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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:07 pm 
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I think I'll put my doctor story here since it serves as an introduction. Hope that is ok

I had symptoms of burning in my upper abdomen going through to my back. When I took a deep breath it felt like someone was sticking needles into the area between my ribs. It felt like someone was putting a blowtorch on my abdomen and spraying it against my back. I was spitting up bile and couldn't eat. There were a bunch more symptoms and stuff in my medical history that I won't go into now. Essentially the symptoms of gall stones but I've already had my gall bladder removed ( in a misdiagnosis I could write another pages rant about ) I bought a bunch of OTC heartburn meds that didn't help. I was pretty sure it was heartburn or GERD or something but the pain was so bad I wanted make sure it wasn't my heart or a serious condition. The pain was too bad to sleep. I have valium prescribed for anxiety and as a muscle relaxer. After a few nights of almost no sleep I took a big dose of valium, two benadryl and a drink. I conked out but got woken up by pain less than two hours later. I waited three agonizing days before going to the doctor.

I eventually went to see an urgent care doc. There I made the mistake of mentioning back pain as my first symptom. I said something like "it feels like it is burning from the front of my gut into my back". The doc's response was "I see you're a suboxone patient. I'm not giving you any pain meds".
I never even got to mention most of my symptoms. Some of it was my fault since I let myself get derailed because I wasn't expecting that but I was in agony, exhausted and a little scared.
The doc eventually prescribed prilosec and 12 tramadol, 1 or 2 every 4 hours. That's it. No suggestions to follow up for tests or anything.

The tramadol actually helped a little but obviously didn't last very long. After two days the pain was so bad I couldn't take it. I made an appointment with the first available doctor. He also immediately led off with "I'm not giving you pain meds". I probably wasn't describing my symptoms very well since I was half crazed from pain, lack of sleep and not eating. He told me he was concerned that tramadol would cause me to return to addictive behaviors or something. He said he would give me another tramadol prescription but he was cutting my dose. WHAT? If he thinks I'm drug seeking shouldn't he refuse to prescribe. If he believes I'm in pain then tests and stuff need to be done and acute pain care has to be addressed. I've been on sub a long time. In the 2 years since my last surgery I've never had a pain script. Did he think I'm suddenly missing work and holiday stuff so I can get pain meds.

I few days later I finally went to the ER. I don't know how I drove there. They started an IV and the nurse said she was giving me some anti-nausea medicine. A bit later the doc came in and asked if the dilaudid had helped my pain. I told him I didn't think I'd gotten it yet. But I had, at the same time I got the other med. It was just such a low dose I didn't feel it. I talked to him about suboxone. He had heard of it. Yay! At least he's heard of it. He eventually gave me another 1mg of IV dilaudid which did help the pain for about an hour. They ran a bunch of tests and couldn't find anything wrong. He actually listened to my symptoms and we discussed the possibility of a severe hearburn attack combined with some other health issues I have. He was concerned enough about my pain that he wanted to admit me but I hate hospitals. He sent me home with a dilaudid prescription (and more tests scheduled). When the nurse brought the script in she said "he was very generous". That comment also annoyed me. I guess it is very generous of a doctor to treat agonizing pain.

The oral dilaudid dose was too low. It didn't give pain relief when taken as prescribed and I was begining to feel suboxone withdrawal. Fortunately the pain has started to descrease. I just have to eat very little food that is all non acidic. I still have some scary symptoms like a distended stomach but the pain is less.

Before my surgery two years ago I had a run of good luck with doctor's who understood and tried to treat my pain correctly. I guess I got spoiled. Through this whole thing I was treated like a naughty child. This is just one of the reasons I want to get off the suboxone. Any suggestions for how to deal with something like this if it comes up again. When you are in acute pain you aren't in the best position to explain things to a doctor. I didn't care about the pain meds, I cared about the pain and possibility of serious illness.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:58 am 
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Hi Longtime,

I'm so sorry you had to go through such degradation when you went to the doctor. It is incredibly frustrating that after we have made good decisions, gotten our lives straight, and done the hard work to stay sober we are still treated no better than trash.

What you described is something I worry about every time I go to a doctor. But, I have so far been blessed with understanding physicians. Thank goodness!

So, did they really finally determine all of this was just severe heartburn? I have never heard of heartburn that severe! I don't blame you for being so concerned that it was something more serious. The good thing is that you took your pain seriously and continued to search out a doctor who would actually listen to you. The fact that he was willing to send you home with a dilaudid script, albeit not enough, shows that he at least wasn't treating you as a drug seeking addict.

As far as suggestions for future problems. I would suggest going to Dr. J's blog. You can find the link on the introduction page of this forum. He has written some pretty great posts about post-op pain control while being treated with suboxone. You could print some of those out and keep them on hand to give to doctors who don't understand why we would need larger amounts of SAO's to treat our pain. If I remember correctly, he goes into great detail about how the suboxone blocks the pain controlling benefits of these type meds.

Above all, just remember that you have the right to adequate medical care just as much as any other non-addicted patient. Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself!

Q

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:49 pm 
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Horsegal, Thanks for the support. I do need to advocate for myself. I tend to avoid going to the doctor because I don't want to deal with attitudes.

I'm not sure what is wrong with me. I have a large spinal fusion that makes any back muscle issues very painful and take longer to heal. I'm still having problems and need to follow up more with a doctor but I'm just dreading that. Eating a heartburn friendly diet is helping although I'm having pizza withdrawal. Sad but nowhere near as painful as opiate withdrawal.

I think there was also more at work here than just me being a suboxone patient. In my experience, after a while a lot of doctors want you to go away if your symptoms don't add up and tests don't find anything. I've run into this before and know lots of other people who have. For example, years ago I was having incredibly painful bowel issues. A friend with Crohn's disease recommended her GI doc, telling me how great he was. I had completely unnecessary gall bladder surgery. It was almost like the doctor was mad at me when gall bladder surgery didn't help me at all. A hysterectomy due to another issue was what eventually cleared up a lot of my symptoms. This same doc was wonderful to someone who he knew how to treat and not so wonderful to someone he couldn't.

So I go in with a "drug addict" label, complaining of back pain and a bunch of random symptoms. I guess it isn't that surprising that I had problems. I really need to find a doctor who actually understands suboxone. The ER doc wanted to help but didn't know how much dilaudid to prescribe.

When they were getting ready to discharge me at the ER, I overheard the doctor on the phone apparently justifying my dilaudid prescription. I heard him say "I believe her" and that my prescription record showed I hadn't abused my suboxone. I don't know if that is standard hospital policy for scheduled meds. I suppose these days doctors are really afraid of getting in trouble for anything to do with scheduled meds, which pisses me off.

BTW, how does someone "abuse" suboxone film.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:20 pm 
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longtime wrote:
BTW, how does someone "abuse" suboxone film.


It's usually just as simple as someone taking more than the prescribed dose and needing early refills every month. Obviously, as long as you are prescribed a dose that is above the ceiling level of the bupe this does nothing to create a euphoria. But, it's still considered displaying addictive behavior.

I hope you are able to find someone that will take the time to diagnose you properly. It might be a good idea to seek out a doctor who is familiar with suboxone treatment to avoid the stigma attatched.

Good luck!

Q

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No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


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