"Pain Management after addiction"

About: Box Hill Hospital Turning Point Wellington House

(as the patient),

I came to Turning Point (Eastern Health - Alcohol and other drug treatment) after around 8 years of fentanyl treatment for my chronic, acute pain after an accident at work which has left me in constant pain. This cost me my marriage, house, money and most of my 'friends'.  At first it was brilliant it was really good to be free of the craving which had been driving me nuts.  I tried all sorts of meditation, etc. to get over it. But the only thing that saved me was learning about Turning Point and getting a referral from my doctor who at first was a little wary about me being an 'addict'.  I now know why.

It's taken 10 months to get back to barely adequate pain relief!  It felt like nobody cared or understood that just maybe I'd been on the most powerful medication because I was in lots and lots of pain.  It wasn't only pain in the knees which had been smashed, but scoliosis and collapsed vertebrae which I believe was caused because one of my legs was bent and an inch shorter than it had been.

During this 10 months, I had been virtually bed-ridden, but my pleas for help were met with replies like - I can't feel your pain.  An appointment was made for me a month down the track to visit a pain clinic at Box Hill Hospital.  I thought they were thinking I was making things up.  It's unbelievably stressful trying to prove you're in pain.  Visits to doctors became more like court cases than going to see someone who actually cared about my well being.

The business I had been trying to set up while receiving pain relief fell by the wayside and I'm now a 'credit risk' and slowly repaying the loans I took out to set it up.  I have a beautiful mother who tries very hard, but at her age needs help with almost everything she does.  She is unable to even lift a shopping bag or carry out the washing, a list of 'can't does' too long to list. She's also wisely given up driving.

What I believe needs addressing is that not everyone has come to Turning Point from a criminal background using illicit drugs.  Some of us who've been unlucky enough to get addicted through no fault of our own need a different approach.

Responses

Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health nearly 2 years ago
David Plunkett
Chief Executive,
Eastern Health
Submitted on 15/08/2018 at 18:29
Published on Care Opinion on 16/08/2018 at 08:56


picture of David Plunkett

Dear hmmf

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with Eastern Health services. You have provided some really important detail so we can better understand the experience of people with persisting pain.

Eastern Health staff at Turning Point strongly advocate for respect, dignity and an end to stigma for service users. We believe that the medication issues our clients living with persisting pain are experiencing reflect the complexity of the condition and the effects of these drugs on the brain. Our experience in, and commitment to, helping recovery of clients with pain is always based on evidence supported and non-judgemental care. I'm sorry your experience at Box Hill Hospital was not as positive.

I hope you are able to make further improvements so you can progress your plans and wish you the best of health.

Kind regards

David

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Update posted by hmmf (the patient)

Dear David,

Thank you for your swift response. I sent in a referral from my GP to see a psychiatrist at Turning Point last week and am waiting on a response. It is a bit frustrating that these things take so long to organise, though I can appreciate that I'm not the only fish in the barrel. I was awake all night with depression last night, and I do so wish things were a little faster.

My GP found a non-narcotic medication that's been very helpful with my pain and I'm very pleased about that. The depression is of course very stressful and pretty obviously a result of a very long time on Fentanyl. My hope now is that this is a recoverable issue, I hope it hasn't caused permanent brain damage. I wish I'd known before I quit the stuff how long the suffering would be. I will keep you posted on how things go.

Regards

Hmmf

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