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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 1:54 am 
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We all know we should be honest with doctors in order to receive effective treatment. But as the truth is, as the fictional Dr House so famously states, "Everybody lies."

If you've happened to read any of my other posts, you'll have read that I suffer from a chronic autoimmune disorder, in addition to being a recovering addict. I've seen many doctors and and have even landed in the ER in my 22 months of recovery. And every single time, I've been honest when asked, "What prescriptions are you taking?" In the beginning, I was so proud and also relieved to finally tell the truth after countless visits lying in hopes of scoring a prescription to feed my addiction. The reaction of each doctor, with the exception of my primary and the others in his practice, have left me feeling humiliated, embarrassed or just confused.

A month after my autoimmune diagnosis, which was February of this year, I was having bizarre cardiovascular and neurological symptoms. I honestly thought I was going to die as I have an increased risk of heart attacks and/or stroke so I went to the ER. When asked about my medications, the doctor surprised me asked, "What's that??" Is it possible for a New Jersey ER doctor in 2015 to not know what this medication is?? But giving her the benefit of the doubt, though now very anxious, I simply said "For opiate dependence." She demanded, "Why are you on that?" I mumbled something about being prescribed opiates prior to my diagnosis that spiraled out of control. After she finished examining me, she explained she was going to treat me with an IV to hydrate me and Benadryl because "the Suboxone would block any narcotics anyway..." WHAT?!? I thought you didn't know what Suboxone was but now you're explaining the mechanics of how it works (thought not 100% sure). And what makes you think I would even WANT them when 1. I just told you I'm taking a medication to stay away from them and most importantly, PAIN was not even a concern that I had rated a 3.

I understand that perhaps the doctors are trying to find out if I'm taking it for pain or for addiction as to know what types of prescriptions they should avoid writing me but the coldness I receive afterwards is disheartening. Maybe they still see me as a liability, I don't know.

I saw a new doctor in my primary's practice and as he read my chart, he asked, "How long have you been on Suboxone?" and I replied "Almost 2 years." He questioned, "May I ask why?" I started to freeze up, afraid he would react like the others had and blurted, "I was prescribed oxycodone before my diagnosis..." and he cut me off and said sympathetically, "And it got out of control?" I smiled and said "Yeah". He could sense the relief wash over me and we chatted about my dose and future plans to taper down and eventually come off in the next 6 months or so. It felt so nice to be treated like any other patient, discussing my medical history!

I would love to hear your stories about FINALLY being able to be honest with your doctors.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:25 pm 
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Green Bay Packers, ear, um, I mean NYjets0714. You ask some very good questions. The sad thing is, you're asking the wrong people. The person you should have asked "I thought you didn't know what suboxone is? Isn't that what you said, Doctor? If that's the case, how did you know it blocks opiates"? It's a simple, reasonable question.

I firmly believe we teach people how to treat us. I strongly sense things are finally changing and people are starting to better understand addiction. That won't continue if we are afraid to just own it and stand up for ourselves. You're asking the question now, to people who can't answer. The only one who could answer with any certainty is that doc.

We need to start asserting ourselves. I think many will be surprised at the response we get - much like the last doc you wrote about surprised you with his response. We are paying these professionals hundreds sometimes thousands of dollars to work for us. We can, should, and must ask these questions. Why else pay them? Pay someone money to treat you like crap? Can things get any crazier? We must trust the doc to do what they believe is in our best interest, but that doesn't mean treat us like crap in the process - and still get paid!

I so strongly suggest we all stand up for ourselves. Don't be mean, don't yell, don't be sarcastic, just state the truth - all the time. If something seems off, ask! If a pharmacist says something you know is not correct, question it! If a doctor says something incorrect, correct them. They have a medical license, not a royal crown. Give it a try. You'll be surprised at the results and so much more importantly, will advance the understanding of opiate addiction!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:12 pm 
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Chris Christie recently gave a speech where he talked about his best friend from law school who died from opioid dependence. He was making the point that addiction is a chronic DISEASE, but people treat is as if it was a deficiency of character. He made the point that we need to start treating addiction that way... but then I didn't hear the rest of his comments. I was listening to a talk show that was playing the recording of his comments-- so I don't know when he made the comments, or how he ended them.

I get so frustrated at those moments though-- because while there are a few people out there who understand that addiction is a disease, nobody seems to realize that this disease requires aggressive medical treatment. Christie talked about his friend going through treatments and relapses over ten years, and eventually dying from overdose. I don't know if he ended up with the punch line about treatment. I hope so-- but I wouldn't be surprised if he closed with comments that failed to mention medication-assisted-treatment. If someone knows differently, please let me know.

A couple hours after hearing that on the radio, I saw a link in my newsfeed about Suboxone, from a newspaper in New Hampshire. The headline said something like 'Suboxone is a scourge that is growing in our area'. The article mentioned that more and more addicts are found with Suboxone-- a drug that 'has effects like heroin'. The article did NOT explain that many people end up desperately trying to treat themselves with buprenorphine because of the cap.... and it didn't point out that almost NO deaths are attributed to buprenorphine products.... or that countless lives are saved by buprenorphine.

Meanwhile, the police chief in my town thinks that heroin addiction is a huge problem... but he is anti-methadone and anti-Suboxone.

If someone heard more of Christie's comments, let me know. I just needed to vent!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 9:46 pm 
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This is such a frustrating problem, for all of us. Donh really nailed it for me. We all must stand up and speak for ourselves, our recovery and the use of Buprenorphine in that recovery.

We are taking it on the chin in so many ways . Hell it is just hard as Subdoc said to even convince the non addict that this is a disease! Or at least treat it like one...

Im fortunate to be able to have contact with so many people in this field be it addicts themselves or healthcare professionals. Drs and therapist. Hey im just a middle aged recovering opiate addict but it always amazes me how professionals know so little about this med and treatment. I just dont get it. I try to give some of them facts that ive learned here, but most do not believe me. Even the Naloxone blocker issue. ..It is maddening. In our Wednesday group this week and addict told us that a high ranking therapist had said that the vein under the tougue was where the sub is absorbed! ! This kind of thing is what puts all of us in the ditch. So to speak.. this lack of factual knowledge.

Donh said it, we must stand up and educate. No matter whom it may be. Pharmacy workers too. And in the right way.

The media is killing us. Period. Mostly is it not a positive attitude or story. Just read a new one on the Fix. God, what a writer. Hey im venting too here and not to just throw stones..

Its just that there are not enough writers and articles like "Dyn to be Free" from last years Huffington Post. ..

Thanks Donh, great post and as always you to Doc....

Sorry im all over the place with this post... :o

Raz...


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 9:21 am 
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I agree we need to educate but when you are in the ER or doc's office because you are sick it's not always easy to explain sub or why you use it.

My very first week on sub I got really sick. Vomiting, back pain, so sick my sub doc thought I was in PW's. I knew when I stopped the oxy but he didn't believe me. I started sub on Sunday & Friday I was so sick, & bleeding "down there" I went to urgent care. I was embarrassed to tell the doc I was on sub so I left that out. They took blood & did a urine. At that time they were nice & told me it was looking like kidney stones. A few minutes later the assistant calls the doc out. When the doc comes back she wants to know why my urine is orange & has a nasty attitude. I am so sick I just shake my head & she finally says " your an addict on sub" probably looking for opiates. Then she gives me a script for act scan. It was bilateral kidney stones.

Why didn't I correct her? I was sick as a dog. Sometimes it just isn't possible to educate people.

My 2 cents


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 10:55 pm 
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Dr J and others, Christie's comments were very positive. You can hear them here

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/ ... r-on-drugs

This is part of what I was alluding to when I say the tide is just about to turn. I've heard more and more positive comments in the past several months. First Obama, who rarely if ever says ANYTHING I agree with, said much the same as Christie. Then the governor made his comments. Then a summit held a few weeks ago in Illinois had I believe the governor of Vermont???? Or some New Englend area state say even more along with a police chief from out east. They are talking more about addiction in general and less treatment specific but all are saying addiction is a disease like any other. They are saying as long as the addict is not selling drugs or doing other crimes possession should not be a crime. The Vermont govonir has already started programs that those with only possession never get charged - they get treatment. This police chief is doing the same. This summit was shown this weekend on CSPAN.

We are about to approach a tipping point but we have to get the balls to stand up for ourselves - sick or not. Im Telling you that Personally if I was passing a kidney stone and got that crap thrown at me security may have been called! I'd never put up with thaut and would not be Nice about it with pain of a 10 on the scale. I'd also say listen fuck head, I don't want opiates as I'm Blocked anyhow now give me some god damn tordal which will work better on a stone anyhow!

I'm telling you, I've dealt with bully docs in my career and 90% of them back down when put in their place. Many go bitch behind my back later but walk or run away at the time. Anyone who thinks you are seeking while on bup is a moron and needs to be told so. If they are nice, I'll be just as nice. Cause me and spout wrong information in the process and it's on!

Anyhow, I have, Strong feeling more and more people will follow Christies and Obamas lead. Watch and see. Either way, if we don't stand up for ourselves, just who will?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:58 pm 
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You are all absolutely right. I definitely need to be more assertive and not let them intimidate me. Like another poster mentioned, sometimes when you're at the doc, you're in so much pain that the effort just doesn't seem to be worth it. But I'm realizing after reading your comments, IT IS worth the effort. That we are just normal people, properly treating our diseases.

Subdoc, I actually live in NJ and have followed Christie's comments about addiction. I know drugs and opiates are an issue everywhere but it's exploded in NJ over the last few years. In Ocean county where my mother lives, it's almost harder to find people NOT addicted. Everybody recognizes the drug problem but are also the same people who don't want to do anything about it. They'd prefer to just to throw them in jail, out of site, out of mind. I personally feel the biggest hurdle we face is acceptance. What good are the best doctors, treatment programs and medications if the stigma about addiction still exists? It's the perception people have about addicts and addiction that causes massive amounts of embarrassment and shame, which makes people afraid to get help. In one of my Lupus support groups, one girl was talking about going to her pain doctor and the waiting room being full of "junkies." I replied with a bunch of information and explained what those "junkies" were most likely doing there (getting help). Hopefully, I changed at least one opinion about addiction.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:59 pm 
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Hello All, I am not a big Christie fan but do agree with him on the issue of addiction. I just wish he would put his money where his mouth is! The program I currently work with is ending on December 31. It is the only program of its kind in NJ. It provides support to those working on issues of addiction and mental illness. It provides transportation to AA/NA/DT meetings as well as counseling and recreation. The counseling is available to help people get acclimated to the twelve step philosophy and to support them in taking steps to build a network of support in recovery. Very sad that it is ending and that there will be nothing taking its place! I have been an advocate for this population my whole career. I have worked to support my clients in standing up for themselves with doctors, nurses, and/or anyone else who would think it ok to talk down to them or treat them as less than!I would not tolerate it for myself or a family member! I treat everyone with respect and kindness and expect the same in return! I have not had any negative experiences with anyone since my start on suboxone over a year ago. I pray it stays that way! Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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