I remember the sheer panic like it was yesterday. I had an appointment at the pain clinic. I was nervous as usual since the pain clinic basically owned my life. I was dependent on them to refill my script for long-acting morphine (that I had been on for over a year) or I would go into severe, cold-turkey-withdrawal. I had been down that road before and it was not a road I wanted to head down again.
Plus, I had just accepted a new job as a children’s pastor and needed to be able to function somewhat. Luke had taken the day off to take me to the doctors (like I said, he was more of my care-taker than my spouse at that time). We took a wrong turn and ended up being about 15 minutes late.
Since pain clinics treat everyone like they are junkies and abuse their power (in my experience), the doctor refused to see me. I pleaded with the front desk receptionist. I explained what happened, but her attitude was “Too bad, too sad.” She said she could get me in three weeks from that day. I became hysterical.
I was already chronically ill with daily migraines and plagued with depression. I finally got a job that offered me a little bit of hope and purpose and now this mean lady was telling me that she could offer me some 3 day drug-cocktail made up of weak medications that do not even begin to compare to the strength of narcotics.
If you have ever been through narcotic withdrawal or have seen someone go through it, you understand what a joke this is. First off, the process takes about a month and since I already had a pain disorder, it would be the normal hellish process, plus insane migraines. I begged the receptionist for mercy while hysterically balling my eyes out. She literally laughed in my face.
My husband, who is as cool as a cucumber, even lost it a bit. He first tried to reason with the receptionist, but she did not care. The doctor would not even come out and see us. We asked if we could wait around all day for a free moment of the doctor’s time, but the answer was “NO!” We were both furious and astounded.
We sat in the waiting area for at least an hour. I sat there and cried on Luke’s shoulder in front of the receptionist in hopes that she would come around. She didn’t. In case you don’t know, one can’t just go to another pain clinic if this happens. It is not that easy. One will be labeled an addict the moment they walk in the door and they will do nothing to help. Plus, I would have ruined my relationship with the pain clinic I was already established with for good.
It was truly one of the most fearful and helpless days of my life. I thought for sure I would have to refuse my new position as children’s pastor and what would I say? Sorry Pastor, but I can’t start for another month or two because I need to withdrawal off narcotics first before I can effectively lead your children in the ways of Christ.
We left the pain clinic with our heads down and our tails between our legs. We had been defeated and there was nothing either one of us could do about it. I had about 24 hours before my brain realized a key chemical it had grown reliant on had suddenly gone missing.
I knew that my body would show me no mercy either. I would start by having hot and cold sweats. My mood would sink to an all-time low. My head would pound in a way that no head should ever pound. I would totally lose all desire to eat but still feel hunger pangs. My anxiety would go through the roof. My whole body would ache as if I had the flu.
I would spend a significant amount of time in the bathroom. Moving would hurt. I would be exhausted but unable to sleep night after night. My legs would be restless and my head would be dizzy. And the worst part about it was that it would last for about a month and when it was over, my initial pain condition would still be there (daily headaches). This was the reality I was about to endure and I was petrified.
The only thing I could think of doing is going to an urgent care clinic and praying to God someone would feel sorry for me. Typically these places give out very few narcotics, let alone a hard-core-long-acting morphine! There was also a huge chance that they would not believe my story and quickly judge me as a junkie looking for my next high.
Nevertheless, I was desperate so I decided to take my chances. I ended up getting the no-nonsense doctor who was known to be a stickler about giving out narcotics. I thought for sure he would say “sorry charlie” and kick me to the curb. To my great surprise, he actually listened and understood the seriousness of my situation.
He said, “Here is what I am going to do…I am going to give you a one-month supply of this medication so you have one month to figure this thing out. Do not come back here because I will not refill this mediation ever again.” It was as if God Himself was in that room with me, speaking those oh so compassionate, but stern-dad-like-words.
I knew at that moment that none of this was accidental and that what seemed like a hopeless and devastating situation was actually about to change the course of my life forever. I decided that I would never trust the pain clinic again and that no matter what happened I would not go back there. I would no longer entrust my pain to a mere human, but I would allow the great physician to write out my new treatment plan.
Stay Tuned For Part 3…
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