Wish me luck...

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For tomorrow I have an appointment with Addaction. Those that know my story, will say, why the hell are you going there?

Well, I need to have followed the process and given everybody their chance. My GP has said no go to Campral, incidently, they changed it from 'we can not' supply this drug, to 'will not' we don't have the experience, once I had the nice man from the area prescribing committee confirm in writing that the Red Amber Green are guidelines only and the GP can issue the medication if they want.

They have pushed me back to Addaction, they also did not comment on me perhaps having an LFT or similar tests first, which I suggested.

Now I contacted my head office contact at Addaction, explained what had happened (relapse) and asked if he would make an appointment for me (at a different branch) and to explain my situation to  the branch.

Two things are going to happen, Addaction will come up with the goods and most of the story will end there, although I will still take issue up with some people, who I don't think performed or supported me.

Secondley, I will get the usual brush off and that is where the fun will start.I will have tried my GP, I will have tried the local health authority's registered recommended alcohol addiction service. I will then go to the local A&E and tell them I am about to start self medicating on medicine that I have received over the internet. Their reaction will be, you don't want to do that, but we can't help you anyway, go back and see your GP (you can see a pattern of frustration building up here).

At that point I will say, that I have asked for a referral from them to the hepatologist from my GP (which has been granted) but this will take too long.

I don't for one minute expect the A&E to do anything except, that they will have to log my visit and send it to my GP, so it will be on my records. Secondly it will be just about the only avenue left to me.

At that point, I can then start to take the Campral I have bought, because I have now got to the stage, that although I detoxed and it's three weeks, my body is now going into its crave mode.

That is when the letters of official complaint come out - did you know, that if you use the word offficial, it has a specific meaning within the NHS, as does complaint. If you use the word complaint, they have to deal with it in a certain way, if you use the word official, it goes to the chief execs dept. to be followed up. I learnt this when I sent a letter to the stroke rehab hospital, I mmediately said I retract the word official, I want it dealt with in house, I just don't want it swept under the carpet.

However, I think the word official would be used in the right context here, and it will be amusing to see people passing around this hot potato. Where they try to pass the blame or look for a gap where I did not follow advice given or try all available routes. Only trouble for them is I have, I've tried my GP, I've tried Addaction, I've clarified it with the APC, I've clarified it with the GMC and I have tried it with the A&E at my local hospital.

I just have to confirm today exactly who my local health authority is and a senior contact and then that's ready.

So tomorrow, I truly hope Addaction have lsitened to my thoughts given to them last year and I walk away with my medication or authorisation for my GP to issue it and I can put this behind me. But my gut instinct is telling me something different, it is telling me, I will be opening that blister pack that has been sitting there since first thing last Friday morning. And typing out letters.

 

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  • Posted

    RHGB

    what can I say? well done doesn't seem right, good for you or similar seems hollow.

    As you know, I've followed your quest with interest and admire your persistence and the lengths you've been forced to go to in order to get the medication you should have had nearly a month ago.

    You've explored every avenue with documented evidence, you've done what you've been told to do, and there's nothing left for you to do, apart from taking your prescription to the chemist and getting your tablets. I'm sure you will update your progress and results.

    A very enlightening and detailed discussion about the problems and obstacles you've had to deal with, just to get medication for a drug handed out easily to other people.

    By the way, I've worked for the NHS, both medically and in admin, and you are correct. The words official and complaint are dealt with according to protocol set out by each trust and have to be fully investigated and the outcome and evidence given to the CEO of whichever NHS trust referred to.

    I hope your appointment with addaction is successful

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  • Posted

    Thank you for the update RHGB.  I wait with bated breath to hear the next episode.

    Pat.

     

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  • Posted

    I would just say, to anyone who reads this and doesn't know my history, when I say relapsed, I relapsed at Christmas and detoxed early January and it has been three weeks since I've had a drink. But because I have been a long term drinker, probably what would be referred to as a functioning alcoholic - come home after a stressful job driving hundreds of miles, go to the pub, have say four pints, go home, take the dog for a walk, come home eat, drink four cans, fall asleep, get up in the morning, take dog for a walk, get showered and ready for work, go to work, repeat evening process.

    My body has developed a craving for alcohol, that doesn't just disappear with a detox, although that does get me over all the nasty symptoms of cold turkey. But I need to take something long term, the best of which is Campral (acamprosate) which stops the craving and should be taken for up to 12 months, until your body is totally flushed as it were.

    It is different to Naltrexone and Nalmefene, which block the enjoyment receptors of the brain, therefore numbing the enjoyment of alcohol. They are for people who may still want to drink, but keep it within moderation.

    Campral is more of an anti-craving drug that stops your body 'wanting' alcohol.

    "Acamprosate is thought to stabilize the chemical balance in the brain that would otherwise be disrupted by alcohol withdrawal"

    If you have been drinking heavily for a long time (about 25 years in my case) the body and brain have a chemical imbalance and this takes time to correct itself, a week's detox on diazepam doesn't do it, it gets you off the alcohol in a controlled and safe manner, but Campral is what keeps you off it, instead of relapsing and returning to alcohol.

    It is this medication Campral that I am struggling to get. You'd think once I had managed to come off alcohol and was happy to have an LFT to prove it, they would be falling over themselves to keep me off of it, but it doesn't seem like it. Lastly, it is recommended that Campral be issued as soon as you have detoxed, i.e. you've had a week on diazepam, it's worked, you haaven't had a drink, now straight on to Campral before you relapse again.

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    • Posted

      Er, when I said have four pints, then go home, I live 20 seconds from my pub. I would park in my drive, then straight into the pub, then stroll back after my four pints, just in case anyone thought I was stopping at some pub and getting back in the car. That's one problem for me, I have a lovely country pub right on my doorstep, there's two houses inbetween mine and the pub.
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  • Posted

    So, 1.45pm today, I arrived at Addaction/Recovery Partnership. A bit nicer than the last place and it is located in a hospital, so the whole  environment was different.

    The questions asked were a little different and I didn't have to sign a 'death on the premises' waiver. Asked me what I wanted (Campral) why (anti crave drug) what I knew about it and the other drugs and why I had settled on that one.

    Then a bit about my drinking history and my stroke, because they really go hand in hand and if I hadn't gone to the hospital for the stroke, I may never have found out about my the state of my internal organs and the damage that had been done.

    Then a few personal details/circumstances, do you have secure accommodation, do you live with a responsible adult that is not under the influence of drugs etc.

    Then she said, you have to have an appointment with the nurse, for a health check and LFTs, she said the nurse is here now, she won't have time to do the check up, but certainly we can get through some of the preliminaries whilst you are both here. She came in, we had a chat, she went through a list of all my current prescribed meds.

    She then said, If I can get there next Thursday, she can do the check and LFT, she did ask if I had up to date bloods - I don't, the last ones were June, but I reckon if they'd been more recent, she would have skipped that and just got the latest ones from my GP/hepatologist.

    She said the results should be back early the following week and then whichever day the doctor is in, I can come in to collect a prescription.

    So, I'm looking at two weeks, and no group therapy, just the odd one to one session to see how I'm getting on with the Campral and is it working for me. I then had quite a bit of idle chat with the nurse who used to work at the hospital I was at, knew the wards I was in and knew most of the consultants that dealt with me.

    So, if it all goes to plan, the week after next, I will have my medication without having to commit to much, that would be a result if it happens.

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  • Posted

    Things seem to be progressing at long last. Still another two weeks though, but better late than never!
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  • Posted

    Well, had my second meeting today. A short meeting with my case worker just going through some more notes. Then my health check with the nurse, which is no more than a detailed questionnaire, blood preesure and pulse check. Then two phials of blood, which they should have the results in a couple of days.

    Then all being well, I get to get my prescription from the doctor (at the rehab) next week - the nurse is meant to be taking over the prescriptions, but the paperwork hasn't gone through yet, so they still need a doctor to come in and issue them.

    So, all being well, next week is D-Day, should have prescription and the therapy is very minimal and certainly no group therapy and I get my hands on the tablets before it starts,

    The only downside is that they find something in my blood tests they don't like, or the file on me that comes from my GP that they have requested.

    So I should be a happy man, then why do I have this niggle at the back of my mind that there will be some complication, it just seems so easy compared with last time and everyone is being reasonable. I am going to take my Campral with me next week and if the words 'no go' suddenly appear, I will say, 'I shall have to make do with these then' and watch their face. After all, I paid £235 for them, be a shame to waste them.

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  • Posted

    Well, I've relied on my gut feeling all my life, and rarely has it let me down. And once again, it turns out to be right.

    When I was there last Thursday, the mainframe wasn't working, so they couldn't access the diary to give me an appointment. This is my appoinment to see the doctor to pick up my prescription this week.

    The case worker gave me an appoinment at 11:00am Thursday 18th. I phoned this afternoon, to try and move it, because Tues & Weds okay, but 2:00pm+ on other days is better, because I'm helping a mate out at the moment. Also, I thought, I need to speak to the nurse to find out the date this week for my prescription and doctor's appointment.

    Only to be told, that they were in the process of sending me a letter out to let me know my appointment would be Thursday 18th. I will have been 6 weeks sober by then, you are meant to be given Acampral as soon as you become abstinate. They will know I have not been drinking, by the blood tests.

    Why the wait, it goes against the NHS guidelines. I can imagine it now, with the doctor next week. Well Mr.RHGB, you seem to be in a pretty bad way and you are already taking a lot of medication.

    Me: Your point is?

    Dr: We are not sure about giving you another medication.

    Me: Right, well my GP knew what I wanted and suggested I come here, so I kind of get the feeling, he knew why I was coming.

    Dr: We'd like to see how you progress with abstinance or maybe we give you a week's supply of pills.

    Me: Yes I like being treated like a child, that is why I came here, not for help with my addication.

    Dr.: Mr.RHGB, we are only trying to help you.

    Me: You are pushing me back towards alcohol, at this stage, I think I will pull out of my pocket, my two month supply of Campral and a can of super strentgh cider. And say, which do you reckon I should try?

    Dr: Where did you get that from.

    Me: (being facetious) from the local off licence.

    Dr: No, the Campral.

    Me: Need to know basis, and you don't need to know. (At this point I might just crack the can open and have a couple of sips) Not enough to do anything, but just to antagonise him (the appointment is at 10:30am)

    Dr: Alcohol is not allowed in the building.

    Me: Neither is acamprosate by the sound of it.

    At this point, I think the meeting will end, I will have to find my case worker and explain why there won't be a need for our meeting that day. It is in my nature to be polite, she is a nice person and I should really tell her face to face, rather than a quick exit

    Still, if I was a heroin user, who had no money for a fix, I would have been given methadone from day one. I don't know why everything takes so long with these guys. I'm of the opinion, that if I make it to six weeks (which I will), then my two months worth of Campril will be enough to see me through, that'll be three and a half months, and should have allowed my body to return to normal.

    I may still be wrong, the doctor may just hand out the medicine next week (I'll still wonder why it took them three weeks) and ask to see me in a month to see how I'm getting on and any side affects

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    • Posted

      I love the role play conversation up there....smile.

      I hope you get what you need...as I can tell the UK is very difficult to deal with when it comes to alcoholism.

      It makes no sense that they would be giving you such a hard time when you are clearly trying to help yourself BE WELL.

      I have a word for those types of Doctors that I am not allowed to type on here...But decode - A**holes.

      I am also looking forward to the REAL conversation and I really hope that you get what you want and need to stay away from alcohol.

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  • Posted

    Well, D-day has arrived. Off to my appointment shortly. This is going to go well, or really badly, there is no inbetween.
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