Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Medication Nation

Went to the emergency room this afternoon, because I thought my nectarine was trying to kill me. Turns out what I thought was a piece of nectarine lodged in my throat was a big scratch on my esophagus from a tiny shard of the pit. These two things apparently feel exactly the same. Anyway. The triage nurse asked me, on a scale of 1-10, how much pain was I feeling. I told him zero; I was just exceedingly uncomfortable. He wrote it down on my chart. The nurse who treated me in the observation room asked how painful my condition was. I told him not at all, and he wrote that down on my chart. The doctor came in, looked at my chart, asked me what kind of pain I was in, and I told him none. He wrote it down. Later, as he's discharging me, the doctor hands me a prescription for Vicodin. I told him I didn't need it, because (again) I wasn't in any pain. He said to take it anyway just in case.

I remember how, even 10-15 years ago, it took a lot of convincing to get a doctor to prescribe anything, let alone a powerful painkiller. Now I have a doctor pushing narcotics on me over my protestations. Is this one reason why half of all Americans are on prescription drugs and why addiction to prescription painkillers is a big problem? Yes, and it's insane, and it must confuse the heck out of kids who are supposed to understand why there is a War on (Some) DrugsTM.


Blogger Russell said...

Sheesh, are you ok?

"He said to take it anyway just in case."

In case of what, exactly?

I wonder if this is a reaction to the fear of lawsuits? "The doctor refused to treat my pain! So now I'm suing!"

9/29/2010 2:58 PM  
Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...

I'm fine, Russell, thanks. Felt like a total dweeb when I found out it was a scratch instead of what it felt like, a huge fragment of fruit lodged in my throat.

Pain seems to be a big deal. There was a white board in the observation room that said "We can provide excellent service to our patients by focusing on... " with a blank space and a marker for someone to fill it in -- it was filled in with the phrase "pain management." When did Americans become such wusses? Unless I'm about to put an electric drill to my head to end the pain, I don't bother with anything stronger than ibuprofen.

Maybe tort reform would make doctors feel empowered to tell patients to man up.

9/29/2010 6:43 PM  
Blogger Russell said...

Glad to hear you're ok! Small cuts seem to hurt more than the bigger ones. Must be due to biological response systems.

"Pain seems to be a big deal."
Maybe it has something to do with the increasing attitude that this life is it, this is all we have is a few quick turns around the sun and then into the cold Earth to feel no more. And since life is full of pain, anything and everything should be done to minimize pain.

"Maybe tort reform would make doctors feel empowered to tell patients to man up."
We're too soft as a society. A generation or two ago the doctor would be able to say that, and most likely the patient would already have known it anyways.

But pain is a good thing, it lets us know that we're still alive. And maybe we need to stop doing whatever it is that is causing the pain!

9/30/2010 9:33 AM  
Blogger Glenn B said...

""He said to take it anyway just in case."

In case of what, exactly?"

I would imagine in case the area became painful because it was rather likely that a scratch could become inflamed and maybe infected and that might hurt. Me, I probably would have gargled with salt water or hydrogen peroxide but if it hurt enough I would take something. I even take Vicodin when needed if I can get it. Seems doctors in hospital are more likely to give a scrip for it than are my doctors in their offices. I see nothing wrong with pain medication at all, I have taken it as recently as back in may after having a cyst removed from deep within my neck. It had been sitting on a nerve. You can bet I was in a lot of pain. The 30 pills they prescribed me lasted a over month - the pain came an went for about 2 months after the surgery, I suppose made worse by my arthritis and bursitis and carpel tunnel on in my right arm and arthritis in my neck (cyst was on right side of neck).

As for people getting whacky on them and becoming addicted, I just don't see the problem. If it was up to me they would get two or three chances then be executed or banished to Kalifornia (which would be walled off from the rest of this country).

Feel well, heal fast.

All the best,

10/03/2010 4:54 PM  
Blogger Justthisguy said...

If I were you I would fill the prescription and just save the pills for an emergency, like the proverbial one of having to hike down off of mountain on a sprained ankle, or having to drive one's self to the ER when burned. I had to do the latter.

12/04/2010 5:42 PM  

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