I’m NOT a Drug Addict


Okay America, I know there is a plethora of drug addicts out there that come to the hospital seeking narcotics, but must you lump every young Black person into that category? I can’t remember how many times that I’ve been denied pain medication because the nurses & doctors felt I was ‘drug seeking’. If you had 10 minutes of the level of pain that a sickle cell warrior goes through on a daily basis, you would be crawling the walls to get some relief.

There was one time that I even got kicked out of an emergency room because they felt that my pain was under control. This actually happened at the ER of the hospital that I worked at. NEWS FLASH: If your patient is in so much pain she has to crawl out of the ED on her hands and knees…then you are fucking not doing your job and NO, her pain isn’t under control!

  • To all the dozens of people that have told me that I just got pain meds and therefore can’t still be in pain…fuck you!
  • To the doctors that arbitrarily decide that just because 2mg of Morphine/Dilaudid knocks out your regular patients and therefore should help the pain of a sickle cell patient…kiss my ass.
  • To the nurse that once told me to stop crying because I’m over 20 and have had this all my life and should know that it hurts and stop making a big deal out of it…fuck you, you damn waste of sperm.
  • To the nurse that refused to give me pain medicine until the clock was pointing to 7 on the dot (instead of the +/- 1 hour time frame that you are allowed to dispense meds)…kiss my black ass.

I’m so sick and tired of people telling me in a shocked voice, “Oh you can’t still be in pain!” Oh yes motherfucker I am and you need to do your job and do something about it. Listen to your patient and take care of their primary need. I really don’t care if you are a crappy nurse, but if you can keep my pain under control, I will like you. Remember, there is a cusp of 5-20 minutes that you have before the pain becomes out of control. If you handle it then, you will diminish the intensity and be able to keep it under control. If you slack off, it gets worse fast and then nothing in the world can make it better short of knocking the patient out.

In case you didn’t take the Pain Management class your work was offering, here are some clues of a patient in real bonafide pain.

  1. Grimacing
  2. Crying
  3. Holding a body part
  4. Moaning/groaning
  5. Saying the same phrase over and over again (it’s supposedly a relaxation technique)
  6. Rolling around on the bed in constant rhythmic motions (another relaxation technique)
  7. Telling you that he/she is in pain.

Pain is the fifth vital sign for a reason. Treat my pain as if it were your own and we will get along just fine.


  1. Dear Tosin,

    I stumbled on your blog 2 days ago and I’m still going through your posts. I just want to say thank you for this! You have adequately summed up the frustrations I have faced in the past with the issue of my so called “Drug addiction”. The problem is that there is no way to measure the pain we go through. If there was, it would be of tremendous help in making others understand.

    Keep up the fantastic job. Linda

  2. It is comforting to know my frustrations are shared! Some nurses should be stripped of their scrubs and doctors of their little white coats. I’m hurting RIGHT NOW but Im hoping, nay, praying it stops soon. I dont want another ER visit that takes 2 1/2 hours for meds with ‘stank’ attitudes to boot. SC patients aren’t considered top priority so I have to wait until the guy with a cold goes first. I’ve been told the same rude things and have felt the same way….angry & frustrated, but mostly angry. Sometimes I feel so ‘dirty’ if that makes sense. They make you feel like trash because you need pain medication, sometimes frequently. Because that 2mg of Dilaudid and you still hurting they start whispering. If they could feel what we felt, they would be more compassionate towards those in pain. Thank you for being a voice. Great job!

    • I totally feel you Helen! Been there too unfortunately. I hope that by the time you are reading this you are doing much better and out of the hospital. Sending you love and blessings.


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