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Recent Medical Experience: Over medicated?
Old 10-08-2009, 01:03 PM   #1
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Recent Medical Experience: Over medicated?

Recently I went to California to visit family. They have a large place, and while I was helping around the shed in the back yard, I inadvertently cut my finger against a piece of glass and required stitches.

As much as I wanted to avoid this (‘What a royal waste of time’ I said to myself…) I couldn’t deny the fact that my finger needed attention.

After several hours in an urgent care facility, I left after paying $400 out of pocket, had 6 stitches in my finger, a removable aluminum finger splint ($31), and a script for 12 Vicodin with one renewal of the script for 12 more.

What shocked me the most was the $400 required upon receipt of treatment and the prescription for the 12 Vicodin with a renewal for 12 additional ones. More than twice I said that I’d be fine with using Ibuprofen or Tylenol, but the doc pressed the prescription.

I never did get the script filled and only used Ibuprofen that evening and the next day, but I couldn’t get over the idea that the doc thought it was going to take 24 Vicodin to relieve me of pain.

To my way of thinking, if this is normal procedure, it’s no wonder why people are overmedicated and the medicine cabinets are full of prescription drugs for kids to find… Am I alone in this thinking?

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Old 10-08-2009, 01:07 PM   #2
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Vicodin for 6 STITCHES!!! Yowza! I second your opinion! Maybe if you can't feel anything you will crash into something else sharp and need MORE stitches - and anther $400 visit!
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Old 10-08-2009, 01:36 PM   #3
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Seems atypical. Maybe urgent care is different from my family doc, but he is very stingy with the opiate derivative pain meds (or others that could cause a dependency). Most docs seem to be conservative and not want to prescribe due to risk of a painkiller dependency developing. I went in with some killer back pain and spasms one time, and was told to take some ibuprofen, rotate between ice and heat, and do some stretches. I was quite literally bed-ridden for a day due to the pain, yet received nothing in the form of a real pain meds rx from the doc.
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Old 10-08-2009, 02:12 PM   #4
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Sorry you cut your finger so badly!

Yes, it does sound like the doctor over-prescribed pain medication, unless he had some reason to think it would hurt a lot more later than it did. I guess it is better to have the prescription than not, just in case. You can always burn it if unneeded.
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Old 10-08-2009, 02:30 PM   #5
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So what's the street value of vicodin?

Did they make you pay before they stitched you up?
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:22 PM   #6
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So what's the street value of vicodin?
Yeah, I was thinking maybe the dr. felt bad about charging $400 for some stitches so he figured 24 vic's sold on the street could offset some of the cost.
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:44 PM   #7
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Maybe a script for maryjane would have been mo betta seeing as how you out here in Californy.
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:59 PM   #8
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So what's the street value of vicodin? Did they make you pay before they stitched you up?
When I first arrived, they wanted $150 before they would let anyone see me. My sister, who accompanied me, started to razz them a bit and asked pointed questions which made them glance sideways at each other. So I was allowed to go in to the doc, and then pay afterwards... $200 cash, and $200 on my charge card. OUCH.

The doc seemed very gentle, professional and explained everything he was going to do, and how it should feel, and so on. Then he began to open up personally about how he sees a lot of workman comp claims and how - you know - those rotten people on the other side of the desk follow his patients around to be sure they aren't really on a bowling team if they are claiming a back injury and stuff like that.

My sister, once again, bless her heart - can't keep her mouth shut if there's a good tangle to be had - quietly explained that she worked for management for years and it was her job to actually send those nasty people out to find the back-injury-bowling-team-members ... !!! There were lots of false claims etc. etc.

Cripes. I'm thinking 'oh great, sister... he's stitching me right now, could you lay back a bit?'

The doc zipped up after that... but he did a good job on the stitches I think.

I was so shocked about the prescription for the Vicodin (I figured it would be like 4 or 5 max, and I about peed my pants when I found out it was for 12 and 12 more...!) that I never thought to sell them to cover my costs. Very practical of you, Martha! oops! did I say that?

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Old 10-08-2009, 04:01 PM   #9
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I once caught my finger in a machine and required a few stitches for a small but gruesome looking wound - left a nice scar - treated as an outpatient through an emergency room. Another time I seriously broke multiple bones in my leg and was admitted for almost a week in the hospital. Both times I left with prescriptions for oxycotin (sp?) and strong admonitions from the doctors to "not be stupid about pain" they claimed people heal better and faster when they get adequate pain medication and seemed eager to prescribe as much as I "needed" I always throught it interesting to get the same pain prescription for such different injuries.

Maybe I'm stubborn or scared. In both cases I made do with over the counter pain relief and counted myself lucky that I didn't need to use the heavy duty stuff - nor took the risk of enjoying the heavy duty stuff too much. I guess that makes me officially "stupid" but I think I'm fine and glad not to have to wean myself away from an accidental additiction.
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Old 10-08-2009, 05:10 PM   #10
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Post-injury pain can be highly variable, with some patients barely noticing any discomfort, to others who have a day or two of serious pain including the kind that throbs and keeps you up at night. It depends on the nerves in the area, the injury, and the patient's pain tolerance. Anticipating this is not unreasonable.

While vicodin is not my choice as a narcotic pain pill, it may not have been unreasonable to give an oral narcotic pain reliever in small quantities, to be used if your OTC pain med isn't up to the task. Invariably, the pain seems to peak at 3 am when everything is closed.

Sounds like you got technically good care (perhaps with suboptimal communication), wisely chose not to escalate the pain regimen because you didn't need it, and are in sticker shock.

Yup, pretty much par for the course in this chaotic and sometimes disastrous health care system we endure. Imagine how much worse it would be if you couldn't afford the admittedly high cost and had to go to your local city hospital emergency room.

Speedy recovery.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:56 PM   #11
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Like Martha and Fuego, I too thought that you could sell those pills to cover the dr.'s cost (although getting the prescription filled probably costs a pretty penny).

I remember a commercial for Tylenol several years ago that featured a woman who had just given birth saying in delight, "My doctor recommended Tylenol!" for her postpartum pain. For some reason it made me chuckle.
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:20 PM   #12
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A few years ago at work, I sliced a gash on my right knee...but only down to the cartilage. I grabbed a towel to hold on it, and had the boss drive me to my Doc's office about a mile away. I hobbled in and told the receptionist that I thought I might need a few stitches. Doc came in, took a look, and agreed with my diagnosis. So he gathered up his 'sewing kit', asked if I wanted a shot to deaden the area....."um, nah, just stitch it up". So he cleaned it up a bit, put in 6 stitches, and told me to take a couple of Tylenol if I needed it (I didn't).

He knows that I have a very high pain tolerance, and that I probably wouldn't take any pain-killers even if he did give them to me, so he didn't offer...and I didn't ask. He only writes prescriptions when they're actually needed, and for the lowest possible dosage....he's definitely not a pill pusher!!! (BTW, my dentist is the same way.)
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:46 PM   #13
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A nurse once hinted to fill the prescription and save it for the next disaster when medical assistance may not be available.
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:23 AM   #14
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I was so shocked about the prescription for the Vicodin... that I never thought to sell them to cover my costs. Very practical of you, Martha! oops! did I say that?
So should I send you a check, or do you take PayPal?

I wonder if anyone's done any serious clinical study of Vicodin's shelf life...
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Old 10-09-2009, 08:02 AM   #15
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I would have filled the script and then made him my new primary care physician.
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Old 10-09-2009, 10:52 AM   #16
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So should I send you a check, or do you take PayPal?

I wonder if anyone's done any serious clinical study of Vicodin's shelf life...
A very fast and sloppy google says about 2 years from manufacture date.

I bet if you refrigerate it there would be wiggle-room.

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Old 10-09-2009, 11:02 AM   #17
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I just don't get the joy in Oxycontin. Maybe I haven't taken them in the approved recreation manner - crush and smoke tablets? scrape off coating and risk death? take 6 times the recommended dose? rinse down with 4 oz vodka? Weird. Acid, mushrooms, sassafras oil, dexedrine, hash oil, booze - sure, but prescription pain killers?
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:00 PM   #18
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:33 PM   #19
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:40 PM   #20
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I was told by my internist and a pharmacist that it's federally illegal to put refills on a controlled substance Rx.

My wife and I are two totally different people when it comes to pain. As a diabetic, I don't feel pain that normal people would and feel pain that probably isn't there. I have a medium to hight threshold for actual pain but and scared to death that the tinyest thing will hurt. My wife, on the other hand, watches the blood taker person stick her and dig the needle around trying to find the vein. Doesn't bother her at all. When I get a blood test you'd think I was about to die but then, after the event, they rarely even hurt at all.

Why, I'm on some Percocets right now thanks to phantom nerve pains in one of my feet due to diabetic neuropathy. I have been taking Percocets for at least 15 years, as needed (not regularly), for the severe pains in my feet that aren't really there.

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