Monday, I realized, I am no longer a person in the eyes of the medical profession. I am a drug addict and nothing more. Except, I’m a drug addict who isn’t a drug addict.
Last week, I began having issues with vomiting, undoubtedly related to my stomach issues. I talked to the gastroenterologist nurse who told me I was probably in a pain flare after throwing up two days worth of pills and I needed to talk to my pain management doctor about it. Most likely, the vomiting is the result of a pain flare. I can agree with that. I’m not good at remembering to vomit into a bucket or bowl and getting down in front of a toilet is torture, especially since I’m not keeping down my pain meds.
I called pain management and was told to get the vomiting under control and they couldn’t do anything for me. Since, Friday night, I have kept down two partial pieces of toast and that is all. It isn’t an emergency because there isn’t blood in my vomit and it doesn’t look like coffee grounds. I have my first GI consult on August 26th and if I can’t keep down food between now and then, well then, I can’t keep down food, because it’s most likely being caused by the pain in my hip and not the problem of the gastroenterologist.
Here’s the part that gets me. If a non-opiate using patient called their doctor and said “I’ve been vomiting since Friday and can’t keep anything down.” They wouldn’t basically be told to “Suck it up.” I was told by the gastro nurse, it was likely pain coupled with opiate withdrawal. So I went and looked up the symptoms of opiate withdrawal. I have one. Vomiting. Which is one I have when I’m in pain too. But if I were to go to the ER and say “Hey, my pain is out of control, I think I have an ulcer, I’ve been vomiting for 5 days” they would tell me “it’s opiate withdrawal and [I] just have to ride it out.”
Until something serious happens, like I faint from lack of food or vomit blood or something akin to coffee grounds, the absolute only thing that a doctor will see as being wrong with me is my opiate use for CRPS – and quite frankly, even if that happens, they will still blame the opiates. That makes me angry and sad. Is it any wonder that so many of my fellow chronic pain sufferers commit suicide? We aren’t treated like people if we choose to treat our pain and honestly, our society doesn’t do a great job of treating that anymore.