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Getting off Opiates
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Getting off Opiates

I am 100% valid pain management patient and for six years was on many strong opiates. I have failed back syndrome after three surgeries total. I didnt need but IBupro until I got evaluated in 2001 for collapsing from electric shocks just above knees on both sides. Inexperienced surgeon ended up decompressing L4, not L5. L4 was my only decent disc. Had it redone under emergency time frame, two months, by much better surgeon and at least sciatica went away. Now symptoms are on standing stationary or walking, within 5 minutes I go from tingling to numbness, to need someone to help me to the ground, worst on left but both sides do same. Nearest pain management in FL was 90 mins away so I went to change it only to find no one would touch me. I have managed to get myself down from Duragesic 75's/48hrs, Actiq 800's twice a day and 20 mg of Vicodin at night without help from doctor but I could have died and went thru terrible times. Lost my insurance after getting turned down again by two other doctors. I was willing to do whatever they recommended but no way, they punted me. Now I am on just about 20 mg of Vicodin a day costing me a fortune thru sleasy clinics charging $200 visits and now about $100 a month for meds. I wake up each day and cant get out of bed, stiff with back pain, arthritic pain, and I stretch but that is about all I can do. I cant afford these meds and I need my zest to live back. I need recommended scheme to cut down until I am at 0 opiates, dont know what else to do. I couldnt even get recommendation on if I should go to a Methadone clinic, completely ignored. Also note that the steroid injections I was getting about 3 times a year I no longer get and I guess they were working better than I thought. If I had Rush Limbaugh cash I would check into a detox program but I am not sure I can ever be opiate free and still make a living that involves movement. Going to check into a Disability soon before i am broke. I had to move back in with my aging mom who amazingly is in a similar situation having post polio syndrome and a failed herniated disk repair but she only has to sit and sleep. Any and all ideas and help appreciated. I trust this is completely CONFIDENTIAL. Thanks agian.
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82861_tn?1333457511
You need to start on that disability claim NOW.  It can take quite a long time to get a decision, and to make the wheels turn faster, you need an SSDI attorney.  It will save you time and money if you do some of the legwork yourself in the form of obtaining copies of all your medical records.  If your claim is accepted, you should be able to get MediAid as well.

I don't see 20 mg of hydrocodone a day as being a big opiate problem, and you obviously need some form of pain medication.  

Also, sorry to tell you but posting on a public internet forum is in no way confidential.  :-)
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Avatar_n_tn
You are to be congratulated on getting your hydrocodone use down to 20 mg per day. For comming the rest of the way off, you can get some very good advice on the Addiction Community forum. Ask for the Thomas protocol.

For managing your continuing pain I am not experiensed enough to give you any advice, other than to pray.

RSDS_Pain
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks, the disability is what my friends have been telling me. Not confidential but my real name isnt in these messages so that will do. It is hard to prove my case since I have near completely normal days and I lost a lawsuit (unless you call $20K in arbitration out of $750K winning) since they had video of me doing laundry and some taichi classes and my lawyer apparently never listened to me and what I tell you above and below. She saw the video that was highly edited and surprised on us and said we got to settle and this was a major WPB law firm, Lytal, Reiter,... My symptoms always show up when I am forced to stationary for more than 5 minutes but if I walk 20 ft, sit 30 mins, walk around, keep moving, I am functional. I couldnt prove it in a lawsuit and they will always be able to get video of me that looks pretty normal. I do have all my records though, about five 3" Binders, xrays, etc. that lawyer turned over to me. If I just lay in bed and dont try and stretch and keep somewhat active I have found it gets worse and I am not willing to do that. It is a real catch 22. If anymore comments Jay or anyone, thanks very much.
D
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82861_tn?1333457511
Having a medical issue is only the first part of proving a disability claim.  What they look for is if you can do ANY job - like taking tickets in a movie theater - for 8 hours a day.  Your doctor (or more than one) will be asked to fill out a form stating what activities you can do, and for how long.  This information is used to determine the percentage of disability.  Reliability is also a factor.  You may have one "good" day out of a week, but you don't know when it will be.  A good attorney can help you navigate through the laws and paperwork.

IMHO, you had a really crappy lawyer.  Your doctor could have testified that you can sometimes perform activities of daily living (ADL) but only X% of the time.  Taichi could have been part of your physical therapy regime.  My pain psychologist has had to testify on behalf of some of her patients for this exact issue.  One person was filmed planting flowers outside, and Workers Comp used that to try to cut her off.  The pain shrink testified that the light gardening was part of her therapy, and what was NOT shown on the film was the next 24 to 36 hours the person was flat on his back unable to move as a result.  A decent attorney will point out that you can't be penalized for doing what your doctor's ask you to do as part of your therapy.  Also, the more doctors you have who will back up your disability claim, the more likely it is that the claim will be accepted.  

I know it seems like a really daunting thing to get started on a disability claim, but you really are forced into at least trying.  Spend the money you have left and at least consult an attorney who specializes in SSDI.  There's plenty of firms in this country who do nothing but SSDI work, so it shouldn't be a problem finding one.  If you haven't already got a pain psychologist, start seeing one.  Not only will it help you with your claim, but a good therapist can help you learn techniques to better deal with the pain, and all the life issues that crop up when you're in chronic, severe pain.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi.  You asked about getting off your pain meds.  I am also disabled.  Was also on the patch, oxycontin and percocet.  Weaned myself down to 10 mg percocet.  I guess I did it because doctors (and my family doctor) act like you are such a drug addict when you are on opiates.  When I first moved to my present location, one family doctor wouldn't even take me when he heard I was on pain meds even though I am disabled.  However, the pain management doctors do prescribe them for me.  Therefore, I am tapering off meds.  I am substituting tylenol and ibuprofen and aspirin for the pain.  I heard that when you are off the pain pills, your own natural opiate receptors take over and help with the pain.  Anyway, I'm going to find out.  If you really want off the meds, I would taper from the 20 mg you are on, down to 15 mg, then 10 mg, then 7.5, then 5, then 2.5 and then off.  That is what I am doing.  I heard you should stay at each dose for 1 week.  Hope this helps.  It is unfortunate that pain pills still have such a stigma associated with them that people in chronic pain are looked upon poorly.
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Avatar_n_tn
You need to apply for SSDI.  Social Security Disability.  If you have worked all your  life then you have been paying a premium on disability insurance through your SS payments that came out of your checks each pay period.  Apply for SSDI NOW.  The sooner you get your application in the sooner you will get a determination.  They will send you a pile of paperwork to fill out, but don't get discouraged.  Fill it all out completely or have someone else help you with it.  Don't leave out anything.  Take time to think about every single thing that you CANNOT do anymore because of your disability.  (for instance; vacumm, even brushing your hair).  DON'T leave out anything.  Also before you send your packet in make sure you have every single doctor's report included.  Don't count on Social Security to get all the information for you.  Make sure you include any mental problems you may be experiencing and make sure to sign all the release forms.  Include everything even if you think it is not important.  Make up a check list of all the doctors you have seen and before sending in your packet to SS, go through and make sure you have included everything.  It may take a few months to receive a determination back, but they will pay you from the time they received your application.  If you are denied.  Don't give up.  File for a reconsideration.  Most people do not do this.  It happened to me but I filed for a reconsideraiton and with the form I sent along one report from one doctor that I had not included. This report made all the difference. Remember, if you worked all your life, you are entitled to disability insurance.  Do not feel like this is a hand-out. good luck.
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