Once a week I fill up my weekly pill box container with all of my pain medication for the week. This helps me to remember to take them, what I need to take each morning and night and worse case scenario, if I can’t get out of bed someone else can bring them to me without it being a hassle of me trying to remember what I need etc.
Realising I was almost out of my pain medication
Back in December 201, as I was filling up my container, I realised I only had enough of my main pain medication, Targin, to last until Wednesday night. So I jumped online to book an appointment with my GP … only to discover he was on holidays until the following Tuesday! I almost died. I am usually on top of this stuff and make my appointments in advance for this reason but since my gastric bypass surgery I have been off with remembering things even more so and have stuffed up a few things. My problem here is, I can only get pain scripts from my GP and pain specialist otherwise I am seen as and then recorded as ‘Doctor Shopping’. So I thought I’d call my pain specialists office in the morning and see what I should/need to do.
Trying to do the right thing
Monday morning after school drop off I rang and spoke with a lady (whom I got her name but wasn’t familiar with). She said she would speak to my pain specialist and call me back. Nothing all day.
Tuesday morning after school drop off I call again. Another receptionist answers and recalls that I need to speak with the lady from the day before and transfers me over. She apologises as my pain specialist hasn’t replied to her message yet and that she would catch her when she gets in after her rounds at the hospital. It gets to 2pm and still nothing, so I decided to call again before I go to school pick up as I know after that I will be busy with the girls. The same lady who has been nice and helpful each time, suddenly gets abrupt, louder and tells me that due to patients continually ringing in for scripts that they have had to put a $50 charge on all scripts as it is taking up so much of the Doctors time. I instantly became upset, telling her that I do not have $50, and she continues on telling me my GP can do my script – I remind her he is away and I normally do that, but since my recent surgery my head has been a bit all over the place. She says another GP at my medical practice should be able to do a script with my records etc. I let her know that I wasn’t sure about that as my GP has informed me that only him and my pain specialist could in fact write the scripts and that was why I was calling to find out what I needed to do. She was so rude I ended up telling her that I would contact the medial centre and inquire about it and that I would call her back.
I burst into tears when I got off the phone but didn’t have time for that so I had to stop so I could call my Drs office. The receptionist that I spoke to their was disgusted in the way I had been treated and couldn’t believe how much they wanted to charge for a script. She did explain that she wasn’t sure what another GP could do and there was the risk of being red flagged on the doctor shopper list. I was so upset about that as I have always done the right thing and this was the first time that this had ever happened which was why I didn’t know what to do. So she kindly booked me into a bulk billing time slot for the next day, Wednesday.
Thankfully when I saw the other GP at my drs surgery, he was understanding and was able to pull up my records etc and was able to write me a script for a lesser amount of tablets but it was enough that would see me through until my GP was back.
Have I been red flagged as a doctor shopper/drug seeker?
I don’t think so. He said that allowances could be made for times like this – especially since it’s the same medical centre with all my records. So fingers are crossed. But the worry and upset it caused me wasn’t nice. I have read so many different stories of chronic pain patients being treated as ‘drug seekers’ etc and was horrified at the thought of it finally being ‘my time’. I am not a drug seeker, nor am I a drug addict. I am a chronic pain patient, and yes, I am dependent on my pain medications – to help me get out of bed each day and function at a level that can get my girls to and from school safely and live some sort of a life with some sort of quality to it.
Hopefully a lesson learnt and I don’t get myself in this predicament again anytime soon!