#HYHRD: How not to quit opioids; a hard lesson still being learned

Okay, so I haven’t posted in quite a while.

Sorry.

I decided, on my own, that I would quit all narcotics “cold turkey” on December 28th of last year. I also decided I would quit taking benzodiazepam medication. This was to avoid losing my my license to drive. I though it a prudent decision until the next morning.

I though withdrawal was for junkies and drug addicts.

I was…WRONG.

I only vomited once, for 3 hours. After that, it’s just dry heaves. What a relief…NOT.

The sweating was non-stop, for almost a week. Happy New Year.

Oh, and then came the diarrhea. Non-stop with massive abdominal cramps. I thought I was giving birth to demons.

Did I mention I was taking the narcotics for pain? Well, the pain returned. Actually, it never really went away. Narcotics just made it livable. But now it was back and bigger than ever. And, there was a new pain in my abdomen, just under my ribs. Wouldn’t go away.

Finally decided to maybe go to the local ER (not a hospital) down the street to get checked out so we had a friend drive us (my wife came along just for fun). Our friend dropped us off and said he’d be back if we needed us.

I got checked in and they gave me one of those ridiculous gowns that cover nothing and wheeled me into a room. Nurses dutifully checked my vitals and listened to me complain and then a doctor came in and pressed a few times on my abdomen and spoke to the nurse and told me he was ordering an ultrasound.

I though he wanted to check on the baby I was about to deliver.

Ultrasound tech came in and performed her duties fairly quickly and left. Nurses returned and set up an IV.

Doctor came in and said that the ultrasound showed my gallbladder was inflamed and had to be removed so they were sending me by ambulance to the hospital for surgery.

Oh, great.

So, a ride in the ambulance gets me to the hospital and they hook me up to a saline drip to hydrate me. I haven’t eaten in days so I’m pretty empty.

I get to a room and my wife is pretty tired so she calls our friend to pick her up and take her home. We say good night, and she leaves.

I’m allowed a cup with some crushed ice so I relish that. I’m still feeling pretty lousy from the withdrawal, etc. The gallbladder pain and my other pain that I was originally taking the narcotics for has all sort of fused together and it feels like my body is just howling.

I find a few hours of sleep that night. Not many, but enough.

I was awakened at just after 5 AM by a big scary doctor. He introduced himself and said he’d be taking out my gallbladder this morning and sending me home today. I said, “Uh, ok”. He left.

I called my wife.

While I was on the phone they came to get me.

They shaved me and wiped me down and stuck things on me and hooked me up to different machines and injected a few things into my IV line.

They put an oxygen mask on me as soon as I got into the OR and that’s all I remember.

When I woke up I didn’t feel so good and they asked me if I wanted anything for pain. I said “No”.

I remember withdrawal. Vividly.

It’s not just for junkies and drug addicts.

They sent me back to my room and I fell asleep. When I woke up my wife and our friends were there. They had flown down from New England and were staying nearby so they could help out.

First thing I notice is that I have three stab wounds in my abdomen and I can’t sit up by myself because it hurts too much. Well, that’s new and different.

Doctor stops by and says “You made the right decision. That thing was bad. It had to come out. I’ll discharge you.” and walks away. Okay…

So, I though I’d be going home, but no. Nurses and the “hospitalist” want a “PT consult” so they order one.

I’m on a clear liquid diet. It stays down. I don’t put much of it down.

Next meal I’m on a liquid diet. It stays down, too. I don’t put much of it down, either.

Then they tell me I’m ok for a regular diet.

I have to call the nurse when I want to go the bathroom because I need help getting out of bed. It’s with the first bathroom trip that I learn about the diarrhea that will be with me for some time. That doesn’t stop the nurse from giving me polyethylene glycol. Twice.

That only made the diarrhea hurry the fuck up.

After that, my abdomen pain slowly lessened and then I was finally able to sit up by myself.

After two days, I finally got that “PT consult”.

I went home that day.

I’ve been back to the ER twice to get hydrated, and to replace some electrolytes. Hey, look, I’m a battery.

I saw my doctor, and I’ve lost 40 pounds in month.

I’m tired, weak, and not sleeping well.

I’ll be back posting regularly as soon as I’m able.

Please bear with me as I try to recuperate.

Thanks.

Pat

P.S. I’ve edited this to correct some misspelling in the title, and for readability.

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About PandA Trader

I am, I think... "Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience and rebellion that progress has been made." -- Oscar Wilde
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2 Responses to #HYHRD: How not to quit opioids; a hard lesson still being learned

  1. higrm says:

    Hi Pat,
    you have my sympathy and wishes for a speedy recovery. On, what I hope will be, a positive note, I can relate to your gallbladder issue. I went to a doctor 2 years ago due to stomach pain. I had some rather intrusive tests done and all revealed nothing. Afterwards, he also did an ultrasound and noted a gallstone. But he didn’t say anything else about it then. This summer the stomach pains worsened and became more frequent, always a few hours after having gone to sleep. I’d get up and lay in a warm bath for the remainder of the night, as that was the only way to get any relief. I am allergic to all over the counter painkillers I’ve tried so just grit my teeth and bear the pain. Not getting enough sleep, I finally broke down and went to the emergency room in November. They took some blood and urine and thought I was just constipated. Eventually, after the blood tests revealed some bacteria fighting antibodies they did an ultrasound. Conclusion, time to remove the gallbladder. They gave me some antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs and sent me home. Well those actually took care of the pain for a week until my surgery was scheduled, which is really fast in this country. I went in on Thursday and was home on Friday. I have the same three cuts, but the pain was tolerable the first day already. Ate just broth for a day, and then a chicken soup the next. On the third day I was eating normally. Pain from the incisions was gone, (except for the big one where they pulled out the organ, that one was tender for more than a month.) Now everything is great. I eat whatever I want. Haven’t had any stomach pain and everything is ‘regular’.
    So, I hope you quickly get relief from your surgery and can focus on your back issues to get those resolved as best you can.
    My compliments on kicking the habit, that certainly isn’t an easy thing to do when the result has such a downside.
    Get well soon,
    Higrm

    Like

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