Drug Shortages

I don’t often write about my own pain, I guess because it is such a part of my everyday life, I try not to dwell on it. I also don’t remember the last pain-free day that I have had, but it has been years. So for me to cope with each day, I take a variety of medications but even then it is still difficult, the pain is never completely gone. As I sit here typing my neck muscles and the muscles between my shoulder blades are in spasm. I have taken my breakthrough meds and have had heat on my neck and back all night to no avail. The worst thing though, is I only have a few pills left to control the muscles spasms that are a constant problem throughout my body.

Drug shortages became a problem in Canada a few years ago for various different reasons. To try to inform the public of this problem the Canadian government set up a website listing the various shortages but this is a voluntary list. Since it is voluntary, some companies do not list the shortage, thus both doctors and pharmacies have no idea if the prescription they are writing/filling is in stock. So when I went to renew my muscle relaxant, the pharmacy was only able to fill a quarter of the prescription. The pharmacist was great, literally phoning all the pharmacies in Hamilton and the actual manufacturer of my medicine, but alas, none were to be found. As a result, my family doctor had to write a different prescription for me. This is a problem because for me to change medicine’s I have to be weaned off one before I start the other, so my body doesn’t have a complete freak out and when you find out at the last-minute that your meds are not available, well you’re screwed.

Is there a solution for the drug shortages in Canada? Should the government make it mandatory for drug companies to list a shortage?

Update: Here are two articles in regards to drugs shortages in Canada:

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1307739–voluntary-drug-shortage-reporting-approved-despite-health-canada-s-concerns

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1309265–manitoba-woman-suffered-ear-damage-from-substitute-drug-taken-during-shortage

The nose, wisdom teeth and the teenage boy

It was a few years ago, when middle child and the teenage boy were joking and teasing each other while in the van. After I had parked, the two of them jumped out with middle child chasing the teenage boy, both laughing hysterically. Now there was quite a bit of construction going on, on our street and there were small wooden stakes sticking out of the ground everywhere. The stakes were difficult to notice even though they were painted orange. All of a sudden the teenage boy does a face plant into the sidewalk, his foot had caught a wooden stake. Next, an ear pulsating scream came out of him. As he stood up you could see the blood, which for me is not at all good, I hurl at the sight of blood. I yell at middle child to get her older sister, as I just stand there looking at my son holding his face, I am in shock and pretty darn useless. The eldest arrives to take care of her younger brother who has chipped two of his front teeth and broken his nose! His face is swelling up and you just know, he will have two black eyes.

After the eldest has cleaned him up, I finally get my act in gear and do my motherly duty by calling our family physician and the dentist. Apparently nothing can be done for his nose until the swelling subsides which of course will take a few days, I don’t remember whether he was given prescription for the pain. An appointment is made with a Nose, Ear & Throat specialist at the hospital. In hindsight, it probably was not a good idea for me to take him to the specialist and I certainly should not have gone in with him but I did! The doctor was very nice and told the teenage boy it would be best that he had his eyes closed while he was poked with a needle into both nostrils to freeze the nose. The teenage boy agreed and closed his eyes. I, of course did not close my eyes so as soon as I saw the needle being stuck up his nostril I freaked again and yelled loudly that the needle was huge! Not good. The teenage boy opened his eyes, saw the size of the needle and started to feel a bit panicky. Amazingly though, he let the doctor put the needle in his nostrils.  Next we waited for the freezing to take hold, and then the more painful part occurred. With the doctor standing over the teenage boy his took hold of his nose and basically shoved it back in place. The doctor then told the teenage boy he would have to keep pushing his nose in place over the next week while it healed. The teenage boy did not do this.

A couple of years later, the teenage boy decided he would have his nose re-broken because he was having a difficult time breathing and he wanted it to be straight. In the meantime, he needed to have all four of his wisdom teeth pulled out. So an appointment was made for the orthodontist in August of last year. He then received the call to have his nose re-broken also in August. During the first two weeks, the teenage boy suffered horribly after having his teeth pulled, and was even more depressed because he was unable to play soccer. He had a few days of no pain, before he went in the hospital as an outpatient for his nose. The operation was very successful, but the pain afterwards was enough to bring tears to his eyes. For the following week, he had to rinse his nostrils three times daily, (just think of how painful it feels when you get water up your nose when swimming and then try doing that three times a day). For some reason, the teenage boy would not let mom or dad near him, only his sisters and best friend could be there for support when the rinsing occurred. Apparently he was mad at me because I had left him alone in the hospital for a few minutes and he assumed he was still attached to his heart monitor which was beeping like crazy. He thought he was having a heart attack, and a panic attack ensued.  For the record, he was sleeping when I left for a few minutes to walk to the other side of the hospital to have his prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medications filled. When I arrived back, I was able to calm him down and explain that he wasn’t attached to anything, the machine was just beeping because it was no longer plugged into the wall. I was still on his bad side.