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Girlfriend uncomfortable with my prescription medication use

I am on several very strong, very addictive pain killers. I also happen to be in stupendous amounts of pain, owing in part to cancer (that I beat, but am still feeling the effects of) and also to several serious injuries I've sustained, as well as some on going degenerative back problems. My doctors and I have worked very hard to find what works for me, and to monitor their effects on my body. I have five pain levels, and five different courses of treatment that my doctors and I have figured out. Level 1 involves Vicodin, all the way up to level 5, which actually calls for injections of some seriously powerful stuff and an immediate call to 911.

Also, keep in mind that I DONT LIKE taking them. I'm very functional when I'm at levels 1 and 2, I start getting slow at level 3, and I get really loopy and out of it at 4 and 5. I'm usually at a 0 or a 1. 2 and 3 aren't uncommon. 4's have only happened 9 times in two years, and I've only gotten to 5 twice.

My girlfriend HATES that I take them, regardless of the fact that I need them, and they're legally prescribed. I didn't know how much until last night, when she took my bottle of pills and tossed them in the trash, and said they were my "security blanket" and I didn't really need them.

How do I handle this? We've been going out for almost 2 years. It hasn't been a honeymoon, but we have more good times then bad. My thought was to take her with me to my doctors, so she can hear from him (or her, if I take her to my pain management doctor) just what is going on with me, and why we have this program set up the way we do. She knows about my health issues, but she doesn't seem to believe that I'm still in pain I guess.

Any advice?
Old 09-08-2010, 09:08 PM endscape is offline  
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Only you can decide that.

One one hand,you might be right, you need them.

On the other hand, you say you've been together for 2 years. She's been with you for that long, I have a hard time believing she isn't intimate about your condition. She ought to be used to and see your need... So the only explanation is she sees the addiction and your denial, and stretched justifications. Sees you going to the painkillers for life's other problems, or something, etc.

Forum can't help you here. IMHO. I would go to other IRL friends that know you well, but keep your mind open and prepared for a potential eye opening experience.

Unfortunately, your doctor doesn't see you day in and day out. Their views can have the wool pulled over them easily, intentionally or unintentionally.
Old 09-08-2010, 10:59 PM Menel is offline  
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Part of me wants to side with you and just accept that the pain you go through permits the use of medication to cope, and then part of me wants to side with her and say that you're using them as a crutch.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:23 PM cokezeroholic is offline  
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Originally Posted by endscape View Post
How do I handle this? We've been going out for almost 2 years. It hasn't been a honeymoon, but we have more good times then bad.
this for me is a small warning signal that your relationship is pretty shit.
My thought was to take her with me to my doctors, so she can hear from him (or her, if I take her to my pain management doctor) just what is going on with me, and why we have this program set up the way we do. She knows about my health issues, but she doesn't seem to believe that I'm still in pain I guess.
This is what i'd do, take her to the doctor with you.
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:42 AM Bukkakeboy is offline  
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Pain is not an easy thing to explain or understand. I had a spinal injury, and my wife was very accommodating but she never really understood what it was like and I couldn't explain well until the pain and drug addledness went away. There's nothing visibly wrong with you and most people think you can just "suck it up", but they have no idea how real pain, especially nerve pain if you're suffering from that too, can consume you. My issue wasn't anything as severe as yours, I was just on Vicodin or Percoset (and some hardcore shit in the hospital for a day after surgery), but it took me out of my life for two months. It at least gives me a perspective.

I would say Issue 1: be absolutely confident you really need all this shit. It sounds like you do, and you're not just trying to hide in a warm opiate blanket. But think about it during some pain-free (and I mean real pain free, not "the drugs are knocking out the pain") moments, if you have any. I don't think this is really a problem for you, sounds like you've covered all the bases, but it's always an issue with these drugs.

Related: do you suffer from any depression related to the pain? I know I did, was the biggest thing that affected my relationship.

Issue 2: you have to find a way to tell her that pain is real and significant, how it affects your quality of life, and what it does to your mindset. The pain killers are medicine, not happy-fun pills, and she should understand that. If you're truly in pain, you shouldn't really even be capable of getting high on the shit, which may help your argument. Some people are just irrationally anti-medication, especially opiates.

Issue 3: It is not easy to live with someone on pain killers, especially long term. Maybe she buys into your problems, but is just having a hard time living with your myriad medical problems. It's not noble, but it's reality. Pain is a particularly hard thing to deal with in a SO, since it's so ephemeral. She may not be strong enough to deal with it, your relationship may not be strong enough.

Bringing her in to the doctor may help. Get them to explain the long-term picture, then at home, talk to her about if she can see herself really supporting you and the relationship through these issues. You aren't married or anything, so you need to do this sort of relationship introspection before deciding to continue the relationship.
Old 09-09-2010, 07:29 AM Gibonius is offline  
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Tell your GF to stop watching house.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:36 AM Lurker is offline  
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as someone who's explored many different options regarding narcotic and non narcotic long term pain options

It's hard to manage pills long term, the only way to do it is if you truly have pain.

I was opiates for about a year straight, and although they helped, the downsides of being on opiates all the time is what got to me.

I stopped and now smoke marijuana for my pain, along with the use of acetominophen and nsaids.not to say I don't have the occasional day or week where it'll be out of control and i'll pop a perkie or two (it's manageable now days)

either way, people who don't have pain don't understand. They don't understand what it's like to look at every day and think "is it gonna be a good day"

sure we all love that warm opiate blanket, a comforting thought in a time of need, but that's all they see. The pleasure of being without pain. I try to convince myself that i'm actually happy pain free and it's not just the opiates talking but if I can't convince myself, how will I convince my spouse.

Women hate that shit, but she will either accept it or you'll find a woman who does.
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:52 AM SmashingPumpkins is offline  
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Originally Posted by SmashingPumpkins View Post
sure we all love that warm opiate blanket,
Did you happen to use that phrase because I did, or is this an interesting coincidence? Either way, shows how people who have dealt with pain see these things.
Old 09-09-2010, 12:31 PM Gibonius is offline  
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Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post
Did you happen to use that phrase because I did, or is this an interesting coincidence? Either way, shows how people who have dealt with pain see these things.

that's what it is.

a comforting constant in a world where you never know what the next day will bring.

I try not to wonder if tomorrow is going to be a good or bad day.

edit: add in the "warm blanket" feeling you get with opiates and it fits.
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Old 09-09-2010, 01:13 PM SmashingPumpkins is offline  
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your girlfriend acts like a child. she threw away your pain pills? throw away her makeup and see how that goes.

if you feel like continuing your relationship with her then clearly you need to get her to understand. if the doctor visit doesn't do it I don't know.
Old 09-09-2010, 02:24 PM BigFuzzyArchon is offline  
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While I understand your predicament (or don't, because I don't know what serious pain is like), it sounds like your girlfriend cares about you a great deal and you should recognize that. On the other hand it sounds like she doesn't understand the severity of your health issues fully. I agree with you, take her with you to the doctor and have him/her explain why you need it and ensure her that you are taking your doses correctly. If that doesn't sink in, then maybe it's time to evaluate the relationship.

I'm hoping that there aren't two sides to this story - Pain killers are indeed very addictive and this is what she's probably worried about. If she threw them away, then she's either crazy or she has perceived that you are developing an addiction. Have your doctors ever discussed a plan for lessening the dosage or looking at other methods of treatment, like surgery for your back? Is it an uncorrectable degenerative problem? I'm no MD but pain is an effect, not a cause, and I wouldn't want to be doped up on Vicodin for the rest of my life.
Old 09-09-2010, 02:36 PM VoodoochildBC is offline  
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I'm going to take a step back and say that someone who is dealing with as much pain, and ongoing suffering could really use some understanding and unconditional love around. She probably tossed the pills because she thinks its best for you, but if your doctors are telling you otherwise .. your gf is being a retard.

I'm going out on a limb and guessing that her tossing the pills is a sign of the stress she's feeling on the relationship. This may be from being with you throughout all of this treatment, pills, pain, the good the bad but mainly the grey in between. She is probably stressed, tired and seeing you become more dependent on medication is pushing her over the edge.

I think the real question is what is going on in the relationship, not .. how to deal with your gf tossing some medication. You should sit down and talk with her about this, and be honest because your happiness is your health and you health is whats most important to you right now.

As much as I am usually opposed to these, I would think that a 'break' is what your relationship needs. Give you some time to deal with you, sort out some things and give her time to step back and rationally think about what matters to her. Your medical condition is putting a ton of strain on your relationship, the pills are a crutch and lastly the trigger that sent her over the edge.
Old 09-09-2010, 02:59 PM theNoid is offline  
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Don't respond to me, I can't read your posts :(
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Its easy for people to belittle the illness of others because they feel fine so therefore the other person really must feel fine. Then again, opiates do cause incompetence if you are using them daily. Not sure what to tell you, I used to be a pill junkie for years so my advice isnt that good.
Old 09-09-2010, 03:02 PM huxley is offline  
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That's "Doctor Vendetta" to you
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God damn dude. I can't imagine having to deal with that sort of pain. Many in this thread said what I feel, that she just can't understand the actual severity of the situation. I would take her to your doctor next time, she's most likely under the media impression of addiction.
Old 09-09-2010, 05:14 PM Vendetta is offline  
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Exactly - pain isn't something we can feel from you, only you can determine what you need. When I had plastc surgery and had some ocycoodone I was in happy land - vicodin must be ridiculous and that's only your Level 1. There are doctors who hand out prescriptions like candy, so if you want to prove it - go to a different doctor and take her with you if you want. Again, thats only if you want to prove it to her. Since you're a cancer survivor I would call her a dumb ass for not sympathizing.
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:36 PM s0me0nesmind1 is offline  
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