Go to an ER that is part of a hospital network that is owned by a conservative Christian organization. I had the worst human apathy experience of my life in such an ER just 6 months ago.
Being a wheelchair user for almost 20 years and being very active during these years, my shoulders have taken a beating. I suffered partial tears right away, from the very first year on. Due to my staunch refusal to ever go under the knife unless it was the absolute end-of-the-road last resort as well as practical challenges that made such an option nearly impossible, my doctor(s) and I thought the best option was to treat the chronic pain instead (and rotator cuff surgery is a gamble for ABLE-BODIED people, people who don’t depend on their shoulders for ambulation).
A year into my injury, (i was hurt in 2000), i began my regimen of Tramadol for my shoulder pain.
Fast forward 17 years or so and i find myself at this ER, experiencing Tramadol withdrawal for the very first time in that entire 17 year period that i had been treated with the medication. I knew thru reading and research that Tramadol withdrawal was a beast unlike most all other opiods/dependence-inducing medications… This isnt due to it’s strength as a painkiller, it’s actually one of the mildest prescription analgesics there is. It’s due to the length of time the withdrawals last, as well as the compicating fact of SSRI withdrawal also being present in tramadol (it has a very mild serotonin reuptake inhibition effect as well as the analgesic effects of the opiod). Anyone who has stopped an SSRI suddenly knows what SSRI withdrawal is like. While its not comparable to opiate/opiod withdrawal, it certainly isnt fun. And when you have both types of withdrawals occuring simultaneously, well that a brand new monster.
This withdrawal i was going thru was something that was brought on by issues that i had nothing to do with and had no knowledge of until i was in the position of trying to get my refills and being informed that my doctor, the one i had had for over a decade, was no longer working there. That was it, no explanation, no interim doctor to handle patients and their medications, some of which were life-sustaining for the patients, no nothing. We were just hung out to dry and left to fend for ourselves.
Well i worked as hard as i could to find a replacement doctor, a GOOD one, before i completely ran out of my medication (at the time of this bombshell revelation i had about 10 days worth of tramadol left). Well, i actually did find a good doctor, one who was significantly closer than my previous doctor too. However, the soonest i coul get in to see her was 5 weeks away. So i was looking at a month+ of withdrawals before i could fix it. I had run out of ideas.
While i intellectually knew what to expect with the withdrawals, i was wholly unprepared for the reality of living with it. I began to get sick about 48 hours after my last dose. And it steadily got worse and after about 4 or 5 days (i had been telliing myself i was just going to tough it out. Ha.) of the worst headaches, diarrhea, cold sweats-definitely the worst part-restless limbs and a profound inability to eat or sleep, i was delirious and knew i couldnt do it by myself and had to get help somehow. So, i collected all the info i could that showed the legitimacy, dosage, dates and doctor who prescribed the drug for me, i went to the ER that was part of the same network that my gym was connected to (same general location). And i thought my opinion of my fellow man couldnt sink any lower…
Well, to make a long story a tiny bit not as long, ill just say that it made NO difference that i brought in all those records detailing my medical history with Tramadol. It made no difference that i could barely wheel thru the door by myself due to my weak, twitching body, it made no diffrence tjat made sure to not request or ask for ANY painkiller or drug, period. Since i was there because i was win withdrawal from an opiod medication, i was kudged to be a drug seeker and i was refused treatment. They told me i had asked for narcotics when all i actually said to them was i informed them of the situation and deffered to their expertise and asked for help any way they determined was best. I said this thru tears.
Well, amazingly the doctor, the DOCTOR, who was on my “doc” that evening, actually said the fpllowing with a straight face, keep in mind why i was there: “So have you tried Tylenol?” That question literally took my breath away. Tylenol. The DOCTOR was recommeding TYLENOL for my severe opiod withdrawal. Holy motherfucking shit. What passive aggressive hostility! This was the medical expert! She knew damn well i wasnt “in pain” and she knew damn well Tylenol wouldnt do one damn thing for me. It was at that moment i knew i was not welcome there. Everywhere i turned i saw people who judged me without knowing anything other than i took pain medicine. The fact that i needed it and my doctor agreed was irrelevant.
So decided i had to leave. I’d find no help here. So i went to the check-out desk that was staffed by a male nurse and as i was giving him the info began to talk tto me in the most hurtful, prejudical, hateful way of anyone that whole night. Again i was labeled a drug seeker. He also took my prescription history and dishonestly only pointed to part of the prescription (i am prescribed extended release version of tramadol to last throughout the day with regular version prescribed for as needed for breakout pain in between extended release doses. and said "well see, you shouldnt be out yet. You didnt think we’d know this did you? And laughed a nasty laugh.
I was crying at that pount and i looked at him in the eyes and asked him if he really believed that i was there to scam painkillers. He just nodded with a tiny smirk on his face. “Well i have to go then. I need to go.” And in the most ironic moment of the entire night, this NURSE, this healer, this medical professional who should be among the most caring, empathetic and understanding people of all, didnt jump up and rush to get the door for me (unlike 90,% of the rest of the world). No, what this guy did was sit back and point. “Well you see where the door is.” Yes, yes i did. And i left. And i will never return to that ER for any reason again for as long as i live.
I found out about the Christian control of the hospital soon after this nightmare. They evidently have a policy, a policy that they dont communicate in any sort of proactive way to patients or porential patients, of simply not treating chronic pain or any complication resulting from treatment for it from opuod medication. This is outrageous to me. Such conflicts of interest should not be allowed to exist legally. Religious morality should have NO PLACE in an emergency room, hospital, urgent care clinic or doctors office. You’re fucking with peoples lives here, you smug prejudical, hateful motherfuckers. Burn in hell.