Friday, November 22, 2013

Pain Medication Is A Tool I Use Often

I am so sick of the phrase, "I don't want to depend on pain medication."

No one wants to depend on pain medication.  But given the choice of spending the day with my son with pain in the background, or staying home writhing in pain, I will take my pain meds every day and twice on Sunday.

Scleroderma is not going away.  My hands are never going to be the same.  Changes in weather will always affect my pain levels.  But if I sit still and wait for the pain to go away, I will curl up and die.  I know this to be a fact because I tried sitting still and it nearly killed me.  
I have many more adventures in my future
because of pain management w/ medication.

For years I allowed what I allowed what other people thought of me, to determine my use of pain meds.  Look, a good buzz is fun, but I don't get that from Captain Vicodin (Thank you for the name Stephanie Wellborn Kennedy (@Steph_In_NC) Captain Vicodin is my friend and has helped my body benefit from movement I would not have done, if I did not have such an amazing tool.  Because that's what pain medication is- a tool.  

And I don't say these things lightly.  There are many stupid doctors who will hand a patient they have no idea what to do with, a prescription for 600 Percocet and say, "Take that as often as you like."  Yes, that happened to me.  That turned into 8 Percocet a day. My doctor did not think in the long term.  For years I was treated as though I would be made to feel comfortable until I dropped dead.  Surprise!  I'm still here.  The doctor did not take into account that Percocet was fast acting, strong and had a short life.  It is because doctors misuse prescriptions because they don't know what they are doing, and patients end up with medication that does not work for them.  

Chronic pain is long term.  It's not going away. As patients, we need to make pain tolerable.  Yes, I said tolerable.  I have never been pain free since 1993.  When a nurse asks me what my pain level is, I laugh and  I answer, "A constant 2."  My hands are curled.  I have no fat pads on my feet.  I am constantly bumping my hands into objects and sometimes people.  There is no such thing as pain free.  Of course I'm not okay with that, but I don't have any more time to spend in therapy to talk about how pissed I am about it.  I have a 10 year old son.  I live ON THE BEACH.  Life is whizzing by and I spend enough time at the Veteran's Hospital, so pass the antidepressants and sedatives when needed.  I'm going outside.  

Look, getting to this point took a lot of time.  So if you find yourself saying things like, "I don't want to become addicted to pain medication."  You know what?  People take cholesterol medication and eat hot dogs.  You know why?  Because they are out enjoying their lives.  They have a healthy diet, but they have a treat every now and then.  Taking pain medication so that I can tale a shower easier is not a treat for me.  It's necessary.  And you now what?  When, I do I find I need less pain medication throughout my day.  Normally, I take one Vicodin in the morning and usually, I do not need another the whole day.  There is more to pain than what's causing our pain.  

Look, I could go and do a search for research about pain management and exercise; exercise and depression; etc…  Do the research yourself, learn about your own body, and train your doctor(s) and family.  Take control of your life (Yes.  Yes you can.)  Take your pain meds and use them smartly and as a tool, because that's all they are.  If you are using pain medication for "the buzz", you are not in enough pain to be using pain medication.  Depend on them.  There are very few things we can control with a chronic illness.  If you can control or tolerate your pain because of a few pills, do it. 

When someone tells me that I "shouldn't depend on pain meds", because of "their ideas", I ask them to do this:  "Go outside, rub your knuckles on the blacktop.  Then walk through some broken glass.  If you can sit tight with that pain, I'll stop using my pay medication for my chronic pain.  Because that's what my chronic pain feels like if I don't keep my pain under control."  

Take your pain meds.  Be smart about it.  Don't let people who create the suspicion of abuse tell you what you should do.  They are uninformed.  As patients, it is often our job to educate family and even health care providers about scleroderma, sarcoidosis or whatever chronic illness we have.  Be your own best advocate.  Because all medical decisions are ultimately yours, you are the captain of your medical team.  


  1. Thanks a lot for the nice and helpful information provided..good one

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  2. Thank you so much for giving us such kind of handy content which will be most useful to me as well as others.

  3. My mother also screams with the pain because she works so hard and feels pain in the night I usually take her to Physiotherapy North Ryde to provide her relief from the pains she feels.