I can't eat. I can't sleep. Every few seconds, my legs twitch and jerk. My body feels as if it has been invaded by an army of red ants. I know what is happening. I am going through withdrawal. Except I am not a drug addict.
I am a 65-year old woman, wife and mother, who has been a chronic pain patient for more than 15 years. For most of that time, I have been very, very lucky. Although I was never pain free, I still was able to care for myself, keep the house clean, and even work part-time. Until recently, when break-through pain became a problem. My primary care physician wrote me a prescription for more morphine sulfate IR ("instant release") and sent me on my way. I wasn't worried. From what I had learned after years of reading about chronic pain, I wasn't worried. This was what leading pain specialists usually recommended doing.
But the break-through pain continued. My PCP wrote a prescription for even more morphine sulfate IR. Now, I was worried. This was not what I remembered being told at the pain clinic I attended. When break-through pain became a problem, another tablet of MS Contin ("morphine sulfate continuous action") was prescribed.
I wasn't sure what to do. I always had been leery about taking any pain medications. I had refused them when I had complicated dental procedures done, and I also had refused them when I gave birth to my son. What I didn't realize was that the pain I experienced in the dental chair and the pain I experienced giving birth was "acute" pain. It had a beginning and, more importantly, it had an end. "Chronic" pain may vary somewhat in intensity, but it is with you 24/7/365. It never ends. Never.
When I was told about UPMC's Senior Care Center, I made an appointment immediately. UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) has a reputation for being among the better medical centers in the country. I thought that I would be in good hands. I was wrong.
The doctor I saw initially raised my dosage of both MS Contin and morphine sulfate IR . I don't remember much about the month which followed. I slept through most of it. Every time I took one of the MS Contin tablets, I fell asleep. Sleeping for 6 to 8 hours, I would wake up in pain. Pain bad enough to be forced to take one of the morphine sulfate IR tablets.
At my next appointment, the doctor reduced my dosage and sent me to UPMC's pain clinic. Thus began a nightmare from which I have yet to awake. The doctor I saw there reduced my dosage of MS Contin and discontinued the morphine sulfate IR. A 75% reduction in pain meds without titration. And without medical supervision.
Since then, I have been in severe and unremitting pain. I have called both doctors many times, but they have yet to return my calls. I have been to several emergency rooms, only to be told that my doctor refuses to prescribe any medication.
I don't know what to do now.
Can you help me?
I'm sorry to hear about the pain & WD that your going through...It is shocking, but unfortunately, not uncommon for CP patients to go through this nightmare... I'm so sick of these opiate phobic docs who don't want to rx narcotic meds and abruptly terminate all or most of your pain meds. There is no reason for any doc, let alone a PM doc to do this to a person.
There isn't much that you can do about the WD your feeling now, but the addiction board does have a sticky with some helpful home remedies.(Please don't think I'm suggesting your an addict, I just want to try & help lesson your pain now) On Tues. morning start looking for another PM doc...Can you call your PCP who initially gave you the morphine instant release before going to UPMC? I would try & get an appt with that doc & have your husband go with you and explain what you're going through. Get a copy of your medical records & a pharmacy print out of all the meds you've been prescribed in the past year. Do you know why the doc lowered your meds? It sounds like something may have happened because the 1st doc at UPMC initially raised your MSContin than lowered it and sent you to their pain clinic...Get those records, your entitled to them and that will tell you if anything is written in your chart about what transpired & why.
If you can't get back with your PCP than look for patient referrals to a new PCP who does PM or who can refer you to one who will effectively treat your pain.
I hope you find someone soon, but if you start to have bad WD going to another ER may be necessary.
I agree with SammieJo in that I would go see my PCP immediately and see if he can help. After all, he was the one who started you on pain meds. He also knows your history and reputation and knows you're not a drug seeker. He is your best resource @ this point. Then, maybe either he can continue to treat you, or refer you to a good PM Doc.
It sounds like something may have happened @ one of your appointments....Do you remember anything of importance that was said? Sometimes, the smallest of clues can help us identify a reason for this direction. Anything out of the ordinary? When he wrote your declining dose, did he give you any reason? What did he say?
I would keep calling them both until one called me back. Each time I called, I would tell the person taking the message that you haven't received a call back yet. Will they let you make an appointment to see either one? You may try to call the medical director of the clinic.
I'm so sorry that this has happened to you. Unfortunately, it's a story we hear too often.