Friday, May 3, 2013

If It Ain’t Broke……........

I used to love to tinker with things when I was young.  Once, I took a clock apart just to see how it worked.  I could not get it back together, but it sure was fun taking it apart.  When my grandma saw what I was doing, she smiled, shook her head and told me, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  I have thought about that a lot lately.

My mother has had shingles since January.  She has gone through quite the struggle with them.  As I have had them myself, I know that the pain is terrible and seems to never want to go away. 

What I don’t understand is that the doctors keep changing her medication.  Maybe they don’t want to get her addicted to something.  She is 84 years old.  When she takes the medication she does not hurt as much.  What is so bad about keeping her on something that works!

I have never understood the concept that doctors have about addition in old age.  If you only have x amount of years to live and a medication is making life more comfortable for you, what can it hurt to take it?  The drugs are legal and they are prescribed by a licensed physician, so why do they get so upset about it.  If something is helping, leave it alone.

I feel the same way about MS drugs and drugs to treat different problems associated with MS.  As of today, there is no cure for MS.  If we live 30 more years, we will have MS 30 more years.  I cannot see where it is so bad to be given a habit forming drug when it makes life tolerable for a person that will, in all probability, not get any better. 

I know the dangers of drug addiction.  I have seen it give so many people problems.  The drugs normally associated with these types of behavior are usually not the drugs someone with a life-long illness takes.  Most of us do not take drugs to get high.  We take drugs to get some relief from pain.  To me, there is a VAST difference in that.

I think I am worked up about this because of two instances I know about that have happened recently.  My Mother’s psychiatrist took her off of 3 medications (2 for pain; 1 for sleep) and replaced them with 1 different medication.  Although her speech is not as slurred now and she seems more even-tempered, she is not sleeping well and has a lot more pain.  As I stated above, what is this change supposed to be accomplishing?

The second case that upset me was one of an online MS friend.  She has severe pain and been on pain medication for years.  She is 60 years old and confined to a wheelchair.  Her neurologist has moved out of the country and she had to start over with a new one who took his place.  This neuro is young and just getting started in his practice.  He was appalled, according to her, at the medication she was taking and immediately took her off of some of them.  She has spent many of the last few days in the hospital for treatment of her pain.  In both of these cases I don’t see the necessity for the change.  If something is working, why change it.  I am sure that you can think of a lot of cases this fits.  I can understand fixing a broken leg, but this is ridiculous!

1 comment:

E.J. said...

This is so distressing. I'm one of those who has severe chronic pain with my neurological disorder, which is similar to M.S., and live in fear of finding myself in the situation your friend with MS has now found herself in. I don't even take that hardcore of a drug, but I had one young neuro fresh out of training see my prescription list and she just about went crazy. It seemed what upset her was the fact that I take pain medication every day. The fact that I have disabling pain every day didn't seem to be an issue. Thankfully, I am not dependent upon her for my treatment, but my regular doctor is past retirement age, and it's very, very frightening. I have a friend with severe chronic pain who had her pain control abruptly stopped by a doctor who told her that she'd been on it for a long time, and he just didn't think she should be on it anymore. She went from being able to work part-time and have something resembling a life, to being on full disability in total despair. This is an improvement? Many doctors, who should know better, don't understand the difference between physical dependence and addiction.

And it seems that doctors now just keep hawking Lyrica and Neurontin, two drugs that were worthless for me and gave me nothing but side effects. I know several women with disabling pain who, after begging for help, were refused anything but Lyrica. Their experience with it was the same as mine. Worse than ineffective. But it's not a narcotic, so doctors can feel smugly virtuous and don't have to worry about the DEA.

People also become physically dependent on, for example, blood pressure medication and antidepressants. Can you imagine if those people were suddenly denied treatment? Why is pain--which can be lethal--not acceptable to treat? It's criminal. I'm sorry to hear that they are torturing your mother. It really is unconscionable.