Outpatient Surgery Magazine

No Guarantees - March 2017 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Page 7 of 138

A CRNA's Story of Addiction and Recovery 'We must grant each other permission to save each other.' A nita Bertrand, CRNA, MS, has been to hell and back and back again, twice getting hooked on powerful painkillers she'd steal in broad daylight from the Houston surgical facilities where she worked. She was like a kid in a candy store. First a 9- month fentanyl binge, then 8 1 ⁄2 years clean, then a 2-week relapse with propofol about 2 years ago, and now clean and sober again and back working at a pain management center. And she wants to tell you all about it. Because addiction could happen to you as easily and as unexpectedly as it happened to her. Or to someone on your staff. She'll bravely step to the podium at OR Excellence in Las Vegas on Oct. 12 to share her story of recovery, remission, relapse and redemp- tion. "I'm doing this to let nurses know that they're not immune to this disease and that we have to help each other," says Ms. Bertrand, 52. Ms. Bertrand says she had no history of drug use before she got hooked on pain medication following her 2005 hysterectomy. "I believe that having the epidural of opioids was the trigger for me," she says. She only remembers being on prescription pain meds for a few days, yet by the time she returned to work 2 weeks later, she claims she was already hooked. She soon began diverting syringes of fentanyl and self-injecting. Even as addiction consumed her, she evaded detection. Nobody seemed to notice that she was regularly working impaired. And she had access to a bottomless well of drugs. In 2006, when she was doing 8 • O U T PA T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • M A R C H 2 0 1 7 Editor's Page Dan O'Connor Anita Bertrand, CRNA, MS

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