TW: discussion of medical examinations
So, today I saw the pain specialist, at long last. (Recap: I was meant to be referred in 2015, which didn’t happen, and then I was referred to one that was too far away for me to get to after I said I wasn’t going and wanted to go to the one in the same hospital where my psychiatrist is for reasons of being able to get there, and finally that happened and then I had to wait and yeah.)
Nothing happened. He examined me with my corset on, so obviously, he thinks I’m able to stand straight and all, what with, you know, 22 spiral steel bones holding me up by the grace of a really long shoelace. (I specifically asked the psychiatrist to tell him no other people present for the exam, too, and he just had to bring in one of the reception ladies to stand and stare at me while I was put through positions. I don’t think people realise that’s more mentally destabilising than just getting the exam over with.) He didn’t explain anything that he was doing either, which I hate because it feels like being put on display, and I’m so done with being the for-show-sub.
So on the way home, I had to get more pain meds, because nothing happened. He has to think, you see, to make sure he doesn’t give me anything that will have more chance of killing me than what I’m on. (Bear in mind, the only restrictions on what I am on right now are that it’s an S3-pharmacist only medicine, so it can’t be sold in supermarkets, and it can only be sold in packets less than a 5-day recommended dose. That’s it. All the rest of it is just pharmacists making things up and people being paranoid because a super-tiny percentage of people who put up with the dehumanising rigmarole and purchase it legally may end up addicted. Studies put this at 3% of users, with 30% becoming physically dependent, which is not addicted. Addiction is when use of it impacts the ability to live a normal life, such as not buying food to afford it or stealing money to get it, and it’s often characterised with increasing use, hence the fear that it is a gateway drug. Physical dependence is when quality of life is compromised without it because the body needs the effect of the medication, like how people who are on blood thinners or heart medication have to taper off even when switching brands, so that the things those drugs are meant to control don’t get out of control.)
It’s been a while since I have had to speak with a pharmacist to get them. It’s also been a while since I’ve had access to my printer, since I’ve been in too much pain to reliably trust myself to set up my new computer, so my note looks a bit old.
So today the assistant takes off to the back to ‘run it past the pharmacist’ and comes back a few minutes later, hands my my note, and someone has written the date on the back.
You know, rather than asking me anything so I could say ‘I just came from the pain specialist and I have to stay on this until he confers with my other doctors to decide what to give me’, they just decided, on their own, to write on my property, so they could track my purchase habits (not my usage), without signing up for MedsASSIST and thus ensuring I wouldn’t go there (because MedsASSIST is a huge violation of privacy and now entirely pointless, since my medication will go prescription-only next year. Apparently the government thinks a year is enough for everyone to get through to the proper specialists and get a diagnosis and get functional. I’ve been unable to work for four years and I’m only just now breaking through through sheer refusal to accept anything less than compassionate, informed treatment.) I don’t actually think I was meant to notice. It was on the back, in tiny writing, in the corner.
But I don’t get this thing at all. I mean, sure, yeah, I complained the time a pharmacist called me an addict to my face because people with migraines can’t have excruciating, sleep-stealing back pain. I think that was justified, because it wasn’t compassionate, and the pharmacist missed a huge opportunity to actually try to find out whether there was something better or make sure I was aware of the risks etc. (I got lectured on those again today. Yes. I know ibuprofen is bad. Paracetamol is worse for me. Yes, I know codeine sucks at relieving the pain I have. I haven’t been offered or able to access anything else.) Today the pharmacist wouldn’t even talk to me. The only contact with a pharmacist I have had at that pharmacy at all in the last six months is one time he came out and asked how many I was taking, and when I said he told me I should tell my doctor. I wondered what he thought I’d been doing, over and over and over again. And again. “Just eat more!” Except eating hurts, I’m not hungry, and now swallowing hurts because something in my neck is swelling like a big stupid grape. I have had pharmacists yell at me from behind the back counter where, of course, I can’t type to them. And they thought having a system of tracking medication would work? Why? Because it meant they didn’t have to talk to people. It’s the only conclusion I can draw. Pharmacists do not want to talk to me. At all. But without talking to me, they can’t do the thing. They won’t let me go in and buy what I need to survive until a doctor listens and lets me say all the things and finds the magical right solution, but they won’t talk to me to find out whether there’s anything better that they will give me without less drama, they won’t listen if I do get the chance to try to explain or ask. (I remember one time I went in and asked if there was anything else I could take, and we went around in circles for half an hour ‘I can’t give you codeine’ vs ‘I know that because I am asking for something that isn’t codeine’.)
And then there was the time where they wouldn’t give me my meds because they didn’t know if I wanted the generic or not because questions end with a question mark.
I am likely to get fibro meds and I have to keep telling myself it’s just a few more weeks of being treated like a subhuman for having pain.
I honestly don’t know if I can last. It’s not even that the opioid-suppresses-respiration thing is kicking in, or the pain is ridiculously worse because of the heat, but I just want to go in, get my meds, and come home, without drama or people trying to spy on me because they think they know my body better than I do when I’m the one stuck in it and they won’t even look at me.
(And, for the record, I can’t buy online, because the online ones don’t have ingredient lists, and about three hours of increasingly specific and weird searches leads me to the conclusion that not only are they three times more expensive than purchasing them legally, they have lactose, which means if I don’t throw them up, I won’t be able to breathe, because lactose comes from milk and I am allergic to milk. Being allergic to milk and therefore not even being able to walk down the cheese aisle without nausea and itching does not make for lactose intolerance. This is a backdoor PSA. Adults can be deathly allergic to milk.)
And now, because my life is not my own, I have to go tell my mum everything that happened in exact detail because she’s the only one allowed to keep her medical issues to herself.