Friday, October 14, 2011

Nightmare at The Doctor's Office (I'm Furious and You Should be Too)

More and more Federal and state governments are intruding on the rights of individuals and what they do with their own God given bodies.

Part 1: My Brush With Death

Flashback to April of 2010. Having trouble sleeping I went to see Certified Nurse Practitioner, at the Philadelphia Health Center in Philadelphia, Mississippi. I informed her that I was allergic or had had serious reactions to drugs in the NSAID family, and that since an auto accident in 2007, I had, as needed, taken Clarispodol (Soma) to help me with sleep. She informed me that Clarispodol was not a clean drug and I would not get it from her. Since, I didn't have any money at the time for another doctor visit, I was left at her mercy.

Clarispodol took care of two problems for me, the pain in my neck and sleep. After the accident it was very hard for me to get to sleep because my neck felt stiff, and had an electric shock like pain it in, and it would send pain down my arm, making it hard to get comfortable. As always, I took one before I went to bed, and one 4 hours later when I awoke. It allowed me to get good rest, and it only stayed in my system for four hours, and unlike Unisom or some of the other sleep or pain medications, it would be out of my system when it was time to get up, and did not leave me with a hangover or fatigued the next day.

After informing me that she would not give me Clarispodol, (she said she had worked too hard for her license, and was taking no chances on losing it) she wrote me a prescription for Tramadol (which I later find out is a very addictive drug and unlike Clarispodol, you can't just stop taking it).

Unfortunately, I needed sleep, so I had no choice but to do what she suggested. I got ready for bed, and took one tramadol tablet, and mercifully, I fell asleep. However, when I woke up, I felt like I had been struck by a virus or something. I could barely move my body down my hallway to the kitchen, and when I bent down to get a pan out of my cabinet, it took all of my strength to get back up, and I was having trouble breathing, and my left leg beneath the knee and my foot became swollen.

A few days later I started to recover, and went for a walk with my friend, however, as we walked my foot started to swell. I went back to the CNP, and she gave me fluid pills (I know know that was the worst thing she could do for me). She never checked me for Congestive Heart Failure or tried to find out what was wrong with me. Shortly after that I began to gain weight, so much, that within about 6 months I had ballooned from 125 lbs to 170 something pounds.

My deck, that was usually lined with green plants and flowers sat vacant that next summer. I did not have the energy to plant flowers, to walk, or do any of the things I had enjoyed in life before. I have always been hyperactive with a lot of energy and now it was all gone. In addition to that I started having small muscle spasm's from my head to my feet. I called a doctors office and they told me, to just drink some gatorade.

A friend of mine, Natascha Trest, a former nurse came over and we tried to figure out the problem. I had all the symptoms of Hypothyroid, but it is usually an inherited disorder, and no one in my family had ever had it, so I dismissed it. Another family member, also a nurse, told me it was also symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure.

Luckily for me, I happen to sit down by a stranger in Philadelphia and while sitting there a friend of mine came by and yanked on my shirt and said, "It looks like your pregnant". I commented to the lady next to me, "I don't know what is going on, I've gained all of this weight, and I'm having spasm's all over my body, including my head." She said, oh honey, that is your thyroid, I have the exact same problem."

A few more weeks went by, and the spasm's became worse. In fact they hit so hard in my chest that it felt like it knocked my hand off my chest. I had to go to Jackson for a funeral, so while I was there I went to the University Medical Center Emergency Room. I explained to the doctor what was happening to me and ask her to check my thyroid. It wasn't long she came back into the room, and said, "You are right, it is your thyroid".

Finally an answer as to why I had no energy, why I had spasms, why my leg was swelling, why my hair was dry and thin, why I could not remember anything, and suffered from confusion.

Previous to taking Tramadol I had been trading stocks for a living and doing very well, but as the confusion and exhaustion took over my life, I seemed to have lost my touch. I could no longer decide when to buy and when to sell. Always a very active person, I seldom left my house.

As I began taking the thyroid medicine my world came back into focus. I was alive again, and my energy, although not to previous levels, was returning. So was my ability to think and try and figure out what had happened to me.

It took me countless hours of research but I finally found out that Tramadol can cause Hyponatremia (low sodium) and Hypokalemia (low Potassium) (the reason for my muscle spasms and leg cramps), and on top of that, instead of trying to find out what was causing the swelling, teh CNP gave me fluid pills, which may have decreased my sodium and potassium even more.

Whether Tramadol caused my Hypothyroid or simply pushed it over the edge, I'll probably never know. If you have a thyroid problem you are not suppose to take Tramadol, and this is why doctors should perform lab test on their patients to rule out other problems before blindly throwing a pill at you.

One pill, and my life is forever changed. When I posed on my facebook page about it making me sick the one and only time I took it, someone inboxed me and said, "Stay away from Tramadol" it is highly addictive, dangerous drug.

Many CNP's and Doctors, are afraid to even treat their patients that need it, with anything that might be considered a controlled substance. As a result, patients like me, who are multi-drug sensitive or allergic, are literally dying or injured, by being forced to take medications they are allergic to or unfamiliar with.

Prior to a car wreck in 2007, I rarely took any kind of pain medication unless I was in the hospital or had a tooth pulled. I hate pills, so an aspirin or a Tylenol was a rarity too. Ibuprofin hurt my stomach, Naproxen (Aleve) gave me ulcers, and aspirin (which I wish I could take once a day) gave me an Asthma attack.

The so called War on Drugs is destroying the doctor patient relationship, and causing many patients to die, at the hands of those who are suppose to be the most caring people on earth, their physicians. At the bottom of this blog, I will be including a youtube video about drug seeking behavior. On that video is a scene where the patient spouts off a list of things they are allergic to, and this is included, in what is to be considered "drug seeking behavior".

I'm angry,  because medical professionals dont' listen to or take their patients seriously when they go to them for help, dismissing the patients concerns, allergies, and medical history, many times resulting in injury or death.

I have no doubt, that had I not taken my medical needs into my own hands, I would have simply gotten sicker and sicker until I died. Even though I work, I don't have health insurance through my employer and can't afford it otherwise. I feel that my lack of health insurance, and my firm belief that I have the right to control what does or does not go into my body, has contributed to the lack of proper care I have received from the medical establishment. When I had great insurance, I never had this problem, so I believe it is related to some doctor's attitudes toward uninsured patients, even when they are paying out of pocket.

If you are a person with a brain, that is proactive in your health needs, you are frowned on by the medical establishment. They need robots, not intellingent, thinking human beings, that pay attention to their bodies, and know what they can and can't put into them.

Part 2: Needing a Good Nights Sleep, and Being Concerned About What Medicine I take, Gets Me Labeled with, "Drug Seeking Behavior".

I usually manage my sleep problems with over the counter medication, but on occasion, I need something stronger. In addition to stopping HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) which helps with sleep, my new job is from 8pm to 4am, in addition to that I have hypothyroid, which can also contribute to a lack of sleep, so a hormonal imbalance problem, coupled with trying to get use to a new shift, and sleep in the daytime, have made a manageable sleep problem unbearable. (I know HRT will probably help me sleep, but it makes me feel deathly ill when I take it, and causes me to break out in a rash.)

My new job as a Black-Jack dealer requires a lot of concentration, and since I can't sleep soundly, my concentration is out the window. Add to that a Thyroid problem and ADHD, and you begin to get a picture of what I am talking about. My life is spent dealing, counting, and paying out, sometimes large sums of money, and I need a good night sleep to do an appropriate job.

Several years ago, a doctor prescribed me Lunesta. which I may have taken for 30 day periods once or twice in my life, but I didn't like the bitter taste it left in my mouth. However, I knew it worked, I didn't have any side effects from it, and since I have multi-drug sensitivities, and allergies, that is important to me.

A friend told me about a good doctor with a great bedside manner, and I went to see him, only to discover he is an urgent care physician, and does not take patients on a regular basis, so he made me an appointment with a new doctor, Doctor Kumar, in Philadelphia, MS. I was told to take all of my medications with me, which I did, and when they ask what I was there for, I told them my thyroid and sleep. Since I don't have health insurance, even though I work close to full time, I shelled out the $135.00 for my doctor visit.

Doctor Kumar was exceptionally nice, and had a great bedside manner, however, he informed me that he does not prescribe any sleep medications or controlled substances, as he is afraid to, because the DEA makes examples out of doctors, and hauls them off in handcuffs, and informed me I just needed to get more exercise. He also informed me that Lunesta and other sleep drugs were in the Benzodiazepine family.

Exercise is great advice, but you first have to have the energy to do it, and that does not mean it works for everyone. I was walking everyday before my thyroid was destroyed, but it still did not make me go to sleep at night.

This was really upsetting to me since I have to pay out of pocket for everything, and here was the second doctor visit wasted on someone who could not help me. Like most Americans, I need my job, I want to work, and shy away from any kind of government assistance. I want to do my job to the best of my ability, and I can't do that, on a few hours of sleep each night.

Exhausted when I left his office, from a lack of sleep, and from coming off the HRT, I broke down and cried, "why is is so hard for me to get help with this simple thing".

After leaving his office, I went over to Dr. Sariono's office, but it was so packed, there was not way I would be able to get in that day, so I drove back home, looked up Lunesta, and discovered it is not in the benzodiazepine family, so I figured it was not a controlled substance, as it only has a slight chance a person can become addicted to it.

I left home and headed to Union, and went into see CNP Glenda Barrett. However, when I ask if she could prescribe sleep medicine, I was told, I would have to see the doctor first to determine why I could not sleep, and an appointment with him would be weeks away,and I needed help now.

Because I ask If CNP Glenda Barrett could she prescribe sleep medicine, I was probably labeled by their office with "Drug Seeking Behavior, but before I wasted another dime on a doctor or a CNP, I wanted to know if they had the ability to write a prescription. No one would fork over money to any business without first knowing if they had the full ability to do the job you were hiring them to do. If a carpenter only knew how to build cabinets, you would not pay him a consultation fee for advice on building a house.

Once again I was running into the fear that doctors in this area feel for just doing their jobs, and I'm pretty confident that was what the problem with Glenda was. In fact, I think she may have been the one who prescribed me Lunesta all those years ago so why was it now necessary for me to see the doctor first?

Finally, after leaving her office, I became extremely upset, and angry, so I called and talked with a friend and tearfully told them my problem, and ask if they could recommend a doctor to me. I had already been several days without a good nights sleep, and it was now around dinner time or later (which for me is the middle of the night). He told me he uses Dr. Mutziger in Decatur, and that he was a good doctor.

I went to Dr. Mutziger's office, but again was told I would have to make an appointment or see a CNP. I ask, "can the CNP prescribe sleep medicine?", they told me, "She can prescribe anything she wants to." Finally, I thought, I will get some relief and get a good nights sleep so I shelled out the $95.00 dollars they required for the visit. (So far, including leaving work early because of a lack of sleep because I had an 8:00 doctors appointment that morning, I had shelled out $446 for nothing.

As I waited in CNP Brandi Keith's office in front of a computer a nurse ask me the usual questions about illness in my family, then she ask me unusual questions like, "Do you wear a seat belt?". I said what does that have to do with anything, and she said it is a behavior analysis. Then she proceeded to ask me if I had a smoke detector in my house, and if I worked in a smoky environment or around chemicals. When I glanced up at the computer I saw a State Farm emblem on the computer screen. Unbelievable, their doctors office was collecting information on patients and sending it to automobile insurance companies.

In walks, CNP Brandi Keith, and I explain to her that I would like to have my T3 and T4 levels checked on my thyroid, and to her credit, she agreed, and gave me a sample of the thyroid medication, Synthroid, to last me until my results came back.

Then we got on the subject of sleep. I told her I had taken Lunesta before and it worked well for me. She informed me that Lunesta is a controlled substance, and that she thought I should try melatonin. I told her melatonin gives me severe mood swings, and I can't take it, she said, maybe you need to try it again.

Well, If I had a problem with it once, why would I want to try it again, and if I could find something over the counter that worked, why would I waste my time and money in a doctor's office. I probably have 6 different over the counter sleep meds at my house: Benadry and Unisom are the main ones that worked in the past (most sleep meds have the same ingredient as benadryl). In addition when I looked at the ingredients on one that did not work, "Sleep Fast" it had melatonin in it.

Then she told me she would give me Rozeram. I was given a sample of Rozeram once, and many of you remember when I posted the side effects on facebook and we all had a good laugh. Side effects like, Hallucinations, "seeing things that are not there", increased insomnia, suicidal thoughts, driving and making phone calls that you have no recollection of, dizziness and tiredness ect... I told her because of what happened to me when I took Tramadol, I was afraid to try something new, and I didn't like the side effects of Rozeram. (After going back and looking at Rozerm and Melatonin, I have discovered the reason why I am not suppose to take it, and again, had she taken my medical history she would have understood).

She said, "Well did you look up the side effects of Lunesta?" I said "probably", but the truth is, I don't remember. All I know is I took Lunesta years before, it put me out like a light, I stayed asleep,and didn't have any side effects other than a bitter taste in my mouth."

She said, so you are saying if I dont' give you Lunesta you wont' take anything? Before I could answer her question she said, "You have drug seeking behavior, and this visit is over". I never said I would not take anything, I just did not want to take Rozeram and Melatonin (which has not worked for me, and because of other problems could have caused me serious reactions). She never gave me any other choice or bothered to ask me if I had tried any other kind of sleep medication..

So because I need sleep medicine, and I am afraid of taking any new drug that I don't know how it will affect me, I am labeled with "Drug Seeking Behavior"

After what happened with Tramadol, and other prescription drugs, I have a right to be scared, I have a right to refuse medication I am allergic to, I have a right to be listened to, I have a right to be believed when I say I'm allergic to something, and have my concerns validated, but I did not get that at one doctors office I visited. I would imagine if they had been through what I have been through over the last couple of years, they would be afraid of taking new medications too.

Today I found out what it is like for many patients who are in chronic pain., and are labeled by their doctors as drug addicts, simply because they hurt and need help. Obviously the same thing applies to people with sleep disorders. Doctors and CNP's are so afraid of the DEA that they can't even treat a patient with a legitimate complaint, even a lack of sleep, and I think it is high time the American people stand up and say, no more.

Not only is a lack of sleep affecting my job, it also poses a danger ,driving back and forth to work, to myself and others. Research says a sleepy driver is more dangerous than a drunk driver. However, on days I can't ride with someone else, that is exactly what is going to happen. You can thank the DEA and local doctors and CNP's who no longer care about their patients well being for that.

How dare a doctor, nurse practitioner, or anyone, deprive me of my right to treatment, and try and force me to take something I don't feel comfortable with. It is my body, my life, and I should not be put into a position where I have to choose my health over having a good nights sleep, and I darn sure should not be accused of drug seeking behavior because I'm careful about what I take.

If you like All laundry detergent, you find it works, does a good job on your clothes and doesn't make you itch, you are likely to stick with it. The same goes for medications, and obviously some of the medications that are controlled substances have fewer side effects than some of the other non-narcotic pain medications. In fact, some of these medications are dangerous and given to old people, making them fall and limiting their quality of life, and ability to function.

The medical profession had left the road of sanity, and fails to give their patients the respect they deserve.    They don't take the time to talk to a patient and take their history into consideration, or give them credit when they tell them they are allergic or intollerant to certain medications. They disregard their patients complaints, the way their patients feel, and have left the foundation of medicine, where the doctor was a doctor because he loved people and wanted to help them, to caring about nothing but the almighty dollar.

Not one doctor or nurse practitioner cared about me and my job, cared that I have to drive to work and risk going to sleep driving, and may as well have called me a liar when I told them what I was allergic to.

Ibuprofin hurts my stomach, Aleve gives me me ulcers, Aspirin gave me an asthma attack, One Tramadol almost killed me, sulfa drugs made me break out in a Lupus like rash, and made the white of my eye swell, and I was told if I ever take penicillin again, it may kill me, in addition to that, I have acid reflux, which makes some of those drugs hurt me even worse, but as you will see in the following video, people with multi-drug sensitivities are labeled with "Drug seeking Behavior" because they can't take drugs in the NSAID family.

I also guess I was "Doctor Shopping", since I went to four different offices, trying to find someone that would help me get a good nights sleep. The daytime is when most doctors are open, but it is the middle of the night for me. I had hoped I would only have to stay up one sleep period to find a doctor. The last three doctors I liked, moved from this area, and CNP's are obviously not as well qualified as doctors, and unable in many instances to meet the needs of their patients.

The CNP, Brandi Keith, never bothered to check my medical history, never ask to see my records, never ask why, or cared why, I was having trouble sleeping. Did not care that a drug I had never taken before had almost killed me a little over a year ago. None of those things were important to her.

What was important to her was that she was the one in charge, and I was only the patient, and what I thought and felt were irrelevant, dismissed with the wave of a hand and the slam of a folder and the words, "You have drug seeking behavior".

She may have gotten a good education, she may be book smart, but when it comes to asking the right questions, respect for her patients concerns, and bedside manner she gets an F. If the sleeping pill, Lunesta, is so bad, why would you ever give it to anyone, or refill a prescription? Yet, they regurally refill Lunesta for some of their patients ( I know this for a fact, and I would think getting a refill would be considered "Drug Seeking Behavior" too).. Lunesta was prescribed to me by a doctor, I never ask for it, I never used it on a regular basis, only when I encounters sleep problems this severe. ( Besides that it is regularly advertised on commercials so people WILL ask their doctor for it.  If it is so bad they need to remove those ads.)

A part of me really wants her and other doctors to have to suffered like I have, to have walked in my shoes, felt my pains, lived in my body, and then have some little arrogant whippersnapper who is still wet behind the ears, and barely out of training pants, insult your integrity, pretty much call you a liar, and label you with "Drug Seeking Behavior" because you need something to help you sleep.

She has great potential as far as intelligence, but if she doesn't change, and learn to listen to her patients and acknowledge and respect their concerns about the body God gave to them, not her, she will never be an exceptionally good CNP or doctor. However, she is still young and in a learning phase so I hope she matures a little bit in her bedside manner.

As for me, if I can't get some relief, maybe I should just join the ranks of the disabled, live off the taxpayer, and have free health insurance. ( I'm only being facetious, because, like my mother, I love to work, and will continue to do so as long as I am able), and I still hope to get the help I need so I can perform my job to the best of my ability..

 I'm totally convinced circumstances like mine are why many people that end up on disability. They also end up in emergency rooms because they can't get help from their doctors which ends up costing more money.  However, the fact that I can't afford insurance does not stop the government from holding taxes out of my check to pay health insurance for government workers.  Where is the fairness in that?

Part 3: How Profiling is Hurting Patients With Legitimate Medical Needs.

The following video is an example of drug seeking behavior and addiction. However, there are some things I would like you to think about when you watch this video.

1. Notice that if a person is allergic to NSAID's they are labeled with "Drug Seeking Behavior"

2. Notice if you don't have a regular doctor, you are labeled with "Drub Seeking Behavior". I go to which ever doctor is most convenient for me. With ADHD I hate waiting in line, and I forget when I make appointments. The best physician I've ever had, Thomas Welsh, moved from this area. He was truly the best for me. He listened to me, and always treated me with respect and kindness.. He is greatly missed by me and many others. While I am doctor shopping, I hope I can find someone that is half the doctor he was.

3. The thing that stands out the most to me in this video is that, even if the person (which it is obvious they are addicted) is an addict, it is the cold, callous, and dismissive way the doctor treated her. A real doctor should have sat down and talked with her about her addiction problem and tried to get her some help, but you dont' see that happen in this video because the caring that once permeated the medical profession has long left the building and been replaced with those that are in it for money and power.

(I also find it hilarious that the person does not remember which doctor prescribed them all those medications, because if I was taking all that, I probably could not remember who gave it to me either.)

4.  Doctors should take the time to listen to their patients whether they are a drug seeker or not, because they may actually be in need of serious medical help, and simply dismissing them could cost the patient their life.

5. Patients like me, who are not abusers, and need occasional help, are treated with cold, callous, disregard for our lives, our bodies and our health, but the ones that really are drug abusers can get anything they want, and many of them end up selling it on the street. I didn't go in and ask for a host of drugs like the girl in the video, I ask for a sleeping pill, and I wanted one I was familiar with. Is it a crime to want a good nights sleep, and a drug you feel won't kill you?

Maybe we should ask the guy I read about in the Newton County Appeal recently that was arrested for possession of Seroquel. Newton County Sheriff, Jackie Knight, was quoted as saying, "It is sad, he said he just wanted a good nights sleep."

Gee, we better start locking up all these people that have trouble sleeping, they are a real danger to society.

As a patient, you have a right to see your medical records, and if a doctor falsely accuses you of being a drug seeker, especially in front of another person, you can sue them for slander. A lot of people have written to me about the problems they are having, including elderly people, and I'm letting everyone know you do not have to accept their false characterization of you. They have basically accused you of a crime, and in so doing, have committed a crime themselves.

UPDATE:  My lack of sleep was because my thyroid hormones were low, and in addition I had a supplement I was taking that contributed to a lack of sleep.   

I finally found a CNP that I am very pleased with; CNP Kelli Smith, in Philadelphia, MS. She actually took the time to find out about my medical history, and listen to my concerns.  In addition to that I put up black-out blinds (so I can sleep in the daylight hours) and that has also been a tremendous help.

Occasionally I will have neck pain, but as long as I can take Unisom, and sleep, I can live with it.


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