My husband became addicted to drugs - primarily heroin during his twenties. (He is now 61). 18 years ago he was sentenced to a brief prison term (18 months) and ordered to attend a drug program at one of the state institutions. This was the best thing that could have happened in that it got him on the road to recovery. Durng that time, he was plagued with chronic and brutal headaches. He believed this pain to be the result of decaying teeth since the pain started in his gums and radiated throughout one side of his head. After his release he attended NA for over 10 years and participated faithfully in its programs and attended conferences. The headaches persisted and we were advised to see a neurlologist. On the day of the appointment, he was in so much pain that my mother drove him to the doctor - she was in her late 70s at the time and in fine health. (She is 93 now and, except for arthritis, still in good health) He was diagnosed with cluster headaches and placed on a battery of medications - hydrococdone, lorcet, ultram, lithium, verapamil, prednisone, DHE and Imitrex. This medication continued for 11 years and so did his participation NA. He continued to work - heavy construction and paving - until he was injured at work 7 hears ago. His back and shoulder were severely wrenched and he could no longer work. He eventually lost his job. Just before he lost his job, I was laid off a college that was in financial danger. We were without insurance. TO make bad matters worse, his doctor closed her practice the following year. The last medication she prescribed for him was oxycontin, since he had become nearly immune to almost everything. We had to pay full price since we had no insurance and could only get it by the week - $78 for 14 pills at Wal Mart. All he did was sleep and curse and act beligerant (sp). He evdentually abandoned the oxy because he didn't like its effects. The damage was done, however. He still has lingering personality quirks not present before the use of the oxy. Think it can't get worse? In March of this year he was diagnosed with colon cancer. After surgery he was given a morphine drip for pain. He had a prescription for Tylox - a combination of Tylenol and Oxycontin as a prescription to bring home. After a period of time the doctor took him off of it without gradual reduction. He started chemo shortly after that. It gets worse again. In July, he got an insect bite on his elbow. It itched furiously and he scratched likewise. After a while the bite got larger and got infected. One the day he went for his usual pre-chemo appointment, he was sent immediately to emergency to check on the arm. He was again hospitalized for surgery on the arm to drain the infection. He was hospitalized for five days - and again given morphine. He had post operative pain meds for a few days. Each episode of surgery reinforces his desire for drugs and when there is no money left to buy them he goes into withdrawal. He manages to secure prescriptions from other people, but at a price. We have no primary care doctor. He has Medicare, but I have no insurance because I am only employed part time and do freelance computer work. If something does not happen for him soon, He is going to be very sick. There is no money for his brand of self medication and our bills are not getting paid. He has also had an allergic reaction that has caused severe skin irritation. He will see a dermatologist next week. Something has to happen. He could face surgery again - cancer does strange things, and each episode acts as a trigger. Give me some helpful info.
This may be a total shot in the dark here, but has he given acupuncture a try? It may be a reasonable cost, and may help with some of the many things your poor husband has going on.
I am a recovering pain med addict, and it disgusts me that the doctors just push narcotics over and over, and the pharm. companies simply continue to push those meds out as well. There MUST be something non-narcotic that he could be given to help with pain that won't cause him more pain in the long run.
I know money is an issue for you, so acupuncture may not be easy to do, but you might have luck finding someone who will perform it on a sliding scale.
Also, I learned that there are different forms of medicare/medicaid today as well. Maybe there is a version that would fit his needs a little better.
I wish I could help you more, I truly do. I will keep my fingers crossed for you both.