I went to the pharmacy the other day. As long as I was there I decided to see if I had any medication refills ready for pick up.
The last time I was there there was a codeine prescription still available for refill. I also had a new 6 month script from my doc. I asked the technician to put it on file, as they always have done.
I returned in a month and went to the counter. "I'd like to have the codeine refilled (along with 2 other non narcotic prescriptions.)" The woman could not find them in her computer. "It was put in the file." "Okay, no problem. Let me check." She picked up a rolodex type file and thumbed through it. "No. I'm sorry, nothing here."
I was becoming anxious. I knew they had it. I had never lost a script or needed a replacement - for any reason - ever. In addition, I had just left my pain doc,(on very good terms), because all he could do for me was write for the codeine (and an anticonvulsant, taken for the pain). He felt my family doc could do it just as easily plus the family doc was 10 minutes away. My pain doc was an hour away. I knew he would have no problem if another script had to be written but I felt uncomfortable with that because I had just ended the relationship. I could not ask my family doc to do it, he had just agreed to start writing for it. This would look...bad.
I knew I had done nothing wrong. I knew they had it on file. I waited while she looked again, no luck. I waited, my nerves on end. Was I going to be considered a druggie, someone just trying to get over on the system by getting a second script? Was I selling it, was I taking too many? No. None of those.
All the articles on pain patients being addicted, selling their meds, giving them away, making us the bad guys in the 'war on drugs' when we are not, had taken an unconscious toll on me.
"Oh I'm sorry. Here it is." In a second I went from feeling like I was going to get caught doing something wrong, even though I knew I had not, to feeling free again.
My friend just told me a similar story; only in hers the pharmacist yelled at her so the whole store could hear. "You are 2 days early! These are narcotics. You cannot have them yet. You have done this before, In March (5 months ago) you got them 2 days early and in another month you got them one day early." "Please call the doctor then if you have a problem with the prescription." "No." he barked at her, "the doctor does not decide these things. I do." As she was leaving he yelled after her "You can always try to get them at another drug store." She left the store feeling humiliated, embarrassed, and (falsely) accused.
She called me, very upset. "What did people think when he was yelling this at me? They must have thought I was trying to pull one over, maybe even doing something illegal, at the least being a 'druggie'." She was devastated. And what was her crime? Trying to get her prescription filled, something almost everyone does at one time or another - without hassle or repercussion.
Why then can't we be treated the same as the one who gets insulin or heart medication? What is our crime? Nothing, other than trying to get the medication that helps get us through the minute, the hour, the day.
Neither one of us, or any pain patient, should be made to feel embarrassed, humiliated or criminal, merely because we have a medication that carries the definition of opiate.