On 25th June I wrote about anniversaries and how in my case they are better forgotten as they tend to have negative connotations.
However, I realized the other day that a different sort of anniversary has just passed. It ought to be a positive, I suppose. I will compromise, not calling it negative.
What am I talking about?
At the end of June last year I placed myself in the care of a new primary care physician (PCP).
He is a young man, with a new attitude and probably with new guidelines and quotas to fill, since that is the way the modern world apparently has to function.
It still seems bizarre, to me, to go to a doctor only to watch him tapping in a computer as he talks, without contemplating his patient.
I suppose this is instead of reading your chart, prior to entering the room, as they used to, long ago.
Maybe this is better. They can access test results and all that up-to-date info.
Let’s suppose this is progress.
My very busy, new young doctor is nice and he is not responsible for the way the world is run. He plays his part and if I am cynical, it’s not his fault.
Because of the so called “Oxycodone Crisis”, it had been decreed that long-term prescriptions must no longer be issued.
At least my new doctor told me this up front.
My old medical office made me run around and jump through more and more hoops each month. Maybe they hoped I would get fed-up and go away. I did. I daresay they celebrated. Good for them.
Telling me the truth is the way to get me to co-operate. No messing about. Just tell me what I need to do.
After more than 15 years on an opium derivative that I never asked for in the first place, I was to scale off it.
Sick of being treated like a drug addict, and sick of the monthly runaround, I did not protest.
What people didn’t seem to understand about me is that I do not (thank you God) have an addictive personality. I was not psychologically addicted to oxycodone.
But my body chemistry had become dependent on it.
So in withdrawal, I experienced some fairly horrible mood swings, but I did not ever, once, feel the need to reach for the pill bottle.
Other medications were offered to ease the symptoms of withdrawal, but everything had a side-effect.
At the same time, I needed to find an alternative for handling the chronic pain that I expected to kick in as I reduced the dreaded drug.
Finding a reasonable, effective alternative was as much of a drag as the withdrawal symptoms. I’ll be generous and say my thought processes at the time were fractured.
A reputable pain clinic was recommended. It was likely my own fault, but I had never felt less listened to. The treatment I got served only to increase my pain.
This did not improve my frame of mind.
So I did some on-line searching and found another clinic as well as a decent acupuncturist.
At the same time, I scaled down the oxycodone as quickly as I could. Having begun the withdrawal on July 1st (20mg a day), I took my last 2.5mg dose on October 11th.
My PCP seemed surprised I’d done it so quickly, but once I knew the plan, I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
What I didn’t really want, was to be congratulated, as if I had kicked a bad habit. It was another way of treating me like a drug addict.
It was well meant. I was being over-sensitive.
Soon, I realized the oxycodone had not really reduced my pain all that much. It had given me the stamina, occasionally, to do a little gardening or house cleaning.
Off the oxy, car trips had to be reduced.
This was my personal experience, I must emphasize. Everyone is different. Everyone’s pain threshold is different.
Being asked to rate ones pain numerically seems totally inadequate, but it’s all they have.
For me, there are three levels of pain:
The kind I take an asprin for, an ache.
The kind that makes me lie down and apply whatever salves, heating pads or ice packs seem to help.
And then there is the kind that makes me scream.
Using the number system, I rate screaming at about 12. Fortunately, I don’t get there very often.
Looking back, I am glad to have been taken off oxycodone.
The process was intensely unpleasant and I am annoyed that no-one considered getting me off it much sooner. Doctors kept prescribing it each month without question, until suddenly it was out of fashion.
It would please me greatly to see the parties responsible for this drug held accountable for the havoc it made of people’s lives, for the deaths that resulted.
What I should also say is that while I am fortunate enough to have found other ways of handling pain, there are many people who have a much greater level of pain constantly, for any number of reasons. For those people, oxycodone does make a difference and they should not be forced off it because carelessness by a few people allowed it to become a recreational drug.
It is indeed fortunate for me that oxycodone never affected me in any way that could be considered “recreational”.
The most it ever did for me was lead me into occasional bad decision making .
The pictures in this post are from last summer. Note the much smaller Shasta daisy plant and also the squirrel with what I believe I called the “tartan” tail. We have not seen anything like it yet this year.