"Getting my prescription for painkillers following surgery"

About: NHS London

(as the patient),

I had a total shoulder replacement and left hospital two days later. Stayed indoors as am unsteady on my feet and need a walking stick. My son went with me to pick up a painkillers prescription I had spoken to the doctors surgery about. I was being given two paracetamol plus a 30mg. codeine whilst in hospital. not being bothered about the paaracetamol as it was available over the counter, but being in obvious pain from the op, I was happy enough to get a prescription for codeine and had said this at surgery. I made it obvious that I would follow the dose I had been given at hospital, and in fact had tried cutting down the amount of tablets taken. I also let them take a photo copy of the discharge paper as they may not have received it from the hospital yet.

Tablets given when I left hospital lasted me amost six days at my reduced intake. I used heat packs and rested my shoulder to help overcome pain.

Anyway, at the chemist I picked up the paracetamol I estimated I would need for a week or so. Not being sure of someone to go with me, and worried if I fell, I was intending to stay indoors for a couple of weeks for safety.

I was open about the circumstances of my op. showed the discharge paper and others to do with going in etc. First the chemist would not allow me to buy the paracetamol. I had to wait some time for the codeine, they were very busy with a half hour wait. eventually I got a seat, whilst waiting the staff were having a conversation about a mistake made by a person dispensing drugs. She was querying her fault. Not something I would want to hear really.

Then I was called up and said I didnt agree with the decision about not supplying paracetamol as the discharge paper clearly stated I should have it with codeine for a further seven days, and I felt the chemist had misunderstood it.

The chemist kept me at the counter instead of taking me to a consulting room she had used for other customers adjacent. And told me she would not give me the codeine either. She had 'looked at my record' (I was not aware they kept a record on me, thought you just took your prescription to whichever chemist and got it. I have never given permission for them to keep a record on me, as basically regard the chain as a shop).

She had found that in april this year I was prescribed 15mg of codeine, she then decided without speaking to me, that the doctor had upped the dose, and these were the grounds she used in her mind not to allow me the painkillers. I showed her the 15mg packet from my bag, still virtually intact and told her I was a recluse. At least at home I can change my clothes if needed!

This made matters even worse. She had my prescription, was refusing me painkiller, and I had no recourse to an alternative. I am not a lover of painkillers, and try and avoid them. For thirty years I have had osteo arthritis in my spine, joints, neck (affecting feeling in left hand). I also have other ailments which overall affect my quality of life. I have managed to work till I was eventually laid off in cutbacks when 64 years of age, am not a shirker, just worried about keeping a roof over my head, warmth and enough food! My feeling of needing to work comes from a bad childhood, and the thought of not having enough is a great worry to me.

I had by now got an audience, she had come round to my side of the counter but still kept me without privacy. I told her that the 15mg codeine was prescribed for a different condition. That I have diverticulitis which can cause me to need to open my bowels at a moments notice. That I cannot stop it, have been caught like this so my doctor prescribed them so I can take one and it helps stop it long enough for me to find a toilet. She was unconcerned about what I was saying, so I told her I have left dirty knickers all over this borough! as was so frustrated by her. I offered to lift the shoulder dressing so she could see my metal staples, since she didnt beleive me. It was not a case of upping a dose, the discharge paper from the hospital (had to point out they prescribed it and their heading at top), had shown it as the painkiller used, so apart from my docs following up with more as they had run out, it had been prescribed by two different sources! ! !

Adults, small chldren were all listening to the conversation. She eventually gave me the codeine, and sold me a packet of paracetamol with about twice the amount as that in shelf boxes. But I had to undergo a public treatment which could have been avoided if she had spoken to my surgery. I am in pain most of the time, the op was giving me additional pain, which I treated in my own way to the best of my ability with heat and rest, not wanting to be totally dependant on what was prescribed. I was not aware that paracetamol was limited in the amount you could buy, but not to be able to get my prescription or the paracetamol! ! I dont usually pay for my drugs, and dont ask for painkillers because I try to manage things myself, but this incident means I will never use that chain again, and am still upset over the treatment even though over a week has passed.

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