Just wanted to share with you all a good way to get nearly instant pain relief if you have to go to the ER during a flare-up.
If you have a pain doc or pain clinic, ask them to write up a brief letter stating that you have RSD and are being treated with pain meds (have them list the pain meds you are taking). The letter should also state that you experience pain flare-ups that sometimes require a visit to the ER for IV/IM pain meds, and have the doc sign the letter and put a phone # of the clinic/office for the ER to contact with any questions. Show this letter to the triage nurse and doc at the ER and they will generally realize you have a legit condition and are not a drug addict and will be willing to give you whatever meds you need for relief.
When I started with my new pain clinic a few months ago, my doc asked me what I do when I have bad flare-ups. I told her that I went to the ER once (3 years ago) to try to get IV demerol which usually helps me. But I explained to her that it was a nightmare b/c they didn't know what RSD was, accused me of drug-seeking, and basically helped me as little as possible. So whenever I had terrible flare-ups after that, I refused to go to the ER even when my doc told me I should. She said she often hears that from her RSD patients and writes them up a letter to keep with them and bring to the ER. So she wrote me a letter - I keep the original in a file, one copy in my car, and one copy in my purse in case of emergency.
Well, about 2 weeks ago I was having a horrible, unbearable flare-up. I took my pain clinic letter to the ER with me and showed it to the triage nurse - even though she had never heard of RSD (
), she got me into see a doc w/in 10 minutes. I showed the letter to the doc - he asked me what kind of pain meds I wanted and how I wanted them administered. I was getting IV demerol 5 minutes later. 2 doses of that didn't work, so he actually offered to admit me so I could get a morphine PCA. As tempting as that was, I decided to try IV dilauded instead. That did the trick - really helped reduce the flare-up.
I tell ya, that letter was a "golden ticket." Quite different than my last ER visit 3 years ago when I had to fight the docs and nurses for meds and try to convince them I wasn't a drug addict. As soon as I handed them that letter this time, they did everything they could, as fast as they could, to help me.
So, if you can, I highly recommend getting a letter from your pain management doc. It helped me immensely.
PS - Hopefully though, if you have a spouse, they will be willing to drive you to the ER. My spouse chose to sit on the couch and watch TV instead, while I drove myself to the ER. And when I called home from the ER to say how I was doing, I was told "It's 3am - you woke me up!"