Tips on how NOT to appear like a Drug seeker - page 3

by WillowBrook 70,634 Views | 150 Comments

Having read through some of the threads regarding Drug seekers in the Emergency Department I must admit I now feel quite nervous of being misperceived in this way. I take medication which causes some urinary retention and... Read More


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    You know... i was just in the ER this past Friday with kidney stones.... I tried to deal with the pain on my own (this is my 9th time to have them) because I know how overcrowded the ER can get and didnt want to wait to be told I was passing a stone when I already knew that.... ya BAD idea.... I think I made it like 3 hours and then wanted to die... I also have a bad complex... the first time I went into the ER with that HORRIBLE pain they did every test on me... KUB, CT, ultrasound... i had to drink that nasty stuff too... and then the dr came in and told me it was all in my head and that he wasnt going to give me any drugs!!! YES HE ACTUALLY SAID THAT!!! The RN behind him even laughed and so since then, I always try to tell myself its just gas or somthing because that is the worst feeling ever... for someone to look you in the eye and imply that you are a drug seeker... I was 17 at the time and was lucky enough to have a very determined mother. So after a visit to my gyno and my now urologist they found my kidney just fulll of stones!!!

    A long story short, I feel your pain about the worry of going to an Er for them to look at you like you are a drug seeker. Luckily after my first episode it was quickly believed that my problem was infact the passing of a stone and I had no further "Doubts" as to my condition.
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    Quote from EDValerieRN
    If you have a chronic condition, the pain is best managed outside of the ER.
    Even so Val, the ER is the place people end up because frequently even chronic pain involves breakthru, and that is an acute condition best managed in the emergency setting.

    My advice to the OP, talk with your doctor about the best course of treatment SHOULD YOU HAVE TO go to the ER. Carry a letter with you from him/her that says "This pt. is under my care , please give med X, Y, and Z and call me if you have any questions or concerns." You will find that many doctors appreciate this (both ER and private practice). This will expedite your care and allow your ER doc to know that YES, your PCP is aware and that he/she can be contacted at any time. This can go a long way in avoiding the perception that you are a "drug seeker".

    vamedic4
    Good luck!!!!
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    Quote from vamedic4
    Even so Val, the ER is the place people end up because frequently even chronic pain involves breakthru, and that is an acute condition best managed in the emergency setting.

    My advice to the OP, talk with your doctor about the best course of treatment SHOULD YOU HAVE TO go to the ER. Carry a letter with you from him/her that says "This pt. is under my care , please give med X, Y, and Z and call me if you have any questions or concerns." You will find that many doctors appreciate this (both ER and private practice). This will expedite your care and allow your ER doc to know that YES, your PCP is aware and that he/she can be contacted at any time. This can go a long way in avoiding the perception that you are a "drug seeker".

    vamedic4
    Good luck!!!!
    Word.
    MoshRN and gauge14iv like this.
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    Quote from vamedic4

    My advice to the OP, talk with your doctor about the best course of treatment SHOULD YOU HAVE TO go to the ER. Carry a letter with you from him/her that says "This pt. is under my care , please give med X, Y, and Z and call me if you have any questions or concerns." You will find that many doctors appreciate this (both ER and private practice). This will expedite your care and allow your ER doc to know that YES, your PCP is aware and that he/she can be contacted at any time. This can go a long way in avoiding the perception that you are a "drug seeker".

    vamedic4
    Good luck!!!!
    Thanks for the helpful advice. I am seeing my primary care Doctor on Monday and I will certainly get him to write a letter stating what medication I am on and what the possible effects of that medication are and what drugs he thinks are appropriate for pain relief in my situation. Excellent idea, thank you very much
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    I think just by being honest helps tremendously. If Dilaudid truly is what works for you--then say that. The doc will either agree or we will explore further with you. What we hate is the whole, "um, I can't remember the name of it. It's du, di, you know which one."

    Sigh.....
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    Quote from WillowBrook
    Oh really? Reading through some of the threads on here about the assumptions that are sometimes made regarding who is and who isn't a Drug seeker, as well as hearing testimony from others who have mistakenly labelled as "drug seeking" and mistreated because of that fact, along with the fact that I have personally experienced being mislabelled as a "just a junkie looking for a fix" by ER staff, I seriously beg to differ with you on this point.

    In 1997 I presented in severe pain to a local Emergeny Dept. I was sent there directly from an after hours medical service and was suspected of having a Pneumothorax. I had been experiencing severe headaches and earaches all that day, by night time I was vomiting and being wracked by extremely painful spasms all through my neck, back and stomach. I have never experienced anything more painful in my life so far, and that includes crush injuries and fractures to my foot and post Laparoscopy/Hysteroscopy pain, I was literally screaming with pain and I could not help myself. When I got to the ED right from the start I was treated badly. The admissions Nurse berated me for not being able to say more than 2 words at once through the pain to give my details properly, the Nurse who was assigned to look after me once I was admitted was very short and abrupt with me, at one point she lowered the back of the bed down and it set off a series of extremely painful spasms, so she quite roughly shoved the bed back up to a more upright postion and walked off with a huffy "there hope your happy" comment thrown back at me. At all times, whilst I screamed and cried and begged for pain relief, I was made to feel as if I was just a huge inconvenience and annoyance to them. When the X-ray came back clear for Pneumothorax, do you know what they did?? The Nurses and The Doctor who were supposed to be looking after me went and stood in full view of me drinking coffee, laughing, pointing, rolling their eyes in my direction and making comments about "junkies looking for a fix". I was discharged with a valium and one Panadeine Forte tablet. I half squat walked, half crawled out of that ED, still in excruitiating pain and still vomiting. 2 weeks later it was finally realised that I had Bornholms Disease.

    So after an experience like this please do not try and tell me that only a Drug Seeker should be worried about being seen as such.
    ITA. Just because one is a doctor or nurse doesn't mean one's head isn't screwed on backwards on certain issues. I always pray that those who are so ignorant, so cruel, so inexperienced or arrogant can have the pleasure of 20/10 pain (yes, you read it right) ASAP. And see how it feels to be the brunt of cruelty, ignorance, and prejudice.
    MoshRN, AnGG, mrsmamabear2002, and 2 others like this.
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    I just read up on Bornholm's Disease. What would you recommend for the pain, Willow Brook? I hope you don't have recurrences. It sounds terribly painful, compounded by ignorance on the part of docs and nurses.

    Also, get a lawyer and go after those rude ones, and write to Admin and your state licensing boards about them, too, docs and nurses. Their behavior is not professional or excusable. They need to be taught how to be respectful to everyeone.
    Last edit by TrudyRN on Aug 30, '06
    mrsmamabear2002 likes this.
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    Quote from EDValerieRN
    Word.
    Now THAT is excellent advice; wish I'd have thought of it.
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    Quote from TrudyRN
    I just read up on Bornholm's Disease. What would you recommend for the pain, Willow Brook? I hope you don't have recurrences. It sounds terribly painful, compounded by ignorance on the part of docs and nurses.

    Also, get a lawyer and go after those rude ones, and write to Admin and your state licensing boards about them, too, docs and nurses. Their behavior is not professional or excusable. They need to be taught how to be respectful to everyeone.
    Shortly after that experience I believe that particular ER was placed under investigation after numerous complaints from other mistreated and disgruntled former patients. I don't know what action if any was taken, but these days the ED in question has an excellent reputation for it's quaility of care. As for pain relief in Bornholms, well I'm not able to give a qualified experience, but with what I experienced I doubt that anything less than Morphine, perhaps combined with a muscle relaxant would have touched that pain. I honestly thought I was dying, I had never experienced anything like it I was in so much pain and so scared and then to be treated the way I was on top of that, well you can probably imagine how I felt at the time

    I must admit even as a former addict (although I wasn't actually using in 1997 when this happened, I hadn't even tried Heroin back then) I do find it a bit perplexing as to why anyone would try and scam drugs from an ED. I know people do it, but it just seems to be to be an awful lot of trouble and messing around for possibly no gain. I mean if you are not in legitimate pain or one heck of an actor, chances are you won't be believed and even if you are then there is no guarantee you will neccessarily get what you want. Far easier to just pick up a phone and call up a dealer rather than hang around in the ED making up stories and hoping that you will be lucky enough to get what you need.
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    I work in an emergency room and disagree with the idea that someone asking a question about how to NOT appear like a drug seeker IS a drug seeker looking to buck the system.

    Especially if a person has hung around allnurses reading about drug seekers, who, granted, are a frustrating lot. It can make a person in pain a bit apprenhensive about presenting to a ER.

    We can get jaded and judgmental working around folks who try to trick the system. And that can show up when a person, in real pain, comes into our ER. I work very hard not to get jaded.

    Plus, even "junkies" can get kidney stones . . . .

    steph
    tsalagicara likes this.


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