Sunday, May 6, 2012


DH got a certified letter in the mail yesterday.  It was from our health insurance provider, and stated that since he had had at least 10 visits to the emergency room at two or more hospitals, and had 15 prescriptions filled for narcotics (Percocet), they are placing him on restriction.  Basically, what this means is that he is ONLY allowed to go to one specific doctor and/or his psychiatrist.  Nobody else.  And any time he requires Emergency Room services outside of our own county hospital, there will be a team determination as to whether those services were a true emergency.  If DH uses a different Dr., other than his "one and only", or a different psychiatrist, or uses an Emergency Room when it is determined that it was probably not a life-and-death emergency, the bills will not be paid by our health insurance.

I had heard of this happening, but this Percocet thing had been going on so long, I figured nobody cared.  Apparently they do. 

DH was embarrassed.  According to him, he has not been in the E.R. or received Percocet since his Pdoc warned him in early February that being addicted to Percocet could affect his disability case.  I don't know if that's true or not.  I do know that there seem to be a lot less complaints about back pain and definitely a lot less trips to the E.R. 

In DH's defense, I believe that the "more than one hospital" was probably because DH's job was in a different county than ours, and not necessarily because he was "drug seeking" (going to a different hospital because he had already gotten Percocet from our hospital).  And he was always getting sent from work to the E.R. for high blood pressure, high blood sugar, back pain, whatever.  His work did not take chances.  If they thought something could possibly be wrong, they sent him to the E.R.  And I understand that.  I also understand that he believes that he functions better and has more initiative when he takes Percocet.  Actually, it seems that way to me, too.  But to me, really, that just says that maybe there's something else out there that could make things better (and it isn't a narcotic!). 

I'm relieved.  When I know there is Percocet in the house, I get very anxious.  I end up being the Percocet police, keeping the Percocet under lock and key, and doling it out one at a time according to the instructions on the bottle.  If I just left the bottle for DH to use "as needed", he would (and actually has) take much more than the prescribed dose--once he took an entire bottle of 60 pills in 2 days--I don't know how he survived. And even though the "you might not get your disability if you keep this up" is a big incentive not to do that any more, I know addiction can be more powerful than that.  So it's nice to have a backup.   


Miz Kizzle said...

I'm surprised it took them this long to find out about the Percocet. Self-medicating is frequently part of the rollicking bipolar funfest.
Early February was three months ago. Does your DH think that's a long time to go without a visit to the ER?

Ilovecats said...

A person who started out with back pain doesn't have to have bipolar to get hooked on Percocet. My grandmother and first husband had no mental illnesses, but both had severe, chronic pain, from verifiable health problems, and got hooked on opioids. My first husband went inpatient to successfully kick his addiction, but he still had to use the stuff. My grandma had to do it on her own.

So it's not necessarily fair or accurate to blame Percocet addiction on bipolar disorder. I have bipolar, and the only time I ever abused anything was alcohol, many years ago, because prozac made me severely manic, and later, antipsychotics caused severe akathisia, which is hell on earth (in this case, the use of alcohol went up but was not alcohol abuse, just average drinking, which is not average for me). So the drinking was a side effect of medication, not that anyone figured that out at the time. Before that, and now, I was always a tea totaller. Of course the heavy drinking was my fault, at the time.
I never had a chance to thank the writer of this blog for the link to Frugal Girls. I have been enjoying the heck out of that blog! Lots of free Ebooks.

Miss Kitty said...

OMG, Carol. 60 pills in two days? That sounds similar to what the receptionist at my old job did when her bipolar took a turn for the worse: she took 30 days' worth of Ambien in 72 hours. It was a nightmare for her as well as for those of us who worked with her and didn't know what was going on.

Ilovecats has a point: Anyone, bipolar or not, can get hooked on Percocet. It's potent stuff. I've taken it a couple times for pain, and while it did relieve the pain of my cat bites last summer, one tablet wiped me out for at least a day. I was happy not to like the pain-free feeling that much (if that makes any sense).

Best of luck. AS always, we're rooting for you all here at the Happy Kitten Cottage.

Anonymous said...

"once he took an entire bottle of 60 pills in 2 days"

shouldn't say things like this in public if you really think he still has a ghost of a chance with disability.

that is suicidal behavior - pure and simple.

Miz Kizzle said...

If you take the time to carefully read my initial comment you will see that I did not "blame" his Percocet addiction on the fact that he has bipolar disorder; I merely noted that self-medicating is not uncommon among that particular population.