I went detox after 8+ years of abusing my prescription painkillers. I had a pattern. Every month when I got my refill I would tell myself that I wasn’t going to do it again. I was going to take things as prescribed. I wasn’t gonna take any extra. I wasn’t going to crush or chew anything that was meant to be long acting or slow release. That’s what I’d be telling myself as I sat in line at the pharmacy, schedule 2 narcotic script and license in hand, hot/cold withdrawal sweat on my neck and brow.
Then I’d have the script in hand and once I was back in the car I’d look at the immeasurable riches of a months worth of my main heavy duty painkiller after I’d been roughly a week to 10 days without it. And I’d tell myself ok, you can take a little extra a little faster for today. Just to get back on an even keel, just to get what you need back steadily in your bloodstream.
18 days or so later, who knows now how many stupid, unkind, destructive or neglectful things I did in between time, I’d be out of my pain med and left to puzzle out how to get myself through till my next refill.
I repeated this process through heavier and heavier dosing schedules of pain med. As I have severe rheumatoid arthritis and PCOS and uterine tumors (though the feminine problems were largely resolved by my hysterectomy) there is enough legitimately severe arthritic damage and aggressive progression of my disease to back my case when I say I am in pain and need relief, eventually I progressed to where I was getting 10 fentanyl patches and 60 Vicodin a month through my main doctor.
Right before I landed in detox, I went through my months supply of both drugs in about 9 days. I was suicidal the night my husband took me to crisis, but still unwilling to admit to anyone that I had a drug problem. They sent me to an inpatient psychiatric unit that also deals with substance abuse. I was still under the impression that I had everyone fooled. A petite friendly nurse went to fill my order for the patch, but since their pharmacy didn’t carry it, she asked me if I had any left at home that someone could bring for them to dispense. I didn’t of course and had to tell her, there was no way I could bluff something like that while I’m inpatient. Petite friendly nurse says so problem we’ll just call your pharmacy to get some sent over.My pulse started to pick up as I told her my pharmacy info. She left my room to make a call. Petite friendly nurse came back with the charge nurse and two huge doctors that could have doubled as linebackers who told me to come with them. They took me in a small room and said that the pharmacy said that I had filled my script 9 days ago and that should leave me with something like 7 patches for the month. So where were the patches? Head down and voice barely audible, I confessed that I had used them. They thanked me for being honest then informed me that I was now on their detox protocol. I would be stepped down with methadone and given comfort meds for the symptoms I would experience.
Later, one of the docs, who I really disliked, asked what my medical issues were to be given such strong pain medication. I told him rheumatoid arthritis. The douchebag actually had the nerve to say,”That’s it?” and then, “Once you withdraw from everything that you are on, I think you will be pleasantly surprised to find that you are not really in as much pain as you think you are from a little arthritic activity.”
Ok, asshole, let me suck all that comforting, motion enhancing, cartilage out of your knees, then put your wrists in a permanent state of dislocation, just for starters and see how pleasantly surprised you are.
Even as I limped out of his office in angry tears, I remember thinking, “This is as bad as it needs to get. Everything I’ve feared all these years about people finding out about me has happened. There is no more trouble for me to get into unless I make it.” That is a really good thing about hitting bottom. The only direction you can go is up.
Ok… intermission.. I am in severe pain today and before sitting up at the computer to blog I sat here for two hours listing a whole suitcase of curriculum that we paid for but I never used with the kids because when we homeschooled I was always wildly overestimating my ability to follow through and actually teach my kids.
I have been so moody this week. And I haven’t slept. My past is weighing on me like a physical burden. The fact that Daughter is a successful college student and Son a successful almost 4th grader in public school now does next to nothing to ease the pressure of the guilt I feel for all the time I wasted putting opiates before my own children, while all the while justifying it to myself saying that I was a better mom to them when I had something to take the edge off.
So anyway, after I painstakingly list each and every book, Husband starts asking me questions. What site am I listing these on? When and how much are they going to pay me? Am I sure that this is the best place to be selling to? What about Ebay? Why don’t I stop what I’m doing (after listing 42 out of the 50 total books) and see how a bundle of these same books would be doing on Ebay right now?
I snapped at him until he stopped asking me questions. I have probably been unfairly grouchy with him, but at the moment I am feeling every excuse in the world for my behavior. He has been sick this week, his diabetes and some other digestive stuff, [kind of scary stuff actually, he needs an abdominal scan and it may have to do with his pancreas. So he’s in pain. Untreatable pain because he (unlike me) is physically intolerant of opiate pain medications, they’ve tried all of them on him, and never found anything to be useful.Given my delicate situation I suppose having opiate pain meds in the house within stealable range of me would be really bad but when he gets really difficult because he’s hurting I really wish I could give him a few pills that improved his mood, lessened his pain, then knocked him out for several hours.] SO his varied illnesses have him hypersensitive, short on sleep, grouchy and smelly. When his sugar is out of whack like this he has an acetone smell, then his digestive difficulty is giving him gas.
If he saw this he would be mortified and furious at me for “telling all his business” but I can feel safe in airing his business as he never, ever shown spontaneous interest in my writing. Ever. The closest he came to interest was when I expressed happiness at having followers he wanted to know if that ever meant that I could make money from blogging.
Ok.. this was never supposed to be a detox post or a marital post. I was supposed to talk about how Lena Dunham saved me from relapse, early on.
About 3 weeks out of detox, I hit a really low point. I broke a tooth in the front of my mouth. It was (and is) uncomfortable and it shows when I talk or smile. I tearfully told my husband that I couldn’t leave the house and he told me I was ridiculous. He said that anyone who thought less of someone for needing dental work was either a child or an inconsiderate moron. I wanted to say, which one does that make you? Because before I had broken teeth, you talked plenty of shit about other women we knew who had dental issues wondering why they didn’t make a way to get that fixed and how could they leave the house like that. I was inconsolable and unconvinced.
So the next morning I tearfully stayed home from church while he went with our son. On his way out the door, he hugged me told me to be safe and make good choices. Which was basically the best way he could say, in code in front of Son, “Don’t find some way to relapse in the next 4 hours.”
I was so wound up I felt like I just needed something.. anything, to take the edge off this pain. I didn’t have anything though, so my next go-to if I can’t find relief, is distraction, so I got myself as comfortable as I possibly could with heat and pillows and watched Season 2 of Girls.
Anyone who is unfamiliar with the show should know that the show, and hence any clips, are explicit with sex and language.
I find Lena Dunham absolutely amazing. That she was able to write into creation people like Adam as well as all the other characters in her storyverse but as I am exhausted and unable to break down all of them now, lets leave it at Adam.
Adam and Ray on their way to Staten Island
Adam being polite at an awkward intro after an AA meeting
There’s more so much more, about why I am a fan of hers, but I am overtired and incoherent at this point so I will write more tomorrow. 86 more to go.