Sorry in advance this is so long. I've been told to write a book.
I'm glad someone spoke up (in the blog) about what I've felt since the day I was seriously injured in an auto accident that happened 5 years ago, that not only crushed my spine (cervical to lumbar) but damaged my right rotator cuff & tendons in my right hand where I can no longer write, (however, I can still type...no carpel tunnel syndrome for me thank God), and had a severe brain injury. I thank God everday I can now walk & realize how VERY fortunate I wasn't paralyzed. When I turned 35 three years after the accident I also found out I had MS. I've learned it doesn't show up in some people until their mid 30s and/or after severe trauma (they didn't run the tests until I was 35). Also, I have a mild form of Parkinson's disease with tremors & petit mal seizures which started when I reached puberty (although I wasn't correctly diagnosed until I was 21...people got to remember we still have "ways to go" when it comes to medical science; they say my mom having chicken pox & other trauma she experienced when she gave birth to me may had caused my neurological symptons that I exhibited from the day I was born, however, since my development wasn't delayed & I WAS mentally above average they didn't make a big deal out of it; it was living hell for me especially to have uncontrollable tremors...I felt like a freak during my school years & in college; I'm very thankful though to some counselors that helped me through it). My anxiety became a disorder when I became subconcious of my symptons worsening so I'm being treated for that as well. I was and still am always been an insomniac (believe me, I've tried EVERYTHING, modified my lifestyle like diet, used to be able to go to the gym, yoga & meditation, tapes, hypnosis, acupuncture, herbal substances, etc.; I've been told to try marijuna but I don't want to do anything illegal & I don't drink; I've heard marijuana could be prescribed to me in Oregon but I'm still have reservations about "going down that road" plus I can't afford to move). I can go for 5 days without sleeping even though I'm EXTREMELY physically tired. Finally, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome & am being treated for depression since my ex-husband and I separated in 2002, then when I found out I couldn't bear anymore children, then when I got into my auto accident in 2004 where my career was essentially over, one which I still owe $55k for in student loans, but more importantly, I'm currently not able to support my 15 yr old daughter (which I was thankful to give birth to her) for the first time ever & my ex-husband has completely abandoned her as well & has been able to evade child support even though he was ordered to pay it (thankfully, I was told I don't have the clinical depression but situational depression). I was fortunate that my parents, who live in Wellington, (near West Palm Beach) have been able to "take my daughter in" while I've been staying almost an hour south of them because all my doctors are located there (they work with John Hopkins through Nova Southeastern University). I had to sell my house just to get some of the necessary operations & my credit went from perfect to hopeless.
Anyways, my point is, that not everyone who takes pain medication abuses it. Though, I find some people who take it can't help being addicted. I believe more thorough histories & comprehensive follow-ups should be performed for these people. And there are those who take it to to get high and/or not feel emotional pain. These people usually are suffering from depression but are too proud to get psychiatric help and/or used to abusing other substances as well (a lot of them are men). Although, I have to say when I sought psychiatric help it was definitely used against me when my husband tried to discredit me to get out of paying child support so I can see maybe why they may be reluctant to "open up." Even so, the latter are the ones that ruins it for the rest of us. The DEA needs to consider the different types of people's needs more carefully where legislation needs to be enforced more specifically to prevent illegal abuse (i.e. selling it for profit illegally). I believe the DEA is benefiting financially from this though. 35 out of 50 pain clinics were "shut down" in the Fort Lauderdale area in the last couple months by the DEA. I have a police/doctor friend who has shared his experience of working with the DEA in different stings throughout South Florida (believe it or not, he went from being a doctor to moonlighting as a detective in addition to his practice because it was always a dream of his). I am also really concerned for our high population of senior citizens where a lot of them are hospice patients suffering from severe pain until their very end. It really breaks my heart seeing so many of them so often.
Well, when I am forced to go to the hospital because I didn't catch the cycle in time to "break the pain" I am usually given 2 IV bags of morphine followed with 2 IV bags of Diludid, which I've been told is 8x stronger than morphine. I was prescribed the pill format once but I didn't get any relief & found out later it usually is only effective in the "IV" format as far as "breaking the pain cycle."
I myself refused pain medication for 4 of the 5 years but then it became a means to an end when my spasm in my brain stem worsened & caused debilitating symptons (i.e. temporary blindness in my left eye, inability to move any of my limbs, memory loss, my left side of my nose running continuosly, my jaw is permantly locked in the mid section & I'm barely unable to speak, etc.; all of these symptons happen when I don't have ANY medication in my system). Since the brain has a memory of pain (what I've been told; one of my surgeons is the one who operated on Pres. Clinton's knee) it would cycle for periods of at least 3 days to eventually continuing nonstop until I was able "break up" the pain, and thus, causing severe inflammation & worsening the brain damage (it started just as a brain injury). I'm highly allergic to oxycodone but when I take it as needed I supplement major amounts of antihistamine. In contrast, I met someone who related to my experience of being misunderstood about having to resort to pain medication, but this person WAS addicted to the medicine. He admitted he took it for the high as well as stomach pain. I sometimes question his dependence of it by thinking he originally used it for minor pain & enjoyed the feeling good so much which led to his now severe stomach pain, that I believe was caused by taking the 800-1000 mg of daily oxycodone he "ate" (as he put it) but who am I to judge? I NEVER took it for the high nor would I ever do that. But I learned & witnessed that some people's biological makeup makes them dependent on these drugs while others like myself can take it as needed & more often then not have some left over. No one in my family exhibited any addictive behavior where on BOTH sides of his family there are drug users or abusers (one got AIDS from it). He comes from a very affluent family being related to some highly respected doctors (I was raised in an upper middle class family myself but my parents lost almost everything after my brother's "coma expense" & more importantly, they have not recovered emotionally especially my father who was the ambitious one which has affected them financially). My own pain management doctor (where I only got 9 epidurals) is in prison because he was addicted to oxycontin and sold pills on the side of his practice to support his habit. He is an ivy league graduate & was well respected in the medical community. I was very pleased with his service.
As soon as I can get my medical situation under control & be somewhat financially stable I plan to start a non-profit organization (where ALL the money will go to the cause) to raise awareness. I'm eligible for disability but in FL you can't work for two years before your even considered. I've been able to work a little here in there (average $8,000 per year for the last 5 yrs; before the auto accident I was a CFO of a company for 3 yrs where my annual salary was starting to go to six figures). I lost my only sibling (my big brother) when I was 17 (he was 21) where he was brain dead after being in a coma from an auto accident where I later found out that the hospital might have pulled the plug to soon because he had symptons where certain necessary tests weren't performed to actually declare him "brain dead." Between these two incidents and the impact it has had on my life, my family's life, & the life of others I've witnessed and always wanted to help has given me the biggest purpose of my existence (after my daughter) and I WILL DO EVERYTHING TO ENSURE THAT PEOPLE WILL NOT HAVE TO SUFFER in the one in only lifetime they are afforded and that AS MUCH AWARENESS IS RAISED AS POSSIBLE for EVERYONE (including those who just know someone who is suffering) so we don't have to rely on the pharmaceutical companies & the government to protect us, assist us, understand us. EVERYONE'S LIFE IS IMPORTANT & SHOULD BE VALUED AS SUCH!! Sadly, I've also many people who have been driven to suicide because they couldn't find the right help. Most of them reached out & tried everything before they took that last step. It definitely crossed my mind when I felt how now how people valued me as worthless when it comes to what I can provide to the community. I'm blessed that my daughter values me though. It hurts me to see my parents have to suffer when both their children lives were affected so greatly from auto accidents that they didn't cause. My parents need to be enjoying their golden years & I'm supposed to be the strong one that gives back to them.
Note: there isn't ANY Oxycodone in from Palm Beach County to Dade County, Florida,
at any of the major pharmacies or the "mom & pop" ones; they all say they don't
know when they'll receive another shipment; and, down here you're stereotyped
if your under the age of 50 of being a drug abuser if you even inquire about