Chronic Pain Patients

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I find dealing with chronic pain patients a pain in the neck. It is not that I don’t medicate them as ordered or report their responses as is appropriate. I call their doctors with their requests for more pain medication, more sedative hypnotics, more Benadryl, more sedating anti-emetics. Of course, not all patients suffering from chronic pain behave this way. But many do. I try to be professional and keep my opinions to myself, but I have no empathy for them. I believe they have pain. I don’t believe it is as severe as they claim. And so many of their behaviors are med seeking. It is very hard to separate. I have stated that our one to ten pain scale works for them, except that their pain is one OR ten. They are either in pain or not, which most often means they are sedated and sleeping. It often seems to me that they would be happiest on a Diprivan drip and vented…..I know. That is not nice. One of the things that make it hard to cope with, is that working a surgery floor, you see so many people that have had HUGE surgeries and ought to be writhing in pain, such as the lap chole with chronic pain is flapping around, writhing, crying out and acting out like a child. The elderly gent that has had a diverting colostomy because of a huge abscess on his backside is quietly asking for pain meds ever four hours. The vaginal hysterectomy with chronic pain is yelling and all over the bed. I KNOW that their pain is what they say it is, I get it. But it makes me feel so judgemental and non-sympathetic towards chronic pain patients. I probably need more education to help alleviate this feeling. It would not change my treatment, but it could change my attitude.

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