On Living with Acute Chronic Pain: Please Don’t Treat Me Like a Drug Addict!

 A Note on Living with Acute Chronic Pain - Kate the (Almost) Great

This is a look into the chronic pain and sadness of RA told by blogger and author Kate Mitchell.

It’s 9:41 on a Wednesday and I have been trying to sleep for almost 2 hours. My body has been sluggish and weak all day – well, more than normal, at least – and I need lots of sleep. Preferably 10-13 hours. But once I try to actually go to sleep, I can’t.

I’m not dealing with sleep issues, I’m dealing with pain. I only have one more narcotic pain pill left because the prescription I tried to fill earlier in the week had expired. And that’s because we had a mix up at the doctor’s office and they gave me an old script that I never filled. So tomorrow I’ll trek back across the city to get my script, go back to my local CVS, and hope that the new pharmacy interns don’t treat me like a drug addict.

woman-medicine-pill2That’s nothing against that, really. My local pharmacy has 2 full-time pharmacists (they have their pharm. docs), some full-time techs, and the rest are pharmacy students interning. The interns recently changed over for the summer semester and they don’t know me yet. The rest know me. They know that I take 25 pills a day and fill a legal (and needed ) opioid prescription every month.

The interns are trying to combine what they’ve learned in their classes, what the law tells them, what they’ve heard about people filling narcotics, and their brand new practical experience. They don’t know yet that I’m not a drug addict – I’m a patient with a highly active and severe case of seronegative rheumatoid arthritis who is waiting for the trimester’s chemotherapy to kick in.

I have arthritis in 58 joints and it’s currently running wild while I wait for last week’s chemo to kick in. It won’t for another 2-3 weeks, so in the meantime, I’m just trying to get by every day as much as I can. I still haven’t completely recovered from my chemo yet – my appetite hasn’t returned and I’ve been overly exhausted for 6 days. Today was my first day back for work. The absolute last thing I want while dealing with all of this is to be treated like a drug addict looking for their next high.

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Fenway ParkThis post originally appeared here and is reposted with permission.

Kate Mitchell is 23 year-old and lives with rheumatoid arthritis. She taught 9th grade English for a year and is working on her second book. She is an author, arthritis patient advocate, and Boston Red Sox fan. Follow her on Twitter: @kmitchellauthor.

2 thoughts on “On Living with Acute Chronic Pain: Please Don’t Treat Me Like a Drug Addict!

  1. I was told my knee pain an it going out on me was due to arthritis.After a year I was called to the Ortho Clinic.There I had x-rays an was requested to try physio for 3 months.I did but made no headway.Back to the Ortho clinic.I was given a cortisone injection in my left hip due to severe groin pain which they felt was coming from the arthritis on my sign causing a herniated display. I saw a Ortho surgeon an told I need surgery on my right knee.At that time I was asked if I have pain behind the knee to which I replied yes.Was told it’s due to arthritis there also at the time pain was minimal. Now 2 months later it has been getting progressively worse to the point where I can’t lift my right leg.Went to Family Doctor an was told it’s due to a Bakers Cyst.All I can do is to try to keep moving an do what I can when I can.Best wishes too e eryone else suffering Arthritis.


    1. I went to a pain clinic and they prescribed 60mg cymbalta every morning. I take a Benadryl for sleep if needed. This is an over the counter medicine. I also take a Motrin type medicine called sulandic. If I have burning pain I take a flexeril and rest. I take a flexeril every night. I have tried most of the biologics but Orencia seems to be the best. An infusion every month with methotrexate tabs. I hope this was some benefit to you. I know we are all different. I have a psychiatrist that i talk to about things and I’m on Wellbutrin for depression which helps. You really need a professional to talk to once your diagnosed with RA. It’s worth your time and insurance pays


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