I'm not exaggerating when I say my biggest fear, in the first couple years post-car accident, was becoming addicted to pain meds. I went through surgery after surgery after surgery. Addiction will be a concern as long as I continue to need pain drugs of any kind, but I (and my doctor) don't feel it's something I'm in danger of at this point in my journey.
I've gone through eight surgeries in four and a half years and I've lived with high levels of pain the entire time. I'd have to have my head in the sand not be concerned about the narcotics I've consumed during that time period.
Fortunately for me, I don't like how I feel while under the influence of narcotics. I like being clear-headed and in control. Feeling foggy and loopy isn't a sensation I enjoy or seek out.
I also think some people are chemically more inclined towards various addictions. I'm, in part, just lucky I don't have a predisposition towards addiction.
I look back at a few of the more difficult surgeries I've gone through and I realize now I should have taken MORE pain meds. I was so afraid of taking them surgery after surgery – of becoming addicted, I tried to get by on minimal doses. I put myself through a lot more pain than I needed to because I was trying so hard to tough it out and NOT take many drugs.
And yet, here I am doing it again.
A few days ago I told you how proud I was of only needing two pain pills on my 5th post-surgery day. On day #6 I needed three and a half pain pills and I felt like a total failure. I beat myself up mentally for not being able to "take" the pain ….
Never mind, I had been more active the prior day (my trip to the doctor which involved driving for over an hour, walking, showering, dressing) and, of course, it resulted in an increase in post-surgery pain.
I should know by now, that's how surgical recovery goes.
Two steps forward … one step back.
Eventually I'll get where I want to be, but it takes a lot of patience which is not my strength.
Because appropriate drug use is an issue which I've spent a lot of time thinking about these last few years, I find it shocking to realize how many people in Orange County are intentionally using prescription pain meds to get high.
I must be really naive.
Almost every time I'm at Dr. Painless's office, his office is turning away someone who is seeking drugs by "faking" a medical condition.
It floors me.
Sometimes I see older people in the waiting room, clearly addicted, who seem to have habits they can't break. I wonder if anyone cares after a certain age? One woman, in particular, sticks in my memory. She must have been at least in her mid-seventies … an over-nipped, over-tucked, over-made up, over-jeweled, and over-dressed aging OC woman. She sat in the waiting area talking loudly on her cell phone about her need for her "meds."
She was pathetic.
I honestly wanted to put her photo on a trading card and hand it out in the Newport Beach bars to the younger, plastic, OC women.
One woman called into the office and I overheard (one side of) the conversation because I was seated near the receptionist. The woman was insisting she was out of pain meds and needed them refilled immediately. She had just picked up 60 tablets (of Norco – a stronger version of Vicodin) the week before. The doctor refused to give her more.
On my last visit, I asked Dr. Painless how often he has to turn someone away who he feels is only there to seek drugs. He answered, "Probably about once every two weeks."
Dr. Painless actually runs a report on all his patients so he can see who they are getting medication from and how often. A woman had been in to see him the same day I was there. She had been to ten different doctors in a six week period. He referred her to a dependency clinic. She's either using or selling – or both.
Will she go to the dependency clinic? Probably not.
How many doctors run checks on their patients?
I'm guessing not many.
Oxycontin appears to be the drug of choice in Orange County.
People want it to get high with, and it seems they're having no trouble getting it.
People with absolutely nothing wrong with them.
It's hard for me to fathom inviting prescription narcotics into your life when I've struggled with so much pain in my own life. I can't imagine just taking the stuff for no reason.
(And due to the highly addictive nature of Oxycontin it's a drug I've chosen to never use, even when it has been suggested by doctors.)
Dr. Painless told me in Newport Beach and *ahem* Emerald Bay, in particular (which he compared to Sodom and Gomorrah), adults party and use drugs side by side with their teens. They get high on Ritalin, Oxycontin and Vicodin and mix their drugs freely with alcohol.
It's all the rage, apparently.
It boggles my mind.
Do people realize how highly addictive Oxycontin is?
How many lives it destroys?
They are getting high on it and mixing it with alcohol, at parties with their teenagers.
I brought the subject of prescription drugs for recreational use up on Twitter the other day. I was surprised at how many people responded saying prescription drug/alcohol parties are all the rage where they live too.
I can't get over it.
Whatever happened to smoking a little weed and throwing back a few beers?
Do you see these type of parties where you live?
Have you participated?
People … what are you thinking?
© Twenty Four At Heart