‘Take a deep breath, Pat, and go to a special place in your mind where you are happy and at peace.’ I tell that to myself often to control the stress in my life, to lessen the amount of fibromyalgia pain and fatigue. Lucky for me that I have thousands and thousands of photographs on my computer (and a few on my walls) of those special places, the ones that elicit memories of smiles and joy.
I had a doctor’s appointment this morning – of the 6-month geriatric kind. Having fibromyalgia taught me how to use doctors so I went prepared. I had identified the problem that I think is most important to work on within the poor sleep, pain, and fatigue cycle. I always ask myself if I really want help with a certain problem or is it something I need to work out myself. I don’t present a problem if I know I don’t want another prescription or an appointment for testing and another doctor. I don’t ask for help if I know I will say no to the help that is offered. I had that all figured out and I had my notes so I could be quick and concise with problem, symptoms, and questions.
I never got to my notes. The doctor came in notably frustrated and knowing what he needed to get done instead of wanting to know what I needed from him. He needed to do a drug work-up with me to document the when, what, where, and why of the controlled substances he has prescribed for me. He needs to comply with new legislation that tightens access to controlled substances at the risk of loosing his license. That is all we talked about except checking my vital signs.
I understood what was happening and why he needed to do what he was doing. But I left frustrated and very angry – not at him or the legislators who created this new law that adds another layer of regulation. I understand the narcotic crisis and am willing to live with some inconvenience, but I’m still angry.
I am angry at all the people who believe they have a right to do what they want to do to feel good or get rich or be comfortable even if it hurts other people. The Republican platform is less regulation and less government in our lives. No one has explained to them that legislators don’t have late night sessions thinking about new laws and regulations they can create. They create regulations when people do bad or stupid things, like banks giving out junk loans to people who want a bigger house then they can afford and people who do really stupid things with products so laws have to be made making manufacturing more expensive and white people believing they have a right not to feel uncomfortable because someone of color is too close to them, not breaking any law so they call gun-toting police to take them away or kill them and people believing they have the right to not do what they need to do to help themselves feel good instead of taking narcotics. I am angry because so many people seem to believe they have the right to take something they want that doesn’t belong to them (steal) that leads to all the rest of us paying more for the things we need. I hear my high school civics teacher telling us to write this down: “My rights end where your rights begin.” Maybe I’ll have a tee shirt made with that on the front and “Your rights end where my rights begin” on the back.
Two doctors and I have agreed that stopping the drugs I use for FM would be irresponsible so I guess I’ll just take another look at Lake Michigan and chill out. Two of the controlled substances are specifically for fibromyalgia, Lyrica and Sonata (short acting sleep med). I know I won’t abuse them because I have been on a low and stable dose of Lyrica since it came on the market. I only use Sonata about once a month so a 30-day prescription lasts two years. I also have a prescription for Norco that I use 1/2 dose about once a year. At that rate my current supply should last me about 59 years – and that makes me grin. But it bothers me that doctors and pharmacists will have a lot more work to do because others have abused something that was created to make life better for those who use these drugs responsibly. And we will all have to pay for it.