When a Recovering Addict and Ex-Con Needs Medical Help
I have been sick lately. It turns out I have Chronic Neurological Lyme disease that is raising all kinds of hell with me. I have been really pretty damn sick with this, and I have been in pain and stressed out. I have made the rounds to quite a few doctors and I have made a grim discovery. When you are a person that looks a certain way, when you are a person who has a certain history, when you are a person who is open and forthright with doctors about things you have experienced in life – you are pretty much screwed when it comes to compassionate health care.
In the past two months or so I have been turned away from numerous doctors because of prior drug issues I had. I feel I cannot get a doctor to look past my tattoos and see me as a person. I am actually pretty fortunate that I got myself signed up for some health insurance this year, so at least I have been able to get in to see doctors in the first place. I am angry though that they think any mention of pain or anxiety is me “drug-seeking”… it’s not. It’s me having pain or anxiety. Where does the line get drawn between them being cautious and them being cruel and uncaring?
This really makes me think about the folks who have even less of a support system than I do. The mentally ill and addicted who have become homeless. How in the HELL do they get any level of health care if they encounter illness or injury? How about those that are still actively living addicted lifestyles, but somehow they just get sick. Like an illness that is unrelated to their addiction issues. Are they actually considered unworthy of care and compassion because they are addicted, or mentally ill, or both? I already knew the homeless had it rough. But my experience over the past couple months with doctors has really been eye opening for me. If an addict has gotten clean and then gets sick and needs help, and can’t get it anywhere, doesn’t it seem pretty likely they could relapse simply out of lack of options? Hell yah, it does. And it sucks.
I will personally be OK one way or the other. Because I need to be there for my family, and because I won’t let this shit get me down. But it has been very discouraging to see how I’ve been treated, and to realize I am pigeonholed into this role due to mistakes I made going on ten years ago. I thought one of the rules of doctoring was “do no harm”?
11 thoughts on “When a Recovering Addict and Ex-Con Needs Medical Help”
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Oh Magnum. Iâ€™m so sorry youâ€™ve been treated this way. Thereâ€™s just NOT enough grace and compassion in this world. Iâ€™ve been gone a while. Busy raising my 5 year old. Working. My son who was locked up is doing great. My older son fell down the meth road. He just transferred from county to Middleton this past Friday. Showed up on site today and on jpay. PRD 4/19. Here I go again. And my momma died. Suddenly, shockingly, here one minute and gone the next on 12/22. The deputies were real nice to bring my son to her viewing. I was soooo thankful he didnâ€™t catch chain that day. Itâ€™s been rough. Heâ€™s got a strong resolve to get home and stay clean. Really did him in losing his mawmaw and now just wants to keep his promise to her and make her proud. Some times life is just hard. Iâ€™ve meant to check in on you several times because I think you are amazing and you were such a help to me last time I was on this road. Iâ€™m praying you get to feeling better and can find a good doctor with some compassion.
Hey Rose, I am so sorry to hear about your momma. You are right – life is tough. Real tough at times. I am also sorry to hear about your incarcerated son. I wish he would have avoided that path. I’ve had a tough year or so, but things are looking up. I am clean and sober, and trying hard to make everything work. I think my health is improving too. It’s going to take a minute, but I see light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for checking in. Like you, life’s been keeping me busy and I haven’t been on here so much. I need to do some writing though. Glad to hear from you Rose, take care and hang in there. Peace ~ Magnum
Hi, Magnum. You are absolutely right about how they treat people with a past. My father(God Rest His Soul) was an alcoholic and he used drugs in his past. He come up with Hep C Diabetes and some other health issues. Well since he has Hep C and it had taken a tole on his liver, he needed a transplant. Well no matter that he didn’t drink anymore (if not only because it made him to sick) he was put on and taken off the damn transplant list so many times, because a nurse would think she smelt alcohol on him, which was not the case. And ultimately one of those times, he ended up in Hospice, this is where I took care of him for the last two months of his life. He passed away October of 2005. Only 5 years after getting to meet my father, because he looked rough with all him biker tatts and he had a history, someone decided that it was ok to just let him die! This was not Ok and no one should be treated this way!
Keep at it. You are doing a good job. Just keep up the good work. People believe in you.