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    Veteran being forced off pain meds
    coloradovet posted:
    I am a veteran who is being forced off my pain meds against my will. The pain meds allowed me to not be a burden to my husband. Apparently all veterans using the VAMC system will be forced off their meds unless they have cancer. I started on the opiods 10 years ago and it was a good fit for me. I am terrified of the pain I will suffer because the doctors are not pain specialists and think everyone is addicted. They have no concept of dependance on pain meds and think that the 100 fentanyl patch that I'm on is unreasonable. I will not live in pain. She's going to let me keep my 84 percocets a month. Big deal. She has no idea what it's like to live in pain. She actually told me that the pain will not be there when I'm weaned off the meds. Then why were they started????? I'm tired of people controlling my life, Is this happening at other VAMC?
    Anon_1112 responded:
    I too am a veteran and use the VA and they do have a pain program with pain specialists. I'm in one for migraines and I'm now getting Botox injections for the pain. Now, I'll grant you, it's not the same as Fentanyl Patches- but a friend of mine is getting her pain meds and she needs back surg that the VA can't do, and she's having it done at an area hospital and the VA is picking up the tab(less her cost). If you need it, the VA lets you have it.The VA also has an inpatient program to help patients cope with their pain- maybe that would be of some help to you. Talk to the patient advocate if your primary MD won't refer you to a Pain Clinic Physician. They are there to help you. I hope you get the help you need.
    annette030 responded:
    Thank you for your military service.

    I read a recent article about the "excessive" use of opioids by the military, perhaps that has set these things you mention into motion.

    Is your doctor open to treating you with long acting opioids if the pain does come back as strong as before? Have you come straight out and asked her?

    Many studies do show that after a person is weaned off of long term opiates their pain IS less than it was before they started. I haven't read any studies that showed it was gone entirely though. I don't think they actually know why this happens. It does not mean you didn't have adequate pain to be treated with opiates that beginning.

    Talk to her and ask her just what the plan is, then decide if you want to go along with it. If not, you can always see a civilian doctor.

    Take care, Annette
    annette030 replied to Anon_1112's response:
    Thank you for your military service also.

    As an old nurse, I found that the VA system differed drastically from place to place. One city, they had a great reputation, the next city, they did not.

    My son (Marines) and my late uncle (Navy) both really liked the care they got through the VA, although my son uses civilian doctors for some things, he still sees the VA doctors for many of his service related issues. He is fairly young so that is really most of his care at this point in time. My was very lucky in that the advocate that pointed him in the right direction for VA care was excellent when he left active duty.

    Take care, Annette
    coloradovet replied to Anon_1112's response:
    It depends on the VA and if this thing works at our VA you can bet it will be happening at ALL VAMCs. They often use our VA as a test center.

    I have been dx'd with several painful conditions including RSD and complex pain syndrome as well as TOS, DDD and others.
    coloradovet replied to annette030's response:
    That may be but shouldn't it be done on a case by case basis? And shouldn't there have been other treatments in place?

    I was on long acting opiods and the Doctor is very uncomfortable with them plus she is getting pressure form the top. They took EVERYONE who doesn't have cancer off the meds.

    The only reason they haven't taken me completely off is because I've told them if I go off and the pain is as bad as it was in the beginning when I started the opiods I can and will kill myself. I will not live in that kind of pain again, unable to live any kind of a normal life. Being a burden to my family.

    Teh problem is my pain is just as worse then it was on the opiods and I've gotten chronic back spasms (something I haven't had since I started the opioid therapy). I hurt all the time now to the point my garden is overrun with weeds and my house is a pigsty. the only reason I can post here is because my Dragon Naturally Speaking.

    I'd love to see a civilian Dr. but I don't have the money. I've asked my work comp Dr. to send me to see a pain specialist who works opiates and other modalities of treatment. Still waiting. I've asked the VA medical center to send me up to the Denver VAMC pain clinic but that won't be until spring. She's keeping me on the half dose but extending it to every 3 days instead of every 2. to be honest with you I don't know if I'm going to last that long

    It is stupid to institute such a policy and apply it to every one no matter what their pain
    coloradovet replied to annette030's response:
    I loved this VAMC. I had always thought it was one of the best places in the world and I was very lucky to be able to use it.... That is until this policy came through.

    No one seems to understand that I'd rather have a few good years teen a 100 years of pain.

    Sadly the patient advocate at this VAMC is helpless to do anything. I know he's very frustrated.I will continue to fight this unjust policy until my last breath. I've talked to other veterans whose lives are being ruined by this ignorant blanket policy
    Anon_1112 replied to coloradovet's response:
    If you can't wait for the consult at the VA (and it sounds like you can't) I was told by a VA nurse that if you go to the ER and you have a consult "in", that will get you seen sooner at that clinic. I never tried it, but if you feel really really bad,you might want to try it. Just a thought- good luck to you!
    annette030 replied to coloradovet's response:
    I don't know what their policy is or what they are doing, nor am I standing up for whatever they are doing to you.

    I only commented on some research I have read regarding folks who stopped using opioids and ended up with less pain (not zero pain) than they had to begin with.

    I am a bit confused because first you said your "pain is just as worse then it was on the opioids" but in the following paragraph you state you are still on opioids but at a lower dose??? I also have no clue what you mean by "Dragon Naturally Speaking", neither did my husband, ex-Army.

    I hope you start to feel better soon.

    Take care, Annette
    _swank_ replied to annette030's response:
    Dragon Naturally Speaking is voice recognition software. Dragon is the trade name. It allows you to talk at your computer and it will type what you say. I used it once after elbow surgery when I couldn't type. It actually works very well.
    Anon_1112 replied to _swank_'s response:
    I was wondering what Dragon... was myself. Thanks for clarifying! I'm sooo dense when it comes to the computer. Actually, the VA (well at least my neuro) uses something like that. He has a headset on- speaks his note while I'm there, and the stupid thing usually types the wrong thing, and he gets frustrated and has to keep repeating himself until the note is correct. Ah, that's progress for you. I used to be an RN, I told him he could write the note faster (those were the days) waiting for the computer to "get it" right. Have a good day all. At least as good as one can what with all the pains.
    coloradovet replied to Anon_1112's response:
    The problem is that the pain clinic is in Denver and I'm in Grand Junction. Any way I hate to bump anyone whose been waiting in line. I am going to call them on Monday though and also my wc doctor and see if she'll write my referral for a local pain doc. Thanks for replying
    coloradovet replied to annette030's response:
    Sorry meant to say before I was on the meds. I'm now on half dosage and my VA Doctor is getting heat about the fact that I'm still on. I never thought you were defending the policy you were making a comment and trying to help me which I do appreciate. I wish it was working for me (the weaning off resulting in lower pain) but my pain goes up each time we step down. Dragon Naturally speaking is a wonderful device that allows me to dictate into my computer. I get my programs used on Ebay. Thanks for your reply
    coloradovet replied to Anon_1112's response:
    The dragon takes some training because of accents and variations in speech but it's a Godsend for me. The TOS and RSD make it difficult to type. Got to get back to writing the Power That Be to get an answer about this policy.

    Got blown off by the Director who is apparently too good to speak to a lowly veteran. LOL
    annette030 replied to _swank_'s response:
    Thanks, Swank. See I learn something new every day. Years back my friend had one of the earliest voice recognition programs, she got too frustrated with it and finally tossed it out.

    I guess they finally works out all the kinks.

    Take care, Annette

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