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Old 08-26-2008, 11:17 AM   #1
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Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

I am slowly coming to accept I am a chronic pain person. I've posted a few times about how to accept this, and it is a sloooooow process. It has been almost a year since my last back surgery and my pain is no better and even worse at times. My surgeons tell me there is nothing they can do for me at this time except send me to my pain management doctor.

I am having a VERY hard time accepting that I need pain medications. I fight and fight taking them to the point where I am in excruciating pain. Why do I fight taking them? Because I grew up with an alcoholic father and I saw what addiction can do to a family.

I have been on/off vicodin for 2 years now. I have never taken them regularly until now. I was able to take only a couple per week, and then weeks without any. But my pain is getting worse and I cannot make it day without taking at least two. But as I said, I fight and fight it. I so don't want to be dependent on any kind of medication. But I have a 2 and 3 year old to take care of and my husband keeps reminding me they are our top proiority and they need a mother to function and care for them. If I could lie in bed all day, then that would be another story.

So, my question is this....how do you all manage to take your pain pills every day and not worry about the dependence you are creating. I know and understand there is a difference btw addiction and dependence. But are you ever afraid of the horrible withdrawal that your body will go through when it is time to get off of them? I worry about this all the time. Do you ever worry that you will develop an addiction to them? I have read so many posts on the addiction board where people started out taking pain pills for actual pain and months later their body began craving the drug more and more. This scares me soooo much. Are there chronic pain people who do take pain medications for years and years and never worry about these things?

Does anyone else worry about these things. Are these just issues all chronic pain people go through?

Thanks so much!

Last edited by 10sox; 08-26-2008 at 11:54 AM.

 
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:20 PM   #2
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Re: Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

10Sox,

This is a very popular subject here on the boards. I think all of us struggle with the idea of being on narcotic medication, possibly for the rest of our lives, at some point in our process. I think a lot depends on whether a person can come to accept that they are chronic, to begin with. I know for me, I had at least 3 very competent doctors, look me in the face, and tell me that there was nothing surgically or medically to cure me or fix me. So, it left me with some very important decisions to make.

It really is a very personal decision. You have to weigh out the pros and the cons very carefully. For me, I knew that I could not function at a level that I needed to, in order to take care of my home and my family, if I chose not to take the meds. My pain was at a level that, without medication, I would not be able to do much more than sit on the couch or lay in bed most of the time. And, I really couldn't imagine living the rest of my life that way. I was 38 years old.

The following is strictly my opinion, and is not meant in any way as a judgement or impression of any particular person........

I think most of the people you have referred to, are probably people who started out with pain from a surgery/injury, but then healed and no longer needed the meds, but continued to take them because of the way they made them feel, not really to aleviate pain. If a person has legitimate, chronic, intractable pain and takes their meds exactly as the doctor prescribes, at all times, then I really don't see much danger of developing a psychological addiction, as opposed to physical dependence.

If there ever comes a time, when or if a person's pain is cured and no longer exists, there are safe and controlled ways of weaning off or tapering down, to the point where the person is med free. If a psychological addiction or attachment to the meds is not there, the weaning process is much more successful. People who have a lot of difficulty tapering or weaning, most often have a psychological attatchment, and this is why it is so hard to give up the meds.

So I guess, in short (too late, LOL), each person has to decide what they need to do, in order to live the best life that they can. If that includes medication, thats fine. If the pain isn't really holding a person back, or keeping them from being able to function, then stopping the meds might be the right choice for them. And that's fine too.

I don't know if I explained this very well or if it helps, but I can try to re-word anything I wrote in a better way, or I can answer any questions you might have about how I explained things. All in all, it's my personal opinion and there are others here, who I'm sure can give you a different perspective. Take care and good luck to you. CMP/MM

 
Old 08-26-2008, 01:12 PM   #3
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Re: Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

I went to a pain doctor. He was able to do spinal blocks and physical therapy so that I was only on mild pain meds for about a year. Now I am off the pain medication and feeling great. I was in AGONY before I went to him. Find a good pain doctor and that will be your key to recovery. Find one that will work with you to find alternatives other than just medication. Tell them from the start you don't want to be a "pain med person". That is what I did. I was very leery at first, but thank G-d now that I went.

 
Old 08-26-2008, 05:42 PM   #4
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Re: Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

This one is a hard one and one that I have been dealing with for the last few months. To be honest, toward the end there was no choice to be made. My pain blew off the charts and I could not be the mother and wife that I needed to be to my family. It took 1/2 the day to get dressed and showered and then another hour to recover from that small amount of activity, something had to be done. Waking up brought on nausea, sitting up brought vomiting, getting out of bed required a 2nd person, etc. I guess you might say I was forced into acceptance.

3 surgeons have said, there is nothing that can be done. I have tried all types of alternative medicines/methods with little relief or very temporary pain relief.

When I went to see my latest dr., she looked at my pain logs and said, you are taking 40 mg. of oxy and I believe when we get done we will be at 120 mg. Well this past week she wanted to move me to 120 and I said no. As the week has progressed, I am thinking I need to move to 120 mg. she was correct.

When I take my meds, I almost want to vomit. It makes me sick but I realize that I don't have a choice. Now I can get out of my hospital bed without assistance/vomiting, I can take a shower and get dressed within 1/2 hour. I can do so much more without feeling the pain of everyday activities. I also know what the alternative is and I don't want to go there again. So for now, I will be dependent on these meds to get thru my daily activities to be the Mom I need to be.

Will I ever accept it? I am not sure to be honest. Maybe it is simply a matter of time -- like needing a hearing aide, using a cane, having a crooked nose from a childhood injury, or a scar on the bottom of my chin. You just accept it too. Maybe it will just become part of life and a part of me that I have no control over.

Whatever the answer is, I know that I will be here to support you and the others as we muddle thru this journey of acceptance and I expect we will have many periods of ups and downs together as we live out this path in life we have been given.

Last edited by ms_west; 08-26-2008 at 05:46 PM.

 
Old 08-26-2008, 08:47 PM   #5
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Re: Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

Yes, Pepper and Cmpgirl are correct.....This is a tough one. And, I don't mean to make it even tougher, but I have a bigger issue with potentially what others think and do vs how I handle things.

Initially, I had a fairly tough time handling my pain and overall situation. It took some time to come to grips with the impact it had on my successful career and etc. One just has to "cope" with it the best they can....Counseling or whatever. For me, one of the things that has helped me the most is the ability to "give back", or help others. This is why I come to this site...I feel like I have something to offer some people, and it helps keep me engaged.....Mentally.

However, I have seen first hand the impact that chronic pain can have on people in terms of their standing in the community. This is why I have chosen to keep it a secret...As much as possible. "Outsiders" just don't understand chronic pain....They don't understand disability....They don't understand what we suffer through. All they see is the outside of us....I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say (about another person) something like "he doesn't look too much in pain, or he doesn't look disabled....And we're paying for it all."

No matter how much you try, they just won't "get it." Therefore, I have chosen to keep it myself....Thus, I have at least avoided the public side of chronic pain. Some may judge me for this, but it's the decision I've made and so far, it's worked in spades. Suffering from CP is bad enough without having to face all the other stuff. Also, you have to guard against the possible threat of someone coming after your meds, or taking advantage of you in other ways.

Again, I don't mean to cloud the issue, but to me, it's all inter-related. Best of luck to you in this endeavor, and if I can help in any way, please let me know.

Regards,

Ex

Last edited by Executor; 08-26-2008 at 09:11 PM.

 
Old 08-27-2008, 12:50 AM   #6
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Re: Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

I have no alternative than to take my medication, weather it is narcotic or not. If I don't take the medication I end up in that much pain that I will be in the Emergency Department of the Hospital crying. Not crying because I have a dependence or because I am addicted. I do not have a choice and there are no other options so I know that I must take my medication on time each day. I wish I could relieve the pain by another means and I have tried lots of other methods, injections, physiotherapy etc, so I do as my doctor prescribes.

Sorry if I sound a bit snappy but I have gone through hell to get to where I am today and I really don't care what anyone else thinks. I have a right to some comfort.

Allan
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25-Nov-2010: ALIF fusion L5-S1. 9 years of Chronic lower back pain. Nearly 18 months of pain across my upper pelvis, through my butt and down my left leg into my foot. Sciatica relieved by surgery.

 
Old 08-27-2008, 04:51 AM   #7
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Re: Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

10sox, Oh I think you have plenty of company in worrying about the meds.
I know I had such a huge problem with that & still do, but have come to except that I have to take pain meds or no life. For me I have no choice, no meds then ER is where I would end up. I cant move & my pain is in my chest so my vitals will skyrocket if I let that chest pain & muscle spasms go. I worried sick over taking the meds, would put it off & like an idiot pay for it.
There is a stigma attatched that even the medical community has issues with. I am learning or trying my best to just accept that I have been told (thus far) that this pain is here to stay. So meds are apart of my life. I dont like others knowing, only the people I trust completely, & that is only a few.
EVen when I go to my GPs I still get an attitude so how can I expect others to understand? So I do what I have to do to have some kind of life.

This board is my saving grace, without it I would be in major depression. We all need someone to turn to & like EX I firmly believe people can in no way comprehend this kind of pain, or that it is part of our daily like & why pain meds are needed. Even for some of the closet people to me it took them to see me with dry heaves or unable to move to even begin to understand.
I hate the meds, I realize that my body has become dependant on them, but not me, my body & there is a difference. I just want some what of a normal life so I do what I have to do. Will I ever except it, I dont know, probably not, but I am learning to live with it one day at a time. So at least you know your not alone. Good luck Sammy

 
Old 08-28-2008, 12:56 AM   #8
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Re: Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

Knowledge is power and your gaining strength here. There is a great book I highly recommend you read. It is appropriately titled, Pain: The Science of Suffering by Dr. Patrick Wall. This was the first book of many that I read on subject and it was as if Dr. Wall understood the question that I had been asking for years..."Why do I still have pain? Are narcotics a cure?" Dr Wall is the co inventor of the TENs unit.

This is truly a journey, I'm on year ten now of mine. I recognize much of what I read here from the tart and terse to the gentle and extroardanary. Only someone here on this board can understand the relationship of where somatic ends and physcosomatic starts...it's the same point that is always, but never. The brain can become so efficient at processing pain that the rest of the equation may no longer matter. The drugs, you may may find, are the only bridge from ..."in your lifetime they'll find a cure for that."

Statistically, drug addicts will be addicted to something way before finding themselves under the knife for orthopedic surgery. If you have addictive tendencies or propensenities then you have valid concerns. Science will tell you that pain patients will metabalize the drugs in a different way and multiple books I've read state addiction rates for true pain patients in the low single digits.

Remember, under the best of conditions, even the healthiest people are just going to die, so it's all about quality of life. Too much pain = no quality of life. Too much drugs = no quality of life. It's a tremendous amount of work to manage chronic pain. You are in charge. You must learn. You must help your doctors help you.

Here's a little note I wrote the other day to express my thanks.
[QUOTE][I]

REMOVED


In closing, I have an ad hoc meeting with my PM Dr. tomorrow. I figured out that after almost a year 40mg/day of Opana ER it was making feel So I quit taking them. I feel better mood wise, but the back pain is a bit intense unless I double up on the Norco.

...now if I could just sleep

Last edited by Mod08; 08-28-2008 at 08:24 AM. Reason: Do not post songs, poems, stories, articles, etc. whether your own or someone else's.

 
Old 08-31-2008, 01:49 AM   #9
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Re: Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

Boy do I understand! I too came from a family where alcohol addiction ruined my fathers life and would have ruined the rest of us if mom hadn't said enough and made him leave. So all my life I have done all I can to stay away from alcohol and any other drug that could make me even close to what he was. So I really relate to you as I struggle with this same issue. I "argue" (not really just loving debate) with my wife everyday when it's time to take my Vicodin. I resist and sometimes win. I shouldn't as my pain level keeps me in bed almost all of my waking hours. (and sleeping too when I can manage to sleep) Sitting, standing, or walking is something I want to do but the pain level escolates so fast I fear doing them let alone the consequences I pay after doing them. I have nerve root damage and severe scar tissue after back surgery that, well let's just say was "difficult" in my neurosurgeons words. So it's been 7 months since surgery and not only can I not work (of course after all this time I lost my job anyway) but I can't do anything with my wife and 3 kids. Life has been sheer hell. I finally got my surgeon to admit that the nerve damage is most likely permanent and is referring me to a PM. So with my quality of life even though I'm scared to death of being dependent on pain meds, I CAN'T KEEP LIVING LIKE THIS!!!

Guess for me it was just finally getting feed up with the pain and my life the way it is that has me turning the corner and RUNNING for pain relief.

Sure hope and pray you can find some kind of peace with this so you can just live the best life you possibly can!

Best Wishes,
Rick

Last edited by ymelord828; 08-31-2008 at 01:56 AM.

 
Old 09-04-2008, 11:46 AM   #10
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Re: Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 10sox View Post
I am slowly coming to accept I am a chronic pain person. I've posted a few times about how to accept this, and it is a sloooooow process. It has been almost a year since my last back surgery and my pain is no better and even worse at times. My surgeons tell me there is nothing they can do for me at this time except send me to my pain management doctor.

I am having a VERY hard time accepting that I need pain medications. I fight and fight taking them to the point where I am in excruciating pain. Why do I fight taking them? Because I grew up with an alcoholic father and I saw what addiction can do to a family.

I have been on/off vicodin for 2 years now. I have never taken them regularly until now. I was able to take only a couple per week, and then weeks without any. But my pain is getting worse and I cannot make it day without taking at least two. But as I said, I fight and fight it. I so don't want to be dependent on any kind of medication. But I have a 2 and 3 year old to take care of and my husband keeps reminding me they are our top proiority and they need a mother to function and care for them. If I could lie in bed all day, then that would be another story.

So, my question is this....how do you all manage to take your pain pills every day and not worry about the dependence you are creating. I know and understand there is a difference btw addiction and dependence. But are you ever afraid of the horrible withdrawal that your body will go through when it is time to get off of them? I worry about this all the time. Do you ever worry that you will develop an addiction to them? I have read so many posts on the addiction board where people started out taking pain pills for actual pain and months later their body began craving the drug more and more. This scares me soooo much. Are there chronic pain people who do take pain medications for years and years and never worry about these things?

Does anyone else worry about these things. Are these just issues all chronic pain people go through?

Thanks so much!
Quite frankly, I think you need to have major help with those kids. I think it is terrible that you are left to deal with picking up babies with a bad back!! I think your husband needs to pitch in as much as possible. I think you need to rest as much as possible.

As far as the pain meds go-if you need them-you need them. I would not worry about dependence. I will tell you why: if you truly need them for pain and are not feeling "high" when on them, you won't have the psychological need for them. You may have a dependence PHYSICALLY, but there is a difference.

I have been taking vicodin for years. I ended up needing to go to a fentanyl patch as the pills would run out in the middle of the night and I would awaken in pain. It would make sleeping impossible, and pain even more as I wouldn't be able to rest-which your body needs terribly.

If you are going to be dealing with this for a long time, you need to get your mind around the fact that it is doing what is best for you and your kids and not what is worst. It is not doing anyone a service if you are in such pain that you are miserable.

Go to a pain mgmt. dr. like your dr. recommended and explain your worries. He or she will be able to address them. Good luck to you.

 
Old 06-06-2010, 09:12 PM   #11
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Re: Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredOTired View Post
Quite frankly, I think you need to have major help with those kids. I think it is terrible that you are left to deal with picking up babies with a bad back!! I think your husband needs to pitch in as much as possible. I think you need to rest as much as possible.

As far as the pain meds go-if you need them-you need them. I would not worry about dependence. I will tell you why: if you truly need them for pain and are not feeling "high" when on them, you won't have the psychological need for them. You may have a dependence PHYSICALLY, but there is a difference.

I have been taking vicodin for years. I ended up needing to go to a fentanyl patch as the pills would run out in the middle of the night and I would awaken in pain. It would make sleeping impossible, and pain even more as I wouldn't be able to rest-which your body needs terribly.

If you are going to be dealing with this for a long time, you need to get your mind around the fact that it is doing what is best for you and your kids and not what is worst. It is not doing anyone a service if you are in such pain that you are miserable.

Go to a pain mgmt. dr. like your dr. recommended and explain your worries. He or she will be able to address them. Good luck to you.
10Sox and all who suffer as we do,
I have suffered with chronic lower back pain for over 37 years, had a spinal fusion L4,L5,S1 32 years ago. In 1983 and 85 I re-injured it pretty bad and ended up in the hospital with it 8 or 9 times now. My back was originally broke while I was in the Army and the Veterans Administration done all the treatment until 2003 when I completely blew up on them and was locked on the mental ward for 9 days. All together they have stuck probably 80 to 90 injections in my back 12 to 15 were Epidurals 3 times they hit nerves no xray machine was used. So if you are a person who elects to have injections Please read about them and make sure your doctor knows what he is doing, they ruined me for life. Now I have no choice but to take ultra high doses of opioids. The thought of addiction does not worry me at all I am only 51 and the doctors say because of all the steroids that have been put in me, my body is that of a 75 year old, so I expect to live less than 15 more years, a person can tell these things after they have been through all I have. The thing that scares me is the tolerance and the DEA playing doctor. All pain suffers should read up on how many innocent pain doctors get their license pulled every year by an over zealous DEA who really can't stop all the drugs from coming in out of the country so they inflate their numbers by busting doctors. Please write your congressman and demand the DEA get out of the medical profession. I'll shut up I've took to much of your time already.
Praying you have a pain free day!! God Bless.
Cabledude

 
Old 07-12-2010, 07:32 AM   #12
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Re: Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

I'm very sorry to hear about your back.

One good thing is that you can at least take narcotic pain meds. I'm allergic to ALL, and my biggest wish in the world would be that I could take them.

I sure wish I had stoped at 0ne back surgery, as I got much worse with each one. If they suggest more in the future please think real hard about it before having another.
I sure hope you will be OK, and I wouldn't hesitate taking pain meds if your body will let you.

 
Old 07-12-2010, 11:15 AM   #13
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Re: Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

Hi there, this is a huge decision, and you will have to weigh out your quality of life, to possibly getting dependant on opiods to live a better, and much more funtionable life. I do not know your situation indebth, but I will say this. For me my accident in 1994,and the 7 surgeries in between then ,and now made my mind up for me. I can finally walk with just a cain now, after being on cruthes fo 3 years. I refuse to be a invilit. I refuse to feel sorry for my self. I want to live the most highest quality of what life I have left to live. I made my mind up 16 years ago I need my MEDS. period. I will always be on them ,and yes I am dependent to them. I do not feel negative about this in any way. I tend to like what EX said. I to live a very low profile life. The only people that I care that understands is my Dad, Mom ,and Son.They support me 100%. They know I need my Meds. Ironically due to my Accident my Son is in his 4th year of Medical College. He will graduate 2014 Lord willing. I will end with this. I Hope the very best for you ,and remember this: Your body will let you know its time to try something else, and do try other alternatives before going to strong opiods, because honestly, once your on the strong ones for few months it is highly likely you will be dependent to them. I really wish the best for you, and I wish you much better health. Sincerely, Painbegone

 
Old 07-19-2010, 06:19 PM   #14
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Re: Pain meds and chronic pain...how do you come to accept this?

10sox,
I am a CP patient after multi spinal fusion surgeries and many other issues and complications for 6 years. Still dislike taking medication around the clock (long acting every 6 hours and brake thru meds every 3-4 hours), but I need my life back. Life is so short and if you need some quality of your life back, you do what you have to do just to survive and be able to enjoy it a little.
Unfortunately even with medication, our bodies get used to them, pain is getting worse as time goes on. This means you need a good Pain Mgmt Dr who will keep you under his care, will see your regularly (usually it ones in 3month after you get established) and when your pain gets worse due to tolerance of medication you be on, he will change them for you, he will increase the dose, will add some anti-spasmodic medication or whatever he/she decided for your case.
This is absolutely not realistic to live your life as CP and not to be under PM Dr care. Who are you kidding, sweetie? You can't fool your pain... The fact that your dad had addiction, doesn't mean you get one, this all up to you.
Like I said i am on it for 6 years around the clock, doses are high and not even once I had a problem with addiction or for not obeying my Doctors orders.
I had wonderful job before this disability, I had wonderful full life, but since I am very realistic person and know that life can change in a split second for all of us, I accepted my new life with uneasy feelings, but do I have a choice? Neither do you unfortunately. So please, do yourself a favor, find a good (very important to have a good one) Pain Mgmt Dr and go from there. Don't be afraid of pills, they will make your life easier, honey. Don't forget that chronic pain can trigger depression and you don't want to open another box of worms, depression is horrible thing as we all know.
Wishing you all the best, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask, I am here for you. Moldova

 
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