The past seven days have been a very challenging few, as I round out my withdrawals. I know that my statement makes some stop and do a double take, but to clarify “Yes I am in withdrawals from the opiates that I’ve been on for the last two plus months, and no I’m not a drug addict.”
Let me explain..
A few months ago, I took a nasty spill at my apartment complex. I was knocked unconscious, fractured my elbow, tore the ligaments in my arm, and damaged my spinal cord from my L4(lower back think hips) to my mid back (think chest level). I was taken to the ER and given pain medicine that made me shake violently and stop responding, and from what I’m told (by my boyfriend & the ER nurse) scared the Sh** out of them and the doctors. Needles to say I was intubated, and transferred to the ICU. I ended up staying a week in the hospital with the worst patient care of my life. My “doctor ” (“Dr.” Melanie Kim at STRAUB) was rude, yelled at me, belittled me, never took the time to actually examine me, told me I was making up the fall, the pain and my injuries. She did not diagnose me with anything, refused to give me pain medicine, and discharged me minutes after my first “walk” (in a week) with my cane, even though I blacked out (thank goodness the nurse caught me mid-air!!). The nurses snapped at me, did not offer to change my sheets, help me shower or use the restroom, get me food that I could eat, or check on me. The toilet was three steps away and I could not take three steps on my own!! I had to wait until my boyfriend came after work before I could do anything, before anyone would even listen to me.
I spent the next month in and out of consciousness on my couch, with my friends and my boyfriend taking care of me. I’ve been in and out of my doctor’s office, and orthopedic doctor, a pain management doctor and a physical therapist. I’ve had countless MRI’s, x-Rays, scans, etc. All the while I’ve been prescribed various pain medicines that barley took the edge off the pain I’m in. What kills me, is that no one, not a single soul along the way ever spoke to me about the perils of drugs. I’m 33 years old, and never had opiates, never smoked pot or done any recreational or other type of drugs (I barely take aspirin). I read the pamphlets that came with everything, I asked questions in the doctor’s office, and nothing was ever mentioned to me.
Last week after my pain doctor, who is an actual M.D., tried a proven successful procedure on me; where he gave me 20+ shots directly into my spinal cord of the strongest available Novocaine and it failed he told me to “get off the narcotics and suck up the pain.” By getting off the narcotics the second round of shots (the worst pain ever btw!) would probably work better and he would be shocked if it did nothing to numb the pain in my back because “everyone else feels relief.” This was after I made him take a few breaks during the three-hour
appointment because I was screaming in pain. And after he told me I have permanent damage to my spinal cord and will need to look at other options like a permanent stint in my back!
So let me help those who may face the same problem [and don’t say it’s not you, because you never know]. This is not something you “suck up” and if your doctor tells you to, find another doctor. Some insurances will cover you detoxing in the hospital and had I of known I would have done this. If they don’t ween yourself off the drugs by decreasing the amount each day or so. Only take narcotics as needed and I mean sparingly because the withdrawals will be more painful than your pain!
Sleep aids don’t work on me. I have slept a total of 10 hours(if I’ve been lucky) in the past 7 days. I only sleep in 2 hour or less increments. I can not concentrate on anything. I am nauseous all the time. I go from nauseous to throwing up in 2.5 seconds flat. My head is pounding. I am angry. I am hot. I am cold. I have chills and cold sweats. Everything hurts, all the time. I am still cold. I am sad. I am hungry but can’t stand to eat much. I am super light-headed and I black out.. a lot. I wake up with stabbing pains in my stomach. My original pain is radiating through my body constantly. I wake up screaming (sorry boyfriend) from what is called “the zaps,” which feels like a paddle of needles is being repeatedly smacked onto my back and the pain from it radiates to every extremity with the sensation of needles pricking my skin. In essence it SUCKS!! I quit the drugs cold turkey, and now I know it was just plain dumb. But I had no idea what was about to happen, because no one told me! Get a good support group to help you and to stop you, a cuddly puppy or two, eat healthy and don’t give up. Drinking plenty of fluids(H20 & Gatorade), eating bananas, oatmeal and other wholesome foods are helping me a little.
I hear that I should be feeling better soon, but each day gets worse. It is 3am, Enk, Massimo and Chloe are passed out in bed, and I’m sitting at the computer staring blankly until I decide to try to focus.