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What to do, what to do

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Bizarre happenings today my bloggy friends.

Had a good appointment with my GP who was suitably disgusted with the way I was treated at the PMU. I think we both regret having any involvement with them now but hindsight is a wonderful thing. Who knew that a hospital unit that is apparently dedicated to helping people manage chronic pain is actually much more interested in labelling them as drug addicts and declaring them mentally ill.

My GP agrees that we will NOT go forward with their recommendation that I be referred to the hospital psychiatric unit so that I can start anti-depressants and come under the ongoing care of a psychiatrist. She agrees that this is a crock of shit and potentially leaves me open to future discrimination and bad treatment by unscrupulous medicos.  She agreess that I am suffering from reactive depression CAUSED BY MY CHRONIC PAIN and not an ongoing mental illness, which makes me imagine I am having pain.

We agreed that it would be ideal for me to see a psychologist again to help me with coping strategies for my pain but she feels very nervous about creating a mental health plan for me (this means Medicare pays) because she says that once it’s out there in the system it could be used to support a claim of my having an ongoing mental illness, when of course I do not.

She informed me that the PMU have asked her to wean me off of opiate pain relievers (because of course I’m a drug addict) despite the fact that I have now been taking them again for the astounding period of two weeks after nearly 3 months of nothing. She views this as a total crock of shit also.

She was horrified by their implication that my Rheum had been negligent or misguided in her treatment of me. She knows R and has other patients who see her. My GP reaffirmed that R has an excellent reputation and the notion that she would prescribe unnecessary medication to a patient (who might not have arthritis at all) is ludicrous.

They advised her that they will be seeking to review my progress in three-four months. She advised me that I should not submit myself for review. She is basically hoping that if we ignore them they will go away. I think she feels a bit to blame for referring me to a service that she thought might help me but instead has put me at risk of being very badly mistreated.

I feel very relieved that I have a GP that is totally on my side in this issue. I feel reassured that she does in fact trust and know me to some extent now and will do all that she can to prevent me from being mistreated.


This afternoon an envelope arrived in the mail from the hospital. I have been booked in for a whole body nuclear bone scan on FRIDAY. Now, anyone who knows anything about public hospitals knows that the waiting lists for these things can be months, if not years long.

I have no idea who has booked me in for this test. It could be R but she hasn’t called to say that she did it and when I spoke to her about it last week she said she’d be happy to organise it but gave me no indication that there was any urgency. The date that the scan was booked WAS the same day that I spoke with her so I am hoping it was her.

If the PMU has booked this scan and they do not find results supporting my diagnosis of arthritis (which is entirely possible because the whole point of treating the arthritis is to avoid bone damage/change such as would be detected with this scan) then it could be used as further justification for denying me pain medication or to support the idea that I have nothing physiologically wrong with me and my pain is all in my mind.

I don’t mind telling you people that I am a little apprehensive. If R has ordered it then all well and good but if the PMU has ordered it what do I do?

I think I am going to call R’s rooms tomorrow and ask for confirmation that she is the one who has ordered the scan. I am seeing GP again tomorrow for a steroid injection in my arse (another attempt to force my body to stop attacking itself in the frantic way it appears to be at the moment). Maybe GP will have some thoughts.

For the moment I am nervous.

It shouldn’t be this way. I shouldn’t have to play strategy games so that I receive appropriate care. It’s just all so crazy.

Oddly though, my state of mind has improved dramatically, at least for now. I think all of the support I have had from you, dear readers, coupled with the reassurances from R and GP have helped immensely.

I can’t help feeling though that this is just not how it should be. Doctors making patients jump through endless hoops.

This is not how it should be at all.


7 responses

  1. What a nightmare you have been having, I did miss your blogging and am happy to find you here! I really hope you can get some peace through all of this, I will be holding thumbs that the scan has been ordered by the Dr and not that ridiculous pain management clinic…

    • Thanks Sarah, I’m glad to be back blogging. I’m hoping that things will calm down shortly, trying to think positively.

  2. I say have the scan, but have the tests sent to the rheum, not the PMU – even if they ordered it. I mean, can you do that?

    And, if your rhuem and GP are supportive, I’m not sure how PMU would go about anything? It’s almost looking like a case for an outside body to look into, how badly they’re treating you.

    • It’s a scary situation V. The PMU actually has the power to interact with the body that regulates prescription meds and make it impossible for my doctors to prescribe them for me. It’s a very serious issue in S.A. at the moment and I have written a post to explain it more clearly. If I kick up a stink, I could be subject to even worse treatment. I think my GP has only just realised this too and she is now trying to prevent things from getting any worse.

  3. Holy crap, Ali. I’ve just read both of these posts and I don’t even have words for how I’m feeling right now. Apalled doesn’t cut it. Apparently seeking relief from chronic pain in South Australia is inherently suspicious or criminal behaviour.

    I hope that all of the callous individuals treating sick people like criminals have the opportunity to find out what it feels like to be on the other end of this equation.

    And where the hell does your right to privacy and confidentiality kick in?

    • I know, it is just beyond anything imagining that such a situation could exist in Australia.

      The GP is doing her best to protect my privacy. Prescribing me only enough pain medication for 7-10 days at a time means that I only have to sign the federal gov’s prescription thingy for Medicare when I fill my prescription. If we try to access a larger supply (as we often have in the past) I have to sign a state government thingy that goes straight to DAASA’s records. We are working under the assumption that DAASA can not access the federal Medicare records to investigate my opiate use but I don’t think we can take anything for granted any more.

      Before I realised all of this I was annoyed at my GP for prescribing these small amounts. She never explained why but I now believe she has been trying to protect me all along and didn’t explain because she didn’t want to alarm me.

      I hate to have these feelings about people but it is my most fervent wish that one of these “professionals” or one of their loved ones develops a chronic pain condition. Hell, I’d like all of them to be subjected to it if it would mean that a change could be made.

  4. That is just bonkers. Absolutely bonkers. I reread your post twice just to make sure I had understood it properly. What a total nightmare for you. Eee

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