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Prescription medications are fearsome. I know this. I am, at the very least, dependent upon them.

Pain, everyday, is overwhelming for me. It can bring tears to someone who refuses to cry. I can hold back any emotion, but pain can reduce me to a babbling idiot. And, pain is what I live in twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. ‘Round Midnight and around the clock. It stinks. I am not alone. Chronic, progressive diseases afflict a great many of us. Mine is auto-immune; there is no cure. There is no surgery.

But there are prescription medications.

Oh, the euphoria that can occur twenty to thirty minutes after combining an opiate with a benzo. Wanna have a little fun? Throw in a nerve blocker. Instant daze. You can feel people get further away from you. You hear but you cannot listen. You listen but you don’t really care what’s being said, because you know you’ll never remember it. Not that you care.

Don’t eat, though! Drink a little caffeine to accelerate the effect, but don’t pad your belly with anything that might inhibit the euphoria. They’ll still work if they’re swimming among a meal, but not as intensely, and it’s the intensity of the very absence that you’re after.

And it’s all legal; it’s all good. If you’re in a better mood one day you can scrimp and skip a dose or two, which works out wonderfully for the day when you just don’t want to be in the day. You have an extra. You’ve got to pill count; you have to make sure you get through until the insurance company will cover the next refill.

Yes, it’s all legal, but it’s all bad. Very, very bad. If you have any leanings toward an addictive personality, you’re screwed to the tenth power. I do. I am.

I’m not actually doing anything for my disease but masking the symptoms. The only medication I take that actually helps is a “disease modifier”, composed of human hormones and injected every twelve days. This cannot stop the disease, it cannot make it go away; but it can slow the progression. All the rest of it simple masks the effects of it.

I imagine my pain growing worse each and every day. And, maybe it is. But I really can’t know because I continue to mask it. As an opiate wears off you feel some pain, so you have another. As an opiate wears off you also get cranky, so you have another. Ditto a benzo. You get cranky and anxious, so you have another. When a nerve blocker wears off, your nerves come alive again, so you take another to knock them back down. I’m not helping myself, I am reducing myself to someone who cannot feel.

An unfortunate side effect is that I cannot think, either. I feel like my brain has turned to swiss cheese, to pabulum, to dog shit.

One day, constipation. The next, diarrhea. One day I’m sharp as a tack. The next, dull as a railroad spike. One day I’m friendly. The next day I am grumpy. I have lost respect for other and for myself. While I still welcome moments of total lucidity, I don’t have them for long. My acumen is at risk. My life is at risk. All within the confines of prescribed, legal medication.

I was recently blessed with yet another one to add to my palette. I haven’t filled it yet. I may, I may not. It’s non-addictive, which is good, but it can effect my eyesight. This I may not want to face head on. With a pun definitely intended, I cannot see the point. This one is for the swelling in my feet that causes me so much discomfort in the mornings. But why take that, a medication that might actually do some good, when I can simply mask the pain with something that’s doing incredible harm? Is there a credible answer? I was also blessed with the grace of my physician. I am now allowed to get stronger and more frequent dosing of the pain-killer. Ah, just exactly what I was striving for. When a doctor is stymied by a patient’s seeming lack of improvement, or worse yet, a turn toward the negative, the only recourse is to turn the easy corner and up the ante. It’s the American way, for Uncle Sam’s sake! Oh, and I’ve also been graced with permission to up the nerve blocker. It may not be addictive, but it’s the greatest way to pull the shades down over your eyes of them all.

I find myself having three choices right now:

1. Accept the increased in dosage, and risk: A) My longevity, B) My productivity, C) My relationships. Additional risks include total addiction, the possibility of doing harm to myself and/or others when I fall asleep driving home at night and standing in front of a customer with piss running down the leg of pants because I forgot to take a leak.

2. Remain at the present dosages and remain in the (truly) questionable state that I’m in.

3. See my primary physician and ask for Revia (generic: Naltrexone), which is an opiate blocker, take a week off and detox while I reread the Big Book, spend as much free time as humanly possible with my dearest AA friends and maybe even hole up in the basement quarters of my totally dear friend (and boss) where I can almost be under lock and key until I’m safe to reenter society with acuity and a sense of reality well in place.

I have some time left to decide, but in conversation with my wife last night I do find myself leaning toward option three. I must have have been in one of those rare moments of lucidity, be it silent or not.

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2 Comments

  1. Option 3 sounds like the right decision but possibly not the safest for those around you….I wish you luck in whatever you decide. I have a cert. in medications administration and there are no SAFE MEDS, REALLY !!Tough thing to solve because you obviously need relief from pain….

    • What pisses me off the most is that I was never someone interested in drugs … legal or otherwise. I’ve been free of alcohol for 9.5 years, only to have this chronic pain put me into this situation. I very often feel as though the boat that I’m in is sinking, and I’m seatbelted right into it.


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