Mom, now over 95, after a few strokes, every now and then gets a pain in her side, shoulder or leg (arthritis) that is so bad she grimaces, and she has always been a person who had exceptionally high tolerance to pain, so I know it must be really really bad if she’s showing it.
Several times, I’ve taken her to the hospital because of her pain, usually occurring late, off-hours, etc. Tests were administered, and each time, gladly, she was given an aok and some kind of recommendation or pain med. Because she is very receptive/sensitive to medicines and because she has balance issues, and I can’t really lift her, about a year ago during an episode where she was given and additionally prescribed a "mild" pain medication, as it was described. I asked if we could start by giving her only half-a-pill; it may be enough. The emergency room doctor was on board with that, I was always staying with her throughout those times and with a half-a-pill, she’d relax and within an hour the pain cycle would be broken, and she’d not be out-of-it, just relaxed deeply enough to fall asleep usually. When she’d wake up, she’d be rosy again.
There is one pill left from that prescription. It’s been sitting in the medicine cabinet on the verge of expiration. Last fall, before Covid, we went to her Primary Dr.’s Nurse Practitioner, a wonderful professional and caring person, for her bi-yearly check-up and med review. I reminded her all about the repeated experiences at the hospital emergency room for pain and while there were a few pills still, how well this worked for Mom, and asked if we could have it on her med list, if needed after the last few are gone (usually over months between episodes) She was reluctant, describing it as a narcotic, but did so when she understood it was either a pain med or an entire week of pain, not kidding. Because we went through that the first time she started having pain a few years ago. Taking her to the ER the first time they found nothing of concern in the tests and sent us home, giving Tylenol Extra-Strength, recommending hot compresses, etc. The pain cycle got so ingrained it wouldn’t stop, after a painful exhausting week peppered with calls to medical professionals, we went back. She was given something for pain there (Tramadol), and sent home, where she relaxed, fell asleep and woke up pain free.
Back to the 1 pill. A few months ago, I called her PCDr. to check on it and request, she’d just had an episode and I noticed there were 1 1/2 left. Her doctor, not the NP, called me and argued against it saying things like “I wasn’t the Dr. who originally prescribed that for her” and “She might fall” and ultimately refused to write it and over-rode the NP, telling me she shouldn't have done that. What this means, is that when the last pill is gone, the next time if she has another episode, I will have to take her to the hospital in order to get the pain medication and, being the one who’s with her all the time, I know she needs. As did the NP who "got" it and then was over-ridden. I just hope the pandemic is over before I have to do that. Just saying. Whew. Thanks for listening:)