and so the story continues, if you don’t read these posts in reverse order, there might be a bit of confusion, so go back to July 18, 2016 and start there, moving toward each post. BEGIN: Oxycontin, the patent-protected time-release pain medication and its kissing cousin, oxycodone the generic non-time-release, had only been around since 1995. Was there really enough research on long-term use?
Back to the scene, me on the bed, a pinch of stomach gut in my hand, getting ready to plunge a syringe into my skin so that I could go to the bathroom. My mother never allowed any cute phrases in our house, you either “went to the bathroom” or you “had a successful BM” — when you talk about BMs to a grade school age kid, you get laughter, not a bathroom report. My mother insisted on saying “BM” until she was 93 and died. Talk about old school. She was born in 1917, so we can all cut her some slack.
Speaking of my mom, if you live with, talk to, walk by, sit near, are in a room with, someone over the age of 75, they will talk about their bowel movements. It is number one on the chart for how they’re feeling, what they’re going to do that day, and whether or not they’ll even get dressed. They will start the day with a Milk of Magnesia cocktail. If my mom didn’t poop after her first cup of coffee and cigarettes, she panicked. She over-dose on MoM and then spend the rest of the day denying it while I plied her with anti-diarrhea meds, trying to stop her from becoming dehydrated enough to warrant a trip to the ER.
Me, on the bed, thinking of Mom. Thinking about spending the rest of my life trying to poop, going from one medicine to the other, and now — here I was with a syringe in my hand?
I had to get off Oxycontin and oxycodone. Now.
Skip back a month. There’s more than one reason I put my friend, Oxycontin, behind me. My qualifying for SNAP (call it by its old name, food stamps) also meant qualifying for a LifeLine phone as well as Medicaid. This is in North Carolina. Medicaid here means dental insurance with a $3 deductible. I had a broken molar, repaired many times over the last 10 years that needed yanking out. I’d had my teeth cleaned on a fairly regular basis, keeping up with dental care meant always saving, constantly, to get to the $250 it was going to cost here in Washington just to get my teeth cleaned, to get a check-up. Crazy, huh? I went to the only dentist within 20 mile radius who took Medicaid patients. There’s a whole ‘nother story in that son of a bitch, the sadist who treated his patients like shit, never spoke to his patients or told them what procedure/atrocity he was about to commit upon their mouths. What a jerk. After he pulls my tooth, he asks me if I have a pain contract with anyone. I say “mfffffhgghgsss” which means “yes”. He tells me I need to be on antibiotics, do I have any allergies, blahblah? The dental hygienist hands me a spit cup and a script in an envelope and says, “call us if the bleeding doesn’t stop in two hours.” Ahhhh, Dr. Tripp, your past will catch up with you.
My husband drives me home. Yes, the bleeding stopped, so don’t worry. He goes to the pharmacy, gets the script filled and comes back home — handing me two bottles of medicine. Two? I’m thinking, two antibiotics? Oh no, this guy writes, on the same page, two scripts. One for Vicodin and one for amoxicillin. Oh shit. NC Pain Contract, signed with Dr. Billy Smith, just violated. I panic, call the pharmacist who says to calm down. It’ll be ok. Only the DEA (the DEA!) and the doctor himself can check pain meds records. Not the staff, not the nurses, only the doctor, so my doctor is probably not going to check my record. I’ve been a loyal, law abiding patient for over five years. I always pass my piss test with flying colors. Nothing to suspect, nothing to check on. I put the Vicodin my medicine drawer and get on with my life…