Can I be denied disability benefits for refusing to take pain medications?
I've had rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and palindromic rheumatism (a very painful form of inflammatory arthritis) for 4 years now, along with overwhelming fatigue (I am chronically anemic), occasional gout, and sciatica. I take Methotrexate, Prednisone, and Ibuprofen to help control my diseases and relieve my symptoms. Other than Ibuprofen, I take no pain relievers, preferring to deal with the pain as it comes.
I have a very good reason for my refusal. I am in my mid-40's and will have these conditions for the rest of my life. That's 30-40 more years, barring accident or terminal illness. I prefer to save the pain meds for when I *really* need them, as my conditions will only become worse.
My mother has been using pain relievers for 7 years due to severe osteoarthritis, and she has developed such a high level of tolerance that she no longer receives adequate relief. I've got a lifetime of disease and various surgeries ahead of me, and am hoping that, by avoiding pain relievers now, I will be able to obtain adequate relief in the future. In short, I am afraid of developing a dependency. I want to wait.
I *am* obviously able to function, but as with any chronic illness, there are limits to my abilities. Many things I can no longer do, and those things which can be accomplished are done so as I am able. I require modifications to my routines, tire easily, and encounter all of the normal obstacles that come with chronic illness.
Also, my feet are in serious need of surgery, but I have only recently received medical assistance. I see my Rheumatologist in April, and at that time, I will ask his advice concerning my feet.
Anyway, after applying for disability, I was given an appointment with one of their physicians. I see him next week, and I was wondering:
What can I expect from this physical?
Can my refusal to take pain medications keep me from receiving disability?
I *do* realize that my physical condition may not meet the requirements for disability, and I am prepared for that. Although, with my feet as twisted as they are, the difficulty I have in walking, and my inability to wear shoes (I can wear only men's slippers) I feel confident that my feet will be considered a disability.
My main concern is refusal of pain meds. Can I be forced to take them?
Also, my rheumy has never discussed treatment with biologics such as Humira or Remicade. Can they insist that I try more aggressive treatments?
My apologies for the length, all the questions, and the general disorder of this question. I'm just really worried about all of this. I'm not well educated on this entire process, and I'm hoping someone here can help me.
Thanks so much for your time. It's appreciated.
I so admire your ability to cope. Love you bunches. :)
((((( Pirate )))))
When I was first diagnosed, I was prescribed Naproxen. It gave me heart arrythmias (sp?) and was discontinued.
Yes, surgery on my feet *would* make a difference. However, that would not change my ability (or inability) to reach (my elbows are gnarled, and my arms are permanently bent.)
Neither would that change the fact that I cannot grasp, lift, carry, squat, get on or off the floor without help, climb stairs without great difficulty, (my knees are no better than my feet), walk distances, etc.
It's good to know that I cannot be *forced* to use pain meds, and that my refusal will not be held against me.
I don't have an aversion to biologics. It's just never been discussed.
When I am hit with a PR attack, I just go to bed. Doctors are very reluctant to prescribe Dilaudid due to it's addictive nature, aside from the fact that it puts me into a stupor. It's like being on a major drunk.
They *will* prescribe Vicodin, but if I were to take it for PR, I'd get as much relief with a baby aspirin (which is no relief at all).
The normal aches and pains of RA and Fibro I can deal with. And so, I am reluctant to use pain meds. I know that in the future I will not be able to cope with the daily aches. At that point, I'll be glad to have these medications available. I just fear becoming tolerant or dependent, because I see what this has done to my mother.
Thanks to all for the advice.
I appreciate everything you have done to help. Thank you.
((((((( group hug )))))))