I wanted to explain what happened to me... - page 11

Hey everyone... I want to thank everyone for the prayers. I'm sorry I haven't been able to explain why I needed them and what I meant by saying I was in trouble, but I have recovered enough... Read More

  1. by   GatorRN
    Quote from RebeccaJeanRN
    I agree with above plus I did know that I would possibly incur the wrath of many by suggesting a possible drug problem in my earlier post, so I'm not surprised at all the tongue lashing. But just please consider the bigger picture which raised red flags for me: the use of Ambien to sleep , the use of Ephedrine to wake up, the positive drug test for Lortab- and yes, I know that we don't know how often the use is for any of these...- but there also is the impairment on the job which was visible and which triggered a drug test. All these are just hints of something larger, that's all....just hints!, so I only made the suggestion. If that makes me horrible, so be it. There is also the fact that she could not be legally fired for just one positive drug test for use of a legal prescription- unless that particular prescription drug is illegal to have in your system on the job in that particular state.

    [BTW, my background includes being a former Med Tech and working with the drug tests (although very long time ago & much has surely changed). And I didn't just invent the half-life info on Lortab, I looked it up first before posting.]

    Anyway, meant well and am still going to pray for this OP who surely needs it right now.

    OK, I refrained from responding to the other post, but I have to add my two cents now. It infuritates the he** out of me when ppl who are diagnosed with chronic pain that a qualified physician feels warrants pain meds is referred to as a "drug addict!!" :angryfire:

    Insomnia is a very real issue for some ppl, myself included, that sometimes requires the use of a sleep aid. We all understand the effects of sleep deprivation. Which is what I believe Lori was suffering from when she was accused of being impaired. Her physician prescribed these for her. Taking a prescribed medication does not make her a "drug addict!" Besides that, she isn't even sure if she took an Ambien or not. If you recall she posted this as a possibility due to the locale of the bottle the next day. Btw, Ambien in not always oblong shaped. It depends on the manufacturer as to what the pill looks like. They can be small and round as well.

    Ephedrine is a diet aid. Yes, it is also a stimulant. But if we, as nurses, weren't chastised for calling off of work when we needed to, the need to take such an aid to stay awake would not be necessary. Lori felt a heartfelt obligation to her grandmother, her employer, and her residents to go in to work. In hindsight, I'm sure she wishes she had called off.

    I, personally, did notice the drug screening tested positive for Lortab that she was prescribed. I also noticed she said she didn't take it 12 hrs prior to having to work. This was a choice she made. I have no reason to believe that she would go back on her choice. As far as your statement about the half-life of the Lortab, and that it shouldn't have been in her system if she hadn't taken it recently, you are wrong. Half-life means the amt of time required by the body to inactivate or metabolize half the amt of the substance taken in. This does not mean the amt of time it's in your system. Lortab or the metabolites of Lortab can stay in your system for 3-4 days depending on your specific metabolism. Therefore, there is no definitive proof that she was impaired by them at work. It only confirms that she had taken a Lortab in the previous 3-4 days. Again, this does not make her a "drug addict!"

    Someone who takes a prescribed narcotic for chronic severe pain does not experience the drowsiness, dizziness or light headedness from taking it. If taken regularly you develop a tolerance and do not have these effects. If someone were to take a narc once in a blue moon for an acute injury these effects would be a reality, because they have not developed a tolerance. People need to remember that nurses are human and have real life conditions/issues, and deserve to earn a living just like everybody else. To say that someone who has taken narcs long term is impaired, is wrong, quite the contrary. Someone suffering from severe pain would be more at risk of making a mistake if all they could think about was the pain and inability to move.

    A "drug addict" abuses drugs for a high. For someone with real pain, taking a med make the pain tolerable, allowing them to function somewhat normally, not get a high! There is a huge difference. I used to be one of those nurses who assumed my pts were drug seeking when asking for their pain meds on a regular, to the minute bases. I now understand the error in my old ways of thinking. I think all nurses should be required to take a class on pain management. We, as nurses, are doing our pts a grave disservice by allowing them to suffer needlessly and not treating their pain appropriately. We are also doing our coworkers a disservice by jumping to the wrong conclusions. We need to look out for each other, not try to destroy each other.

    I would be the first person to say something if I believed that a co-worker was impaired and practicing unsafe care. But I would ask that person what was up before jumping to the wrong conclusion and jeopardising their livelyhood/license. If the person who called in the DON had asked if everthing was allright, Lori could have explained her situation and perhaps called someone in to cover her shift, and this whole mess could have been avoided. Let's not wrongly label somebody as a "drug addict!!"

    I'm sorry for getting off topic here, but as you can clearly see, this subject struck a nerve with me. I'll stop ranting now and shut up.

    Lori, Good luck with your interview Monday.
  2. by   suzy253
    {{{Lori}}}
    Again, I am so sorry to hear what has happened to you. I can't imagine what you are going through right now. Good luck with your interview tomorrow. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers. Please hold your head high and hang in there. Keep us posted! Much love to you!!!
  3. by   Sheri257
    Quote from rehab nurse
    BUT, she doesn't have a drug problem if she takes her meds AS PRESCRIBED. right?
    Not necessarily ...

    I'm really not commenting on or judging Lori specifically because I do feel for her situation. But if some people are skeptical about prescribed meds in general ... I don't necessarily blame them for that either.

    Just because someone has a prescription, it doesn't mean they're not an addict. Look at Rush Limbaugh ... he had precriptions for all of it.

    We give prescribed meds to drug addicts all the time ... does that mean they're not drug addicts if they take prescribed meds?

    We've all seen addicts who know how to play the system and get their drugs. They know exactly what symptoms they have to complain about to get their morphine, or whatever.

    The fact is ... it's very easy to get these prescriptions if you're an addict. Maybe this causes some RN's to wrongly judge people to the other extreme and, this is unfortunate. But we can't ignore the fact there's also a lot of abuse going on with prescribed meds that can prompt skepticism that isn't always unjustified.

    I have a friend who's become addicted to pain killers because it was so easy for her to get those prescriptions. All I'm saying is that a prescription, in and of itself ... doesn't always mean you don't have a drug problem.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Sep 24, '06
  4. by   CseMgr1
    Quote from LoriAlabamaRN
    Thank you to all who have come to my defense. I honestly am not a drug addict, I am someone who has a chronic back injury and cannot sleep without narcotics to control the pain. I take a third what I could, and all because of my own views and worries about what could happen. I've taken the same strength for four years now, so I doubt it could ever mess up my mind.\

    Thank you Amygooch for your suggestions, I have printed and saved them and will be putting many of them to use. Financially I am sick to my stomach with fear.

    I understand the comments I got regarding title loan. I will only use that as an absolute last resort. Thank you for enlightening me.

    Thank you also to all those who have faith in my nursing abilities. I did feel as if I had no choice but to go in, we currently have a hospice patient who requires an RN be in the building at all times, so if I had called in it would have resulted in my DON having to come in at the last minute for the whole shift... I just couldn't do that. I didn't know Ihad taken the Ambien, i thought I was just working on no sleep like so many of us here have selflessly done.

    I thank you so much for your support... and I am still here... I never expected so much interest and support and it has raised my spirits immeasurably...I plan to go to Goodwill in the morning to look for some sort of passable outfit to wear to this interview...
    God bless you, Lori. As usual, it is unselfish people like you who wind up being stereotyped and punished due to the abuses of others. Like you, I am not afraid to admit that I have been under the care of a Pain Management Specialist for the past three years for the treatment of severe degenerative disc disease. This treatment has included not only prescriptions for Xanaflex, NSAIDS and Hyrdocodone, but also a total of 7 ESI's. I am taking half of the prescribed doseage of Hydrocodone, which enables me not only to sleep, but also to get out of bed in the morning. My family has encouraged me to apply for permanent disability, but rather than have to be put through this bureaucratic nightmare, I want to remain productive for as long as possible. What hurts the most is that I am no longer able to play with my three grandchildren. The last time I carried one of them up the stairs or got down with them on the floor, I wound up in bed for two days in excrutiating pain and muscle spasms. It's hell having to exist like this, and for people like us to be labeled as drug addicts is not only unfair, it is
    cruel.

    Good luck on your interview tomorrow. We will all be cheering for you!

    Pam
  5. by   rehab nurse
    Quote from lizz
    Not necessarily ...

    I'm really not commenting on or judging Lori specifically because I do feel for her situation. But if some people are skeptical about prescribed meds in general ... I don't necessarily blame them for that either.

    Just because someone has a prescription, it doesn't mean they're not an addict. Look at Rush Limbaugh ... he had precriptions for all of it.

    We give prescribed meds to drug addicts all the time ... does that mean they're not drug addicts if they take prescribed meds?

    We've all seen addicts who know how to play the system and get their drugs. They know exactly what symptoms they have to complain about to get their morphine, or whatever.

    The fact is ... it's very easy to get these prescriptions if you're an addict. Maybe this causes some RN's to wrongly judge people to the other extreme and, this is unfortunate. But we can't ignore the fact there's also a lot of abuse going on with prescribed meds that can prompt skepticism that isn't always unjustified.

    I have a friend who's become addicted to pain killers because it was so easy for her to get those prescriptions. All I'm saying is that a prescription, in and of itself ... doesn't always mean you don't have a drug problem.

    :typing
    Lizz, I think maybe I didn't make myself clear. Happens.

    What I was getting at is this. People who take their medications as originally prescribed have less than a 1% rate of "becoming addicted". I have the literature link somewhere, and I will post it when I find it. It's also the opinion of my PM doc.

    However, most nurses probably know that just because someone has a "prescription" doesn't mean they're NOT an addict. addiction is the compulsive taking of a medication over the amount that is prescribed, regardless of the effect on their life (personal, financial, professional, whatever). people who are addicts will get multiple scripts for the same med, steal the med, buy it off the street illegally, etc...whatever it takes to get what they want.

    ON the other hand, people who take narcotics on a reg basis (like me) have to usually sign a contract. my rx records are pulled (and my state shows every pharmacy) to check for double scripting, i am subject to drug tests , my pills are counted, i must go to ONE pharmacy for all my pain meds, etc. If you are found to be taking excess, or ever got more than one script, you will be kicked out of the practice and put on a clonidine taper and you will more than likely have a very diff time ever getting another pm specialist to touch you. I also know that I have been offered scripts from other docs (neuro for one for my migraines...) but i denied it. So I am sure that other people who present to ER, other docs, whatever will be offered more pain pills...especially if it's for a different condition than what the original narcotics are for. I am not stupid enough to think that people (if they are not able to control their intake of pain meds) can't go to ER, or to a different doc and get more pills. I'm sure it happens every day. Hence, your point that just because someone has "a prescription" doesn't mean they're not an addict.

    what i was referring to was this: assuming lori (or anyone else) had legit scripts, and she didn't get more illegally (or got the same script from another doc, or another er, which is considered doctor shopping...but it happens all the time) then more than likely she is NOT an addict, because she does not take more of the med than what's prescribed (she said she takes about a third of what's rx'd).

    i didn't mean to say that there are NOT any addicts out there, nor did i mean to imply that people with scripts are not prone to addiction. what i was told, and what i read in literature, is that the rate of addiction for taking meds PROPERLY is very, very low (but that doesn't mean it can't happen!).

    i was more than anything, trying to support Lori.
    I hope I made myself a bit clearer. I understand your point Lizz, and I hope everyone understands mine as well.
    Last edit by rehab nurse on Sep 24, '06
  6. by   Mulan
    Some people are getting jumped all over.

    They may not be referring to the lortab but the ephedrine and the atenolol. A prescription is only good for a year, and taking medication that was prescribed a year ago that you haven't needed to take (except when you take a stimulant like ephedrine) is considered to be self medication.
  7. by   Multicollinearity
    To those criticizing the OP:

    Funny how there is so much focus on the OP's choice of meds on ONE unusual and difficult evening. I find little talk about a work environment that is so exploitative and callous as to set one up to consider taking a stimulant and working on zero sleep. No talk about why professional adults are treated like cattle or why they are abused into working while ill. No talk about the threats implicit and implied about calling out right before shift. There is precious little consideration for taking care of one's self in this profession.


    I think some can't see the forest for the trees here. To imply drug abuse or question why the OP self-medicated on one severe evening rather than question why professionals are treated like robot children with no grace - that is despicable to me.
  8. by   ktwlpn
    Quote from Mulan
    Some people are getting jumped all over.

    They may not be referring to the lortab but the ephedrine and the atenolol. A prescription is only good for a year, and taking medication that was prescribed a year ago that you haven't needed to take (except when you take a stimulant like ephedrine) is considered to be self medication.
    And I've worked with many,many nurses over the years that did so-are they then considered to be addicts? I also know many that have helped themselves to their patient's supplies (stealing) Lasix (I'm so bloated this month) Colace (O-I had mac an cheese yesterday-I'm so contipated) and even nurses that helped themselves to left over anti-biotics and saved them up for their next sinus infection.WHY WON'T WE CARE FOR OURSELVES THEY WAY WE CARE FOR OUR PATIENTS? DON'T WE DESERVE IT? Call the heck OFF when you need to-go to your doctor when you need to and follow his/her recommendations.Nurses really do make the worst patients...And I'm not excluding myself either.I HATE to be at the mercy of the medical establishment and used to aviod "doctoring" at all costs -but I'm getting better (I used to cut my own bangs,too--thankfully I finally dropped that bad habit-too many "Ooops-what will I do now" moments)
  9. by   Mulan
    This is a message board, not real life. No one "knows" any one else, and no one knows the real story, only what one is told. There are three sides to every story, my side, your side, and what really happened.
  10. by   weirdRN
    I have worked when sick, had little and no sleep and lived to regret it.

    My DON once told me, "You take tylenol and keep going." She was evil about it. I think that mostly comes from the whole shortage thing.

    If floor nurses call off, then the management/salaried employees have to take up the slack b/c the PRN list is so short.
  11. by   firstyearstudent
    Quote from texas_lvn
    '

    Just a note, there is a FEDERAL law against recording people without their acknowledgement, punishable by FEDERAL PRISON time. So, be careful!! But, there is nothing against having a friend call and ask and you listening on the other line. Good luck.
    I'm not sure this is true. I think it varies state by state. I think the federal law is that both parties cannot know they are being listened to (wiretapping). If one party knows, it may okay in some states. But I'm not a lawyer (just a former journalist). I know for instance, that it New York state it is fine for one party to record a call without the other party's consent. What you can't record is a call in which you are not partipating in at all.

    http://www.rcfp.org/taping/
    Last edit by firstyearstudent on Sep 24, '06
  12. by   RebeccaJeanRN
    Quote from Mulan
    Some people are getting jumped all over...
    Well...you can say THAT again! I got jumped all over way up above, and even was quoted for using words (ie. "drug addict") that I NEVER said in my post, as well as being attributed sentiments that I never expressed or would have (like someone should have to work in pain without their pain medication).

    I have to say, its the fear of getting 'flamed' (a word I only just learned today from my daughter when I showed her these posts), that makes me think twice (three, four, five times?) about voicing a minority opinion on this site. I thought I had voiced my genuine concern and differing opinion in the most tactful way I could, but even then I got a really angry response, not from the OP but from another member. Geesh...

    -
  13. by   Mulan
    Quote from ktwlpn
    And I've worked with many,many nurses over the years that did so-are they then considered to be addicts? I also know many that have helped themselves to their patient's supplies (stealing) Lasix (I'm so bloated this month) Colace (O-I had mac an cheese yesterday-I'm so contipated) and even nurses that helped themselves to left over anti-biotics and saved them up for their next sinus infection.WHY WON'T WE CARE FOR OURSELVES THEY WAY WE CARE FOR OUR PATIENTS? DON'T WE DESERVE IT? Call the heck OFF when you need to-go to your doctor when you need to and follow his/her recommendations.Nurses really do make the worst patients...And I'm not excluding myself either.I HATE to be at the mercy of the medical establishment and used to aviod "doctoring" at all costs -but I'm getting better (I used to cut my own bangs,too--thankfully I finally dropped that bad habit-too many "Ooops-what will I do now" moments)
    Did I use the word "addict"?

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