So from now on, I'll either have a general report/record of my day OR I'll discuss revelations and things I've learned that I feel will be helpful to others. Basically, all the stuff from my regular check-in posts, only split up a little and missing the points-list in the middle. I should consider adding more videos, also.
I spent the majority of yesterday in a medical facility. I'd taken a painkiller to help me sleep (which I only do when I think my sleepy medication won't be enough on its own). At some point in the middle of the night, I woke up in agony and had to take another tramadol and wait for it to kick in before I could get back to sleep.
Now my usual pattern is
- 800mg ibuprofen in morning
- 50mg tramadol/ultram in afternoon
- possibly another 50mg tramadol at bedtime.
When I got out of bed, I was still in pain, so after I had breakfast (I have to eat to take my morning medications) I took another tramadol. Already I was one over my usual, and the day hadn't even started.
At the volunteer job I was in desperate pain. I was even telling people I was going to jump (not fall) off the wagon if I couldn't get the pain under control. Everyone, even people who do harm reduction for a living, was totally resistant to this idea.
REVELATION: People are resistant to the idea of using illegal drugs even for legitimate purposes.
I don't get it. I promised my doctor I would first try legitimate channels to get pain medications when the pain was bad. That usually means four hours waiting in an emergency room, not knowing if they are going to give you pain meds or not, because of course they treat everyone seeking pain meds in the ER like a drug-seeking addict, and if they already KNOW you have a problem with addictive behavior, you might as well just kiss those pain pills goodbye. And it's so stupid, because I've never had a problem with pain pills in that way. My problem was always uppers, not downers. I can leave half a drink on the bar and walk out, but because I have a problem with addiction in one area, my doctor views any drinking I do as addictive behavior, even though I'm pretty good about sticking to her 'two-drink limit'. I like the taste of some alcohols, especially certain mixed drinks, and would be just as happy if more bars had fancy fruit mocktails. I was as satisfied with my Raspberry Limeade today at Red Robin as I would have been with a Mai Tai, it's fruity and fizzy and tastes good.
So four hours for the average ER visit, when in twenty minutes, with one phone call, I can have illegal drugs in hand that will be just as effective. Sometimes I can have the exact same drugs I'd get the legitimate way. I have a friend who gets muscle relaxers but doesn't use them all. I can call him and get a couple muscle relaxers faster than the pharmacy can fill my prescription (and that's not even including time to travel to pharmacy or the visit to the doctor to get the prescription in the first place). I just don't see why self-medicating is so demonized, especially when sometimes it is your only option. Is it better than I suffer? But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I managed to get a walk-in appointment at the clinic, which was great because I had a therapy session in the afternoon anyway. So I left my volunteer place early and went to the doctor. There, I was told to double up on the tramadol, and how much I could take as a maximum daily dose (400mg), although the prescription she wrote was 50-100mg three times a day as needed. She also wrote me for muscle relaxers, but told me to only take them at bedtime. I was trying to explain the uselessness of all this, but it fell on deaf ears. One of my biggest complaints about tramadol isn't its effectiveness, but its duration. Lately, it only kills pain for 3-4 hours at most, and you can only take it every 8 hours. The doctor said there is an extended release version, but she wouldn't prescribe it because my insurance didn't cover it. (I tried to explain I'd be willing to pay for it, and even discovered that 30 pills was around $100 at the pharmacy, to no avail.) And this was the afternoon, if I couldn't take the muscle relaxers until bedtime, what was I supposed to do all evening? *sigh* Either way, she gave me enough tramadol and flexeril to last until my first lidocaine therapy appointment in November.
She told me to go ahead and take a second pill (it was about 1500), and then I could take a double dose at 2300 along with the muscle relaxers. Only, as expected, by 1800 the effects of the meds had worn off completely and I was in terrible pain.
REVELATION: People view street drugs as inherently bad for you, and prescribed drugs (i.e. medicines) as always being good for you. Do they not realize sometimes these are the EXACT SAME MEDICATIONS just through different channels? And who hasn't had a bad, perhaps nearly fatal, reaction to a legally prescribed medication?
I'd been stiff all through therapy, during which my therapist did some hypnosis with me to try and help. It sure relaxed me, but didn't touch the knife in my back. She recommended I take my anxiety med (seroquel) because that would also loosen and relax my muscles. We also got into an argument about prescribed vs. street drugs. Of course she views street drugs as inherently bad, but I told her that drugs prescribed to me had done me more harm than any street drug ever had, and then I listed all the examples.
- I've had worse hallucinations from Melleril than I ever had from LSD.
- Thorazine gave me retina burn in my eyes; to this day I see sparkles when I look at bright white objects.
- Wellbutrin made me suicidal and psychotic, and after I OD'd on it (trying to kill myself) I started having non-epileptic seizures, which have never gone away since then.
- Other anti-depressants have also made me suicidal or more depressed, which could have been fatal.
- The seroquel I'm on now is making me fat and diabetic.
- Asthma medications gave me arrhythmias and sometimes those non-epileptic seizures.
- Arrhthymia medication gave me migraines.
- To date, three different drugs have given me an allergic reaction and hives.
- Prednisone almost caused me to black out from a standing position. I have never fainted in my life.
- Antibiotics give me frightful tummy trouble, from ulcers to watery diarrhea.
- Ortho-tricyclen made me throw up uncontrollably. I wound up in the emergency room because of dehydration. It took over two bags of IV fluid before I could urinate.
- temazepam caused memory gaps (i.e. blackouts) which I've never had from an illegal drug
Legal drugs, taken in the prescribed manner, have done more harm to me than a whole rack of illegal or improperly used other drugs. The only time street drugs have made me truly ill have been when they were cut with something bad, which is really an argument toward legalizing all drugs so they can be properly quality controlled.
I made tentative plans to go out and get high, but in deference to my psychiatrist's request, I went to the emergency room for one last try at effective pain management.
Normally I tell them immediately about my addictive personality, but I figured they would only try to sell me on the ultram which obviously wasn't working. And I could hear them denying some addict directly across from my room as she pleaded for pain pills (apparently she'd abused her last bottle of pills by a whole bunch, so they were refusing to write her any more). I ended up getting two percocets to take in the emergency room and a slew of hot/cold packs, which they were very nice about fetching (it was super slow).
The room was practically spinning after a tramadol at 1500 and two percocets at 1900; my back still hurt. The rest of me was fine, but that fiery hot poker in my spine, coupled with squeezing claws through the back of my rib cage just wouldn't let go. I started to cry in frustration. Seriously, who cries AFTER the pain meds have kicked in? I just knew I couldn't handle any more drugs (and stay upright, anyway) but I didn't know what to do, it just KEPT HURTING. So then they gave me some Valium to help relax the muscles (I don't think they keep muscle relaxers in stock in the ER) and that, coupled with some cold packs, finally eased up the pain.
Thankfully, I'm feeling much better today and haven't needed to take a single percocet. I did take a double dose of tramadol with dinner, which leads to my final revelation.
REVELATION: Tramadol/Ultram, despite being non-narcotic, is close enough to a narcotic to cause the dreaded itching. I'd never experienced it with 50mg, but 100mg seems to be my tipping point. I'm not hurting, but I've been doing nothing but scratch.
Tomorrow I will try to cover how to make a 'recovery schedule' and I might have more recovery tips. Peace!