TnskiLet here withdrawal. Its the only way they'll learn.
I don't think she needs to learn anything. If anything the healthcare industry needs to learn some things.
Over the last 5 weeks she has become dependent on opiates to function. She had no legitimate alternative to pain management other than toughing it out, which with the therapy schedule is really difficult to do. 99% of our patients are on a painkiller of some sort, though some aren't as adamant about taking them on the minute they are scheduled, but they also may not be in such pain without them. Some are as needed, others are to be taken as scheduled as in the situation above.
One of the challenges is that we cannot say someone is or isn't in pain. They are prescribed these meds and our nurses follow the doctor's orders. All of this done with good intentions, but it still comes back to haunt the patient. When they are with us in a controlled environment it's okay but when they go home is a different story. In the rehab unit our goal is to get people home. So pain management is a vital part of this and (from my point of view which is different than others) is not really paid attention to. I'm sure the script will end but then what? If someone is feeling sick from a medication withdrawal the only way to truly get rid of it is to take another dose. Waiting it out and going through the withdrawal can be agonizing and in this case, unfortunately it wasn't entirely up to her to take them to begin with. So it's kind of sad to leave someone to their own devices to go through that.
I'm not trying to say anything bad about anyone in particular, this is just the reality of pain management and the current options that people have. I'm only a CNA and there is much much much more that goes on that I don't see but this is the first obvious case that I have seen that showed me how easy it is for this to happen. Just kind of eye opening to me I guess.