Posted in aches, Arthritis, Chronic lower back pain, chronic pain, Coping with Chronic Pain, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Health Care, Knee pain, Muscle and joint stiffness, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Surgeries, U.S. Pain Foundation

DEA’s Latest Attempt to Punish Chronic Pain Patients

Now the DEA’s newest proposal targets drug manufacturers by giving them quotas as to the number of controlled substances they will be allowed to produce. Here we go again … another attempt to bully and force decreases in the manufacturing of pain medications – which hurt millions of Americans suffering with some form of chronic pain. But there is little empathy toward chronic pain patients suffering from back issues, hidden illnesses, and even surgeries.

And the number of patients who have been refused pain prescriptions for diagnoses they’ve lived with for decades continues to increase as will the suicides by these patients who can find no other form of relief. Following this is the comment I submitted to the DEA and I urge you to send your story to them ASAP. In the article, “DEA Wants to Target Drug Manufacturers in Opioid Supply, by Ed Coghlan and found in the National Pain Report dated April 21, 2018, click on the article title which will take you to the proposal docket  with instructions on submitting your comments. This is opened to the public until May 4th so please send your comments in today.  Thank you.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am pleading with you to cease, overthrow, and forget about the proposal to decrease the manufacturing of controlled substances, namely, opioids.

Scoliosis, Spinal Stenosis, herniated discs, and six fusion surgeries on my back due to Scoliosis have left my spine with 2 inches of bone-free fusions. It was decided not to fuse that area because of assumed increased complications. My back pain increased resulting in quitting my job and stop instructing, choreographing, and dancing line dances, restricted my love of gardening, house cleaning, and shopping due to the impact of pressure forced on those 2 inches of my spine.

Since July 2012 I have been on disability, spent the year of 2013 contemplating suicide and wallowing in a sea of depression as new health issues arose. Less than six months ago I was diagnosed with Restrictive Lung Disease and am now on oxygen 24/7 along with the myriad of medications to address my severe chronic back pain, restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, and lack of sleep.

Taking Percocet at the dosage of 7.5/325 mg four times a day allows me to walk on the treadmill at 2.0 mph for 30 minutes (3-4 times weekly), dress myself, make the bed, and wash dishes. I go shopping with my husband at least once a week to get out of the house and unfortunately, we come right home after the first stop because the back pain will not allow me to spend an afternoon of shopping. I walk with a cane and sometimes ride in a wheelchair. And I’ve tried to dance a little bit for exercise but the oxygen tubing gets in my way.

If I didn’t take the Percocet four times a day my day would look like this: Wake up, go to the bathroom, sit back on the recliner with heating pad and moan in pain – and this is where I would spend my day. Activity increases my pain, therefore, physical activity is gone. Going out to shop is out of the question. Household chores including picking up items around the house, making the bed, or washing dishes is out of the question because the back pain travels down both legs and stirs up the RLS … forcing me to get back on the recliner. I’d get fat. I’d be depressed. And I’d be thinking of other options that would take away the misery of my painful life.

It was revealed that the CDC inflated the numbers of opioid suicides in its report per this article: (https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2018/3/21/cdc-admits-rx-opioid-deaths-significantly-inflated) And there have already been a few suicides by pain patients who were refused pain medication, leaving the patients with suicide as their only option to relieve their pain.

Controlling substance quotas isn’t going to remove suicides amount the citizens of this country – it is going to escalate suicides. For some reason people who do not live with chronic pain, believe it can be remedied with physical therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy – all great options, but they do not last. And they are expensive.

I cannot live a semi-normal life without Percocet. I’ve tried cutting down and find myself eventually taking the required number because the pain escalates quickly. How am I suppose to live? How am I suppose to enjoy visiting my son and his family including two grandchildren? How do I face a day without pain relief?

PLEASE, I BEG you to remove this proposed rule and reconsider your actions. This rule will escalate suicides, remove quality of life, and force pain patients to spend their days and nights in bed. Is this the society you are striving for?

Respectfully,

Carolyn Robinson

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Posted in Arthritis, Chronic lower back pain, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Health Care, Knee pain, Muscle and joint stiffness, Rheumatoid Arthritis

Patients Like Me

Hello, and I hope you are enjoying a low pain or pain-free day!

Finally, after weeks of inflammation and burning pain in all my joints, I have started on the generic brand of Celebrex! (I took this medication years ago when it first came on the market and then was taken off the market due to symptoms of heart problems in patients.) My PA explained Celebrex was doing a great job now and thought I would have good results with it. And she was right! Within 24 hours my inflammation was down and the pain level in my joints was as low as a 2 or 3. I believe it may be helping my lower back, where I have arthritis because my back pain level has been lower, also!

Isn’t it great when you try a medicine and it actually works? There are several medications I’m on that make me wonder if they are doing anything for me. My doctors usually answer that if I were off of the medicines I would see how they are helping me. And although I consider taking myself off those meds, I don’t believe I want to go through the process of getting back on them. So far now, I’ll stick to my medication list.

Today I want to introduce you to a great site I found called Patients Like Me. I came upon this website by accident. After reading the synopsis of PLM I decided to join and see what it could do for me. Bottom line…this is a great site for anyone with hidden illnesses and any illness that impairs you with pain, discomfort, or wishing you knew somebody with the same problems.

PLM claims over 500,000 patients with over 2700 conditions on the single mission of putting patients first! And when you join you’ll understand this statement more thoroughly. PatientsLikeMe is the brainchild of Jamie Heywood, whose brother, Stephen, age 29 was diagnosed with ALS in 1998. Together with brother, Ben, Jamie tried treating his brother’s symptoms and slowing the disease even though it progressed rapidly. Jamie and Ben realized that researching for information and answers to help their brother and his disease was time-consuming and difficult.

Along with another friend, Jeff Cole, the brothers initially launched PatientsLikeMe to connect ALS patients, but it quickly expanded, and in 2011, [they] opened the website to all patients and all conditions¹. Fortunately, for us, we have the opportunity to be a part of PLM and contribute to the research of our diseases while forming relationships with patients, listing our medications, taking forms to our doctor visits, and reporting our daily symptoms. All of these items contribute to the goal of PLM: “a free website where persons share their health data to track their progress, help others, and change medicine for good!²”

I’ve been a member since March of this year and have already met so many new friends through this wonderful site. Not only do you enter your medications for your own needs, but you learn how many PLM patients are on the same medication, encounter similar symptoms, and give advice on taking the medication and how they alleviate their symptoms.

Each day you receive an email asking “how are you feeling today?” PLM is not looking for sugar-coated answers to this question. You tell it like it is. Log in, mark the face you feel at the time you log in (Very Bad, Bad, Neutral, Good, Very Good) and then you can give an explanation of your feeling. This is optional but this piece of information gives you insight into other patients’ symptoms and how their pain is affected by the weather, stress, and frustration.

Because I don’t want to bore you, I’m going to stop for now. But in a couple of days, I’ll post a follow-up to this note with more information on PatientsLikeMe. If you join, please let me know so I can start following you! My username is CNRobin62 and I believe you can search for me and follow me. Then just send me a note that you joined per my blog post. We’ll chat and before you know it you’ll have an arsenal of like disease friends who understand your feelings and frustrations.

For now, enjoy the rest of your day and I hope you have a wonderful week ahead. Thank for reading and I look forward to our next meeting!

Hugs,

Carolyn

 

 

 

Posted in Health Care

Customer Relations Management (CRM)

Customer relations management (CRM) is software that uses information technology to help organizations build customer relationships and increase the value of the goods and/or services it provides.  The advantages of CRM include tracking and documenting customer history with instant access to those records, determining the best-selling practices for the organization and analyzing reasons behind customer complaints.

A medical office benefits from the CRM techniques in a variety of ways.  First, gathering complete patient history along with recording every subsequent office, lab and radiology visit allows CRM to track, document and monitor the patient’s information.   Physicians access patient information instantly, enabling effective health care for the patient.  Correct diagnoses facilitate prescriptions, tests and/or procedures for the patient’s care.

Secondly, future occasions of communication with the patient, including phone calls, visits and surveys, are documented and recorded in the CRM.  The CRM monitors the information and suggests support and service practices for the medical office to consider for improving patient relations.  In addition, by responding to the patient’s needs and creating improvements with business practices and services, the medical office effectively attains its performance goals.

Although CRM helps the medical office staff improve patient relationships, ultimately, effective communication is required for formulating the correct diagnoses and care.

Ineffective communication within a medical office however, creates a number of dangers for the medical office and its patients.  CRM offers recommendations based on the input of complete and detailed patient history.  The patient needs to feel he can disclose all pertinent information to the nurse or physician, without judgment.  In addition, the physician needs to create an atmosphere where the patient has no inhibitions expressing his concerns, problems and symptoms.  If the patient feels embarrassed or ashamed of disclosing all information, the physician is unable to properly treat his problem.  Ineffective communication results in the possibility of the patient being misdiagnosed and/or receiving incorrect medication.

Problems occur with ineffective communication among the office staff also.  If an administrative assistant receives incorrect information from a nurse regarding future appointments, the patient may be scheduled for a follow-up rather than a procedure with the physician.  The nurse gives the patient specific instructions, for example, stopping blood pressure medication ten days prior to the procedure.  Because being off the blood pressure medicine is dangerous for the patient, he waits several weeks until he is able to go off the medication again and further delays the procedure.  In addition, the appointment, certified incorrectly for a follow-up with his insurance requires additional time to re-certify the procedure.  The certification process takes hours or days depending upon the type of procedure and insurance coverage. These problems, due to ineffective communication, cause the patient to suffer longer than necessary and cost the medical office in wasted time and money.

The CRM is an important and effective tool for the medical office.  However, it relies on effective communication among the medical staff members and patients in order to offer the medical office assistance with improving patient relationships as well as the value of its services.