ok with everything. However, I'd definitely let them both know how upset you are.

The more I think about your situation, the more I think he was trying to scare you. I mean, how pompous is someone who scoffs @ you re: your documentation and medical history.....The translation to me is "I know everything....I don't care what you have, who I should call." All he had decided was that nothing showed up on the scan, so "get out"! He has no claim or proof whatsoever.

Granted, some of your scripts & etc may take some explaining, but you have an excellent paper trail of medical documentation. You can always play dumb if needed. Since you're not officially in pain mgt, going to one Doc only for meds does not apply to you.

Ex

Last edited by Executor; 06-10-2008 at 10:43 PM.

 
Old 06-11-2008, 04:38 PM   #15
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Re: HELP! An ER doc said he's reporting me

I may just be really paranoid (I guess guilt can do that to me!) but I really do think that the doctor reported me. I haven't heard anything yet from anyone regarding this, but the interaction between me and the doctor and then my mom and the doctor got a little "heated" at times and I'd say the whole thing lasted about 10 minutes and the guy was very upset when we were done. He also kept saying that he had a "gut feeling" that something just wasn't right and that he was going to find out what was going on. When he would say that he had this look on his face like "you are so beneath me and I've caught you now" kind of thing. It's hard to explain everything but I guess the easiest way is to say that if you were there you'd be pretty sure he's going to report me as well. It was his demeanor, his tone of voice, his words, body language, everything, that makes me sure he's going to do it.

I just got off the phone with my urologist and he was upset. He told me that I need to be an advocate for myself and write a letter to the hospital about this guy. He said that if this guy does do anything that he'll give me documentation of my history and to not worry about anything. That was a relief. Now I've talked to both of my doctors and things are okay with both of them. My urologist was super supportive and that was a relief because I really like him as a doctor - he's understanding and caring and very gentle... oh, and kind of good looking too I was afraid to lose him as a urologist - doctors like him are hard to come by. And this has nothing to do with any pills or medications.. he's just a good doctor and a good guy.

Regarding what both kellibear and exec said about building up tolerance for meds and then running into really needing them for something... That's something that's been actively on my mind for awhile. I've actually had a situation(s) where I was in serious pain and the meds weren't working well at all because of the tolerance I had built - and that tolerance was built by taking too many meds when I didn't need to take them. That served as a reality check to me and set me straight for a period of time but then I slowly went back to increasing my meds again. I hate to admit that but it's the truth. However, this current situation has scared me SOOOO much that I will never ever go to the ER unless I absolutely need to! For a day or two after this happened I couldn't even eat - my stomach was in knots about this. I had visions of the police searching my apartment, going through stuff on my computer, coming to my work to search things, etc.

I've thought a lot about writing a letter to that hospital. I'm really torn on this. The better part of me is saying just lay low and move on. I dodged a huge bullet here and I should just be grateful that I think/hope I'm coming out of this okay - keeping my doctors, etc. But there's also that part of me that's upset about the way he treated me. I know that may sound weird or wrong or like I'm upset at the doctor for not giving me meds... that's not what I'm saying. I'm upset that I was treated this way in this situation because there was nothing to show or say that I wasn't in pain and in need of help. I've presented this way in the ER before and it was the real deal, so that's what bothers me. This guy is going around treating people without taking their full history (the only thing he knew or would listen to was that I had prior kidney stones), without calling the patient's own doctor and specialist, and without calling in a specialist at the hospital.

Exec - I had to laugh at your translation below ""I know everything....I don't care what you have, who I should call." He basically did say that! When I was trying to give him two different doctors to call he refused to take their information and said "I can make my own decisions". I wish I had said something like "oh so you're a urologist?" followed by "oh you're not? well then what's your specialty" and then "oh so you're not a specialist, you're just a doctor".... Of course had I said anything like that I might as well have just sent the report to the State myself!

I think I'll still be worried about this until some time has gone by and I haven't heard anything. Thank you all for your replies and support and thoughts on this whole situation. I know it's kind of complicated... addiction vs dependence, needing pain meds for real stuff but also knowing that I abuse the meds... it's such a fine line to walk and I hope that someday I won't need to take any meds, or that I can find an alternative to taking pain meds...

Last edited by lizzy76; 06-11-2008 at 04:40 PM.

 
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