HMO Hitmen: The Dehumanization of Human Services

I re-blogged this post a few hours ago from one of my favorite sites, takingthemaskoff . This gentleman works in the mental health field and is familiar with the consequences of addictions – first hand – and from both ends of the spectrum.

Being a chronic pain sufferer myself, I was on the Fentanyl patch for over two and a half years after coming out of stroke rehab. I was always afraid of addiction, so I was careful about changing my patch; in fact, I would change it LATER than I was supposed to thinking it would help. Then I noticed I would start getting irritable and moody around the third day. At first I thought it was just my depression kicking in again, but then I realized that my body was craving more of the Fentanyl.

I wasn’t having it, so I stopped – cold turkey over the Thanksgiving holiday. Being an EMT before my bleed, I knew what to expect, so I monitored myself and knew who to call if I couldn’t handle it. It was rough going to say the least. But I got through it, and when I went to my rehab doctor a few weeks later, I told him what I’d done. I expressed my desire to stop seeing my pain management doctor and find alternative methods of pain management. Although he wasn’t fond of how I chose to get off the patch, he understood why.

He then prescribed me a low dose of a patch called Butrans. It’s changed weekly, but unfortunately very expensive…even with insurance. The cost for me skyrocketed from December to January because of the new year and changes with my pharmacy policy. Whereas 4 patches of Butrans (a month supply) runs me $100, a month supply of Fentanyl (10 patches) cost me only $5.00!!

This is why I can so closely relate to this post. It shows how we are not considered living, breathing, and suffering individuals by these big corporations — we are just dollar signs. Now I know why it’s just easier to stay on prescription narcotics – they’re cheap and probably the only thing that many can afford. I’m doing everything in my power to find other alternative forms of pain management including meditation and increased exercise. I’m also going to see if seeing a chiropractor for my back and neck problems would help.

I value takingthemaskoff‘s opinions, his dedication, the time he puts into research, his care, compassion, and empathy for others. This post is a must read. Feel free to help spread the word, and I would encourage anyone with pain management, mental health, or addiction issues to visit and follow his blog.

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About My Miracle Life

I'm a writer, blogger, avid reader, book reviewer, sub-arachnoid hemorrhage and stroke survivor, moving forward in my recovery and trying to advocate for stroke and brain hemorrhage awareness and prevention. I'm also slowly working towards independence, driving, my first novel, a memoir and a series of short stories. I've been lucky to have a very small network of close friends to guide me; I've been even luckier to have found an online 'family' of sorts to help me through the rough times.
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8 Responses to HMO Hitmen: The Dehumanization of Human Services

  1. I’ve been through some crazy stuff myself, at the hands of medical professionals. It took many years to get over “their” healthcare. I wasn’t told I’d develop addictions to the prescribed medications. ‘Benadryl’ was a God-send. The chiropractor I see is the only one I trust.

    I wish you well, Eva, i more ways then one. thank for the post from, “taking off the mask” – an incredible, sad read…but necessary! (smile)

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    • Thanks for the kind words Dixie, they mean a lot. I’m very in tune with what goes on with my body. The fact that I was an EMT before I got sick probably plays a major role in that also. While I don’t deny I need pain meds, I don’t want large doses shoved into my body either. I’ll try working out the kinks with my rehabilitation doctor. Hopefully I won’t go back to my pain management doctor anymore. Keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for the visit and have a great night! Hugs to you. Eva

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  2. I hope you can find a solution for your pain. That is a sad story about Suzie. Drugs are nothing to play with. They can take over your personality and end your life way too soon.

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  3. LadyJai says:

    addiction and dependency are two very different things. One is a psychological issue, the other is biological. I do believe that most addicts have both of these problems. I also believe that some people do have an “addictive personality”

    Both my husband and I just don’t have that addictive quality. We’ve tried smoking and drinking and never got “hooked.” However, he’s been dependent on medication for his pain for more than a decade. He was on fentanyl patches for, I don’t know, 3 or 5 years. Plus, he was on Morphine IR. He has a VERY high tolerance to opiates, where they don’t last but 20 minutes with him. Last year, he weighed the benefits against the side-effects and found that it wasn’t worth it. Yes, he’s come off his meds cold turkey, as well. I was there with him the whole way. I feel for both of you. It’s not pleasant at all. Even for the one watching.

    I totally agree that the big pharmacies, big insurance companies, big corporations all remove humanity from all their work. It’s all about the bottom line. Take, for example, I was prescribed Medication A. I go to Walmart to have it filled. My insurance Co-pay was $150/month. But to pay for it outright through Walmart, with no insurance, it was $9/month. How the hell? And for things that my husband needs and can’t get through the VA, we have to pay out of pocket. Most of the time he gets one or two procedures/medications and then they decide that it’s too expensive. This also happened first with the Fentanyl Lozenges and then the patches. He got them for $10/month each and then a few months later, they bumped them up a tier and then another until they were completely removed from the formulary unless he was dying of cancer.

    So yeah, I completely understand this post.
    I do hope things get better. Each breath is a new start! ❤
    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    Caring for My Veteran

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    • You’re so right, Jamie and that’s why I never wanted the Fentanyl patch in the first place. I was already on Cymbalta 90mg for the neuropathy and Baclofen for muscle relaxing; I wanted something for the days when the pain was unbearable. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but not for opiates. I don’t like the way they make me feel. I couldn’t understand why he felt I needed a 24/7 patch. I would’ve been content with pills that I could take when the pain was over the top.

      I’d been on it since I came out of inpatient rehab (about 2.5 years maybe before I took myself off). The very thing I didn’t want happening, happened. My body built a tolerance to the Fentanyl and it didn’t cut it for those really bad days anymore. So I did what I had to do. This new med is not under my pharmacy insurance’s formulary either I just found out by mail; they filled it as a temporary script. I have to call my doctor and them to find an alternative because Butrans patent doesn’t expire until December, so there’s no generic.

      You of all people I knew would understand, and thanks for responding. Thank goodness I checked my spam box; all your comments were in there and I have no idea why. Yours are the only ones that get filtered there out of all my blogging friends. I have to figure out how to fix that.

      Much love to you; you’re never far from my thoughts. Hope you guys are doing better and hanging tough. Hugs. Eva

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  4. lexacain says:

    I really appreciate the fact that you realized what was happening with your pain med and changed to another. Not fair that it’s so much more expensive. I don’t think I’d have the strength to do what you did. You’re an amazing person. I hope you find less expensive forms of treatment and feel better.

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  5. LadyJai says:

    I hate how your website eats all my comments. There have been quite a few poats I’ve commented on, lengthy comments, but they always disappear. I’m trying this one from my phone to see it it takes. All others were done either through IE or Chrome on my computer. Here’s hoping.
    Jamie Dement ( LadyJai )
    http://caringforaveteran.wordpress.com

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