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Old 02-08-2008, 07:27 AM   #1
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Driving, Working, Child Care while taking pain meds...

TGIF People!

I've been browsing some of the topics on this boaed. I've recieved some good advice here about switching from Norco to a Long Acting pain medication like Oxycontin, and I look forward to giving it a try.

Now I'm wondering about general categories of narcotic pain medications, and which ones are used for chronic pain. I have chronic severe pain that ranges from level 5-8 on the average. It's pelvic floor pain from urethral cysts and obterator muscle dysfunction/spasm. I used to think that vicodin and tylenol 3's were a big deal, and that a typical dose meant the patent would end up sleeping & unable to function for the durration of the effect. However, a couple of years ago my GP put me on vicodin (1 - 2 every 4 - 6 hrs), and told me that I should be able to drive, go to school/work etc. while taking it. I was very uncomfortable with the idea of driving while taking narcotics, and I rarely do, but still I think it's dangerous for people to drive under the influence - in general. Just recently My new Pain Dr told me that it is illegal in my County for people to drive while taking narcotic pain medication, so I was right to be concerned about my GP's instructions...

I've read several posts here where members seem to be quite experienced with pain management. I'm glad to see that the efforts toward healing and relief seem to be working. So, I'm thinking that many of the regulars here are trying to live productive lives while being on these medications. I'm reading about methadone and other medicines that, quite frankly, scare me. I'm wondering if eventually this will be an option for me. I do know that methadone is used for heroine withdrawl, and this seems like extreeme measures toward pain relief.

Please understand that I am very inexperienced in these matters, and in my ignorance I am wondering if even Demerol (sp?) and Morphene are being used at home on a regular basis ~ and if so, can people live productive lives while taking these on a routine basis? Or are these stronger opioids used in bed ridden cases only?

I'm wondering If I am making a big deal of something that is considered "normal" in the field of pain management, or if patients and Dr's who work with these medications are making light of a big deal...

Thanks for your thoughts! ~Sheri~
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Old 02-08-2008, 08:31 AM   #2
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Re: Driving, Working, Child Care while taking pain meds...

I will say this that in most states if you were to ever get pulled over and the officer thought you were under the influence, they can and will test your blood levels.... If it comes back that you have narcotics in your system, you can be cited for driving under the influence, just as if you were driving drunk.

I take alot of meds besides just the pain pills and I do not take all that I am prescribed. I try to take them around when I have to drive as I do not want to take any chances. I think there is also the point where many people build a tolerance for their pain pills and they don't really effect their driving and daily life as much as someone who just started taking them.

I am no longer able to work so at least I don't have to worry about that. But I do still have to do some driving everyday. The scary part is that I have to take pain pills, muscle relaxers, xanax, seroquel, lamictal, just to name a few. I have two sons, one is 20 and works nights. My other son is 16 and has a graduated license so I have to be in the car with him. It is hard because I cannot take him somewhere at night due to my meds. I will not take that chance due to what I take at nighttime at 9pm. I could take him, but not pick him up. There is no way. I will not risk hurting someone else out there. I don't go anywhere except to take my son back and forth to school. He has basketball games on the weekends and he drives.

I have been on my meds for along time and have probably built up immunity to them but once again, if I were pulled over and an officer looked at my eyes, he may think something else. Why take that chance. I know alot of people that do it and I am sure alot of people will respond and say that they are fine driving. The only other time I drive are to my doctor's appointments every month. I have three that I have to see every month. I am a nervous wreck when I go to them. I see my pain doc every 28 days at 7:30 in the morning and the first thing they ask is have you taken your meds this morning.

I am just giving my two cents worth.

Have a great day.... Jenn

 
Old 02-08-2008, 09:28 AM   #3
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Re: Driving, Working, Child Care while taking pain meds...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenn4508 View Post
I have been on my meds for along time and have probably built up immunity to them but once again, if I were pulled over and an officer looked at my eyes, he may think something else. Why take that chance.

I know alot of people that do it and I am sure alot of people will respond and say that they are fine driving.

I see my pain doc every 28 days at 7:30 in the morning and the first thing they ask is have you taken your meds this morning.

I am just giving my two cents worth.

Have a great day.... Jenn
I feel the same way Jen. Part of my daily routine is to use visene - hoping that will make my eyes look brighter. I know that I'm just taking my meds as prescribed, yet I wonder what a police officer or the PTA might think if they really took a good look... I think about carying my pain medicine with me when I have to drive, as proof that it's prescribed-just in case. I'm really not that concerned about what other people think though, and I do follow through helping my kid with homework, and other daily household stuff. I must say though - my standards of perfection in house cleaning have changed a-lot! LOL After all, I'm on Dr's orders to do no exercise or heavy lifting. I really should check into getting some in-home help to keep up with things.

I know that a lot of people say & think that they're fine while driving on pain meds (myself included). But then again, I need to question my own judgement because I'm under the influence... It's a catch 22!

I usually have a neighbor friend drive me to my Dr's appointments. As long as I can set it up in advance, it usually works out. Still there's times when I need to make a judgement call about weather to drive myself or not. It feels like a relatively safe gamble most of the time... And I assume, in general, that people don't even suspect that I take 6 - 8 Norco a day. That's the equivellant to 12 - 16 vicodin a day. A couple of years ago I would have thought this to be preposterous! ~Sigh~

Thanks for your reply Jen, You have a great day too! :-D
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:45 AM   #4
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Re: Driving, Working, Child Care while taking pain meds...

Sheri,

I understand your concern about the long acting pain meds. I have been taking LA morphine for the past 9 months so I am a relative new comer to the PM group, but I can tell you that it has allowed me to resume my normal life. I work 40 plus hours a week as an EA to a VP. I have PT twice a week and sometimes accupuncture once a week. I have the advantage of carpooling with my hubby as we work for the same company. I do drive occasionally, but not when I have just taken my meds. I watch when I drive. That is the one thing that really bothers me about the meds. But, it has leveled out my pain and allowed me to function like a normal -provided that my family considers me normal- person. It is a x2 a day pill. I would say that I get approx. 10-11 hours of relief from it, depending on the weather and my activities. I also take Percoset #10 and I have Percoset IR for breakthrough pain if needed. And last time I checked, I wasn't bed ridden! What I am on is not considered one of the stronger opioids. I am on the weak end of the scale. There are many drugs above this in strength.

My back broke when the nurses tried to get me of after a 3 level fusion. If this wasn't bad enough, they refused to listen to me that something had broken. With my surgeon out of town, they continued to get me up twice a day to walk for a week til he returned. Needless to say, this did some damage to my back and I'm fortunate that I do walk today at all. My surgeon did have the courage to tell me last visit that I will live with some degree of pain the rest of my life...so this isn't something that I take lightly. These drugs allow me to function almost as the person I used to be. I'm just thankful that my children as adults and I'm not facing having to raise them.

Don't be afraid of trying the drugs, but do respect them for what they are and what they can do. I know that they more experienced members will jump in with good advice for you...


 
Old 02-08-2008, 12:21 PM   #5
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Re: Driving, Working, Child Care while taking pain meds...

Thank you ibake&pray for the EXCELLENT information! :-D

I would love to read your story ~ if you've posted it somewhere... OMGosh, the fact that you maintain an executive lifestyle with your level of pain and medication is encouraging. I went on disability about a year ago, but compared to your troubles, my life is a walk in the park! I commend you on your awesome success. Being new to disability, I've been in a transitional depression for a couple of years. I don't know where to turn to pursue a new positive direction in my life, and I've been feeling like "This is it, as good as it's gonna get!"

Your words have inspired me to believe that there is hope! Heck, I might even be able to start a home business like jewelry designing, or doing something online.

Thank You!
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Old 02-08-2008, 04:52 PM   #6
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Re: Driving, Working, Child Care while taking pain meds...

I'm on Methadone and have been for five years. I know the meaning of DUI and I try to drive around my meds too. I do pretty good in town, but the long road trips still seem to be a challenge. I do tend to get drowsy, unless I do not take my normal amount of medication. So, I only take a minimal amount until we arrive at our destination.

I really don't want a DUI on top of all of my other problems. I am SSD too, and at home while my wife works. I do the grocery store runs, and other errands, so I really have to be able to drive.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:15 PM   #7
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Re: Driving, Working, Child Care while taking pain meds...

Jenn is correct....Doesn't matter if you have a script or not, DUI is DUI....Doesn't matter if it's alcohol or drugs.

At my pain clinic, I have to sign all sorts of forms, and one of them states that I'm aware of the risk of driving....It's a CYA document for the Doc, but nevertheless, still good information.

Re: tolerance, a person may not feel like they're under the influence (due to tolerance), but the bottom line is that if you have them in your system, they are more than likely influencing you in some way....distraction, less motor skills, less reaction time, and etc. Again, you may not "feel" these limitations, but if you were to do reaction tests versus a person who hasn't taken anything, they would significantly out perform you. You may not necessarily get flagged if pulled over for some infraction, but god forbid if you were to be in an accident and someone was seriously hurt, any type of mandated drug test would be a back breaker (from a liability standpoint).

You just have to be very careful when taking meds and use your best judgement. Good luck. These are tough situations for all who have legitimate pain.

 
Old 02-08-2008, 06:46 PM   #8
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Re: Driving, Working, Child Care while taking pain meds...

Hey Director, is methadone LA or do you take a dose several times a day?

I try to schedule my Norco to be wearing off just before I have to run errands too. If I have to drive out of town I most cretainly get someone else to drive me.

Executor, I've never had to sign any release form about liability regarding pain medication. CYA Form? lol! :-D I picked up on that one quick, so I guess I'm not too slow today! LOL

But yea, I get concerned about memory issues, and maybe missing some importaint details while driving... It's like having ADD, I'm very focused on one or two things, but issues three and four might slip right past me. This is troubling when I need to drive my child to the elementary school. I am a very careful driver. I've only gotten one speeding ticket in my entire life, no DUIs, nothing (I'm 47). But, the other parent's at that school drive around like maniacs in both the morning and afternoon school traffic. It's scarry!

Again, I'm hoping that LA pain medication will help with the higs and lows I experience throughout the day with Norco. I hope to be able to accomplish more on a daily basis, and to sleep better through the nights.

Ohhh that Hewy Lewis song keeps running through my head ~ I want a new drug! rofl...
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Old 02-08-2008, 08:54 PM   #9
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Re: Driving, Working, Child Care while taking pain meds...

For CP it is usually prescribed every 4-6 hours. My script says every eight hours (60 mg TID), but I take it throughout the day when I feel I need it, usually 10-20 mg at a time.

Methadone is technically not a LA drug, but it will last 24 hours for someone taking it for detox or maintenance.
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Old 02-09-2008, 01:54 PM   #10
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Red face Re: Driving, Working, Child Care while taking pain meds...

Hi to all,

I just have to reply to this thread! It is about driving with meds in my system...

My FIL was in ICU, on a breathing machine. 93 yrs. and a bad heart. Most of the family was there.

I was driving myself to the hospital around 10 am and not much sleep in the last few days. I must have fallen asleep while driving (just for a second!). In the right lane, fixing to get a cup of coffee. Next thing I knew, I saw a 3foot pole and a tree trunk coming at me. I did try to break and/or swerve. I hurt no one but myself and the short tele communications pole.

People came to help, a policeman, a wrecker, an ambulance, and nice people. I was being laid on a board and immobilized, the policeman was talking to me. He said, are you on drugs or alcohol, your eyes are dialated. Answer - drugs, him: what kind/many Answer: lots. Then he said taking drugs while driving was against the law. I said - my prescriptions said that I could drive after getting used to them. Policeman - your prescriptions are wrong. I told him some of the ones I had taken that am. Off I go to the hospital, sure that I had gotten a DUI.

After xrays (lots) and bad scrapes and bruises, I was very lucky. Could not find my license or insurance. I am released at the same hospital where my family are.

A few days later, I found my license and insurance and NO ticket, just in a different place in my purse! I am one lucky person (car totalled). I guess that either I live in a state or county (Texas) that does not ticket for that, or the policeman thought that I talked pretty well for a drug user!

I just must be sure to get enuf sleep or not drive! My current try is: take a sleeping pill, along with my other meds, every other night. I hope it works, as some nites I cannot seem to get to sleep until 3 am!

Thanks for listening to my long story...

Wannabe

Last edited by WannaBeFreeToRoam; 02-09-2008 at 01:58 PM. Reason: way to long

 
Old 02-09-2008, 02:11 PM   #11
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Re: Driving, Working, Child Care while taking pain meds...

This is a really tricky thing, especially for people who are just interested in getting on with their lives, already - something that pain meds allow a lot of us to do. I recently consulted a pain managaement doc who has been fabulous - we finally got my meds to a point where I am decently comfortable all day long. I have had awful pain for almost 3 years. But, I have never once missed work, worked the whole time, and continue to work. To get to work, I have to drive. So yes, I drive while using my drugs (long-acting; try to not take short-acting when I need to drive). I usually do just fine. But if I have had a bad day and had to take lots of BT meds, I get exceedingly tired. It's something about getting behind the wheel that makes me that tired. So on those few & far between days, I'll know it as soon as I start driving, and I may pull over and nap 2-3 times on my 40-minute commute home. So I am smart in that sense that I don't try to drive through my tiredness. It's tough. It's frustrating that the very meds that help you get on with you life also cease to halt it in situations like this. I don't have kids yet (and won't until I can get this back pain under control), so I don't know what I would say about that..... Anyway, that's my story. Best of luck for a pain-free weekend. -Beth
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