It is Well with my Soul BYU Vocal Point

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Unwilling Drug Dependence

I got out of Rehab on last Saturday (the day before Easter) and I've been home less than a week (today is Tuesday). I really feel like I am losing rather than gaining ground. My pain has escalated to the "unbearable level" and my mobility is severely limited. I don't know why it is that it seemed that I was doing so much better at rehab. I really am concerned about my level of pain. Is there an infection brewing? I do have an infection in my jaw....is that the tip of the iceberg? Maybe it's just because of the proximity from one surgery to another.

And to top it all off, yesterday I felt awful. Depressed beyond words. I wrote two emails or facebook messages yesterday that were so black that they were suicidal. I was in tears most of the day. I went to see my psychiatrist...And as I fought tears in her office, tugging off my sweatshirt because of the sudden flood of perspiration I felt, she asked me if I was sweating. Then she asked me if I'd had stomach cramps that day. Surprised I answered in the affirmative. She told me, "you are going through withdrawal....you've become dependent on the pain medicine." I was shocked. Appalled. Angry.

When I'd gotten ready to leave the rehab, the nurse was unable to locate my medicine prescriptions....So I went home without the narcotics I'd been taking regularly due to the extreme degrees of pain I was experiencing. When I learned that I now NEED those medicines, I was very upset. For the 25 years that I'd suffered extreme pain, I'd carefully and stubbornly refused to take the meds on the regular schedule that all of the pain management doctors insisted was the most effective. I did NOT want to subject myself to bigotry, stigma and the holier than thou attitude of the doctors and nurses who felt a divine calling to singlehandedly wipe out drug abuse by removing and reducing the medicines of every legitimate chronic pain sufferer they treated.

I did not want to hand over the control of my own body to allow some ignoramus medical professional to punish ME for the sins of junkies. I did not want to allow anyone else the power to make me suffer withdrawal. I did not want every do-gooder ambulance technician to see the scars on my arms from self injuries inflicted many. many years ago, label me "junkie" and then pump me full of Narcan to make me as sick as a dog every time I became unresponsive for one reason or another.

And now. Here I am. Wide open to the world of panic at the thought of missing a pain management appointment. Ready to have to incessantly explain or hide my frequent pill popping to acquaintances and to face their tsk-tsking at my "drug addiction." Never mind any attempts to explain the difference between medical dependency and drug addiction. The stubborn response of biased listeners will be to "yeah- yeah" it and continue their condemnation.

And all of this because pain was too big for me to handle for too long a period of time this time. Wish I could undo it.
So now have decided to try to give it a whirl....all the dependency. Just to see how well my pain is managed. If I find that I quickly become accustomed to the meds and they become ineffective, I will have to go through a supervised detox. Who'd ever have thought it?
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