Friday, September 27, 2019

Grouch, Grumble, Whine....

A frustrating and tiring few days put me in a dark mood this week.

Acquiring a refill of my pain medication - a generic of the brand Norco - is becoming more difficult by the month. I obtained the paper prescription, signed in ink by my temporry oncologist, as required now by law when medications involving opioids are refilled. We took the prescription to the pharmacy we've used for the past 15 years. On being presented with the written prescription the rather unhelpful young lady at the drop-off counter told me "Sorry we can't fill that, we are getting a new wholesaler and we have none in stock. You'll have to go to another pharmacy." "Well", said I, "I could wait for a day or two, I still have a some tablets left. Would you have the medication available in a few days' time?" "No, we don't know when, or if, we'll have them". A bit fishy, that!

We drove to CVS pharmacy just across the road, to be told by a kindly young guy at their drop-off desk. "Sorry, we're all out of those tablets, people coming from the pharmacy across the road have cleaned us out. We might have some by early next week. I'd try Walgreens - not Walmart as they'd likely send you away as you're not a regular customer."

Onward to Walgreens. These pharmacy visits entail a fair amount of walking, and I, the painfully walking wounded one, was not delighted by the fact that pharmacy counters in the large stores are right at the back, farthest away from the entrances - so lots of painful steps for me. Even dosed up with the pain pills, using a quad-cane, walking far is not easy for me.

Walgreens, after checking my identity and Medicare details, seemed willing to fill my prescription. They were very busy - lines forming at the pick-up and drop-of counters all the time. They said to come back to pick up the tablets in around 45 minutes. We returned over an hour later. Medications not yet ready for me, so we decided to wait until the next day to collect - to avoid yet another trail to the back of the store that day. Later on, a phone call from the pharmacist at Walgreens told me that I would need the doctor's further authority for the number of pills required by the prescription. (I'd have thought that the prescription itself was that authority!) The doc had allowed for 8 tablets per day (for a month) instead of 6 per day. New regulations mean that extra authority from the doctor will be required for that amount of tablets. I told the pharmacist that, as I take only 6 tablets per day, could he please just fill the prescription for that amount? He agreed to do this, and changed the number of pills stated on the prescription. So, yet another trip to Walgreens the next day, though with rested legs.
At last, I had the tablets in my hot sticky hands. I say hot and sticky advisedly. It was around 95 degrees in town during these adventures, adding to my annoyance and discomfort.

I had hoped that Walgreens might deal with a different generic manufacturer than the one used by our usual pharmacy. Sadly no, that didn't happen - same generic manufacturer, who shall remain nameless. I am convinced, as are many people online, that the generic of Norco made by this particular manufacturer is not as effective as the brand medication itself, or pills made by several other generic manufacturers. It is thought, by regular users of this medication, that not long after December 2017, when panic erupted over deaths by addiction to opioids in the USA, especially in Oklahoma, the effectiveness of these tablets as pain relief medication took a nosedive. Those who had been taking the medication before and after the opioid crisis suspect that some manufacturers have adjusted make-up of these tablets, possibly by changing additional ingredients used in their manufacture. I suspect (a wild guess on my part) that the way the tablets were being used by addicts for purposes other than pain relief, may have been the reason for change. Addicts crushed the tablets. Perhaps some generic manufacturers added an ingredient to prevent easy crushing which, in turn, could also prevent proper digestion of the pain-relieving ingredients. So those of us who genuinely need pain relief go to the back of the queue, we don't matter!

Pain relief from the pills, for me, is minimal but better than nothing. Morphine at the strengths tried already brings even less relief. I'll be asking the temporary oncologist, next time I see him, if there's something else I could try. I'd buy the brand name Norco tablets, even just to try, if they weren't so ridiculously expensive - in the order of $500 + per month!

Whinge, whinge, grouch and grumble! A wheelchair beckons!


Sackerson said...

Here's one activity that cheers me up - I'm planning to print and put over the sink:

Wisewebwoman said...

Whinge all you want, we all need to vent, especially when pain intrudes on every waking minute. This all sounds so dystopian, you only want pain relief and drug addicts are another breed. Drug addiction continues, I've known people who'd snort aspirin to get a high, adjusting legal meds for these poor things is not a solution. I get so irritated with the way aging illness is managed by Demz Wot Rulez. I could write a pamphlet. Even here with universal health care.

They can't seem to realize we have very little time left and wish, please, to maximize the time we have left. Pain-free.

Grrr for you.


Twilight said...

Sackerson ~ Hi there! Thank you, I'd love to put whatever that is over the sink, but each time I try to access it I'm told that it doesn't match any documents. Perhaps it's something only available to those in the UK - but thank you for the kind thought! :)

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Thank you, WWW. The doctors do their best to help, but pharmacists are bound by these new regulations in respect of narcotic-type pain relief meds. I'd bet that whoever makes these rules has never had to deal with chronic pain any more than, maybe, the odd headache. I sometimes get the feeling that pharmacists don't trust me or that I'm doing something wrong - & that is not pleasant.

Sackerson said...

Try the image here!

:) said...

Ask one of your doctors for Rx gabapentin (neurontin) or a newer form, Lyrica. There is a food supplement readily available called gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) that does not cross the blood-brain barrier, so no sedation, but studies show it can offer relief for peripheral, neuropathic pain. Unfortunate you are learning of the Medical-Industrial-Complex during your time of need. There are many things in life that have to be experienced to truly understand, or the old braggart, 'walk a mile in my shoes'. Food-nutrition is magic.

John Smith said...

I feel your "grouches, grumbles, and whines," Twilight. Damned US healthcare! Made for and only suitable for the rich and powerful robber barons of capitalism. And UK residents look out - if Johnson & Co get their way it'll "soon be coming to a pharmacy near you!"
In our thoughts, as always.
PS Just home from UK. Father still in hospital but recovering. He may yet make 105!

R J Adams said...

I don't know who this "John Smith" is. Sometime, in years gone by, Google attached that name to my account after I used it as a pseudonym to gain access to some information I wanted. It's dogged me ever since. I've tried deleting it, but it just comes back! Oh, well, I guess it's a good old English name. Maybe I'll adopt it ;-)

Twilight said...

Sackerson ~ Thanks - but that link didn't get me there either. Anyway, I kind of picked it apart and found the blog involved, then I looked for the date of the post as mentioned in your link and... bingo! Found it! LOL! Good ol' Mr Natural! :)

Twilight said...

:) ~ Many thanks for those recommendations. I will keep a note of them and will certainly ask the doctor about them on my next visit. I think I've seen Lyrica advertised on the TV. :)

Twilight said...

John Smith better known as RJ Adams ~ Thank you, RJ. Yes, agreed about Johnson and Co, I reckon that Boris is even worse than Donald Trump.

So pleased to know that your father is recovering - what a trooper eh!