Monday, April 20, 2009

I was just following orders.

No, I'm not using this as a defense against some crime against humanity. I'm actually complaining about the fact that I was given orders by my doctor, and now I'm paying a price for it. Let us, together, venture into the wilds of mathematics, and see how Rob got himself into trouble...again.

I actually have two PCPs. Let's call them Dr. G and Dr. M. Dr. G is the one I deal with most, and the one who does the least amount of listening to me. As I understand it, he was an army doctor, so he became stuck in a specific way of dealing with patients...patients that aren't me. You see, I have a brain hiding somewhere in my skull. I don't just accept what my doctor says and wander away. I make the doctor stop and answer questions. Dr. G isn't used to this, so he finds me irritating.

In the last few visits to Dr. G, we have uncovered my problem of Charcot's foot, tried to deal with the cellulitis in my left big toe, and attempted to juggle my pain meds so they don't cost me as much. The alteration is in the strength of my meds. We went from 7.5/325 percocet, two as needed every four hours to 10/325 percocet, one and a half as needed every four hours. For those who don't understand those numbers, it's a breakdown of oxycodone/Tylenol. With the change, it means the same amount of the narcotic and less Tylenol. Less Tylenol is a good thing; it means less work for my liver. When prescribed the lower dose, he gave me 180 tablets and that would last me approximately three weeks. (Technically, 180 divided by the 12 pills I was permitted to take equates to 15 days. But I always did my best to not get crazy with the meds.) My idea was to change the dose, still give me 180 tablets, and that would last me closer to four weeks, if not an actual month. But what does Dr. G do? He prescribes 150 pills. Doing the math again, this equates to a 16.6 day supply. So instead of getting any kind of extension on my prescription, I've managed to technically get ONE extra day. With the way I stretch out the meds, an extra two and a half days.

Okay. Fine. I'll do it his way. What else can I do? Put an imaginary gun to his head and demand he do as I say? I don't think that would work.

On my way out, Dr. G told me to make an appointment when I started running out. Rather than assume I'd run out in two or three weeks, I waited until my bottle of meds was running low. Silly me, I thought a few days advance notice would do the trick. Thus, knowing I had enough to get me through until today, I called last Friday to make an find out Dr. G is on vacation and that they have no openings until 27 April.


I explained that without the meds, I'm not only facing the nightmare of a lot of pain, but very likely the "joy" of withdrawals, as I've been on these meds for OVER a year. The receptionist, not fearing anything herself, told me to call Monday morning to see if there were any cancellations.

Once again, I followed orders. This morning, I called and was told there were no cancellations, and that appointments were still being made for 27 April. I made the foolish mistake of not making an appointment yet, and instead left a message for the nurse.

The whole morning passed without a call back.

Look two paragraphs up. See the word "once"? I paused there to call the doc's office on the off chance there were cancellations this afternoon. No...Not only are they still booked, but the nurse was also at lunch and now appointments are available starting on 29 April!

This time I jumped on the opportunity to make an appointment. It's all set for 29 April at 3:00 PM. That was the earliest I could get in. Rather than leave another message on the nurse's voice mail, I left a verbal message saying it was rather urgent she call as soon as possible.

In all honesty, my greatest fear is withdrawing from these meds. I'm far from being even close to good health. Rapidly kicking the percocet from my system could result in "little" a heart attack. Of course, that would definitely help me quit smoking...

Hmmm...Maybe I should have the heart attack and see if that works out well for me, eh?

No...In a recent discussion with my buddy, Thanatos, I mentioned a nice gunshot wound would have me hospitalized long enough to quit, and he said that bullets inside the body held a risk of death. I'll assume a heart attack would also have similar risks.

So I wait. Hopefully, when the nurse gets back from lunch, she'll call so I cal explain the situation to her. You see, I have a secondary fear after massive withdrawals...Pain. I hate pain. And I have a lot of it. Neuropathy, Charcot's feet, and arthritis...It's going to be rough if she doesn't come through.

While I wait, I'm going to weigh the pros and cons of following doctor's orders.

Edit, 7:30 PM - Spoke with the nurse late this afternoon. She told me to come in at 10:00 AM tomorrow morning and ask for her. She would ensure the doctor saw me. Here's hoping what she said can be matched by action.

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