Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pain Medication Purgatory

Intense pain has been my companion for almost a week now. I was up Tuesday to Wednesday night in so much pain I was inconsolable, screaming and crying in agony. Not a very pleasant thing. Out of all the nights I had spent in pain, Tuesday night was the worst of them. Now how did I manage to get into so much pain? Its story time here folks, so sit down, grab your drink of choice (if you’re a softie I recommend something stiff) and prepare for a story that in a perfect world would only be fictional. But I don’t live in a fictional world where I can play hopscotch with aliens so this story is completely real. Let’s begin!

NSAID’s like any other medication out there can have unexpected side effects. The NSAID I was on, Peroxicam was working great for me. In terms of pain management it was the best daily drug I had ever had to fight the pain. But I had to stop taking it. Why on earth would I do that? ‘Seems like a pretty idiotic move, right? Peroxicam in it’s marvelous wonders caused my stomach and intestines to bleed. I don’t think there are many things more startling than seeing lots of blood with movements and basically having a period out your anus. Believe me, not my idea of fun. Best of all, such a side effect can occur with no warning like it did for me and one has to stop the medication immediately. So I did… and the pain crept stealthily in. Phone calls to Children’s and my GP ensued. Rhuemetology told me no pain meds period, GP told me it was okay to take Tramadol (a narcotic). So I went with my GP since the Rhuemetologist on call who reviewed my case also was one who I saw who had accused me of being suicidal, being physocosematic and black carding me with Fibromyalgia. Believe me… when she saw the test results roll in… she was lost for words. But that’s a different story completely.

Tramadol for me is an excellent thing. It basically splices, dices and obliterates any pain I have when I need serious pain relief. So, for the first night I was under the influence of Tramadol and slept like a baby. Then came the day… no Tramadol. I don’t want to ever take more than one or two per 24-hour period not only because it’s strong but also it’s as addictive as morphine. If you haven’t guessed it by now, Tramadol is a pretty good narcotic. So the first day without pain meds was miserable, as well all the others. Let’s fast forward to Monday.

Monday afternoon I roll (more like crawl) into the doctor’s office. I explain to my much-trusted GP what has happened and the first thing out of his mouth was “When is your appointment for UW rhuemetology?” As of right now, it is “to be determined.” He then wracked his brain for what to do. Putting a newly turned eighteen year-old on daily narcotics is not a wise choice. So, he instead prescribed me Lodine. Over the next roughly 50 hours I took five doses and had only very minimal pain relief. Lodine is like Naproxsyn and Alieve to me, sugar pills. Alas, still in tons of pain. Come late Tuesday night after I had gotten done skyping with a friend, my pain became way too much for me to handle anymore. Didn’t sleep at all, I was in was too much pain. Pretty much I was curled up in the fetal position shaking and sobbing. It takes a ton of pain to get me to the point of curling up and just shutting down. On Wednesday mom got me out of the house and to the fabric store, if nothing else for a distraction. I picked out fabric just like all the other arthritic little old ladies were, very slowly. While we were at the fabric store my GP searched high and low for some Celebrex samples. The pharmacy would not have it in until today after three. Another night in intense pain was out of the question. He luckily found some and my big comfy nurse made sure the samples made it to the front desk. I crawled in and crawled out, praying it would give me some relief. I took my first dose last night and about an hour later I started feeling a bit of relief. Things just got better from there. All flaked out on the couch with my loyal stuffed animal named “Michael Bear” I passed out. Slept and slept gloriously. I cannot begin to express how happy I am right now. My pain is far less. My joints are no longer radiating like a thousand suns. I can actually stand up straight. All very good things. In terms of a pain scale number I’m about a 4/10, which is tolerable for me. I’m hoping once it builds up in my system I can get down to a 2/10. Only time will tell.

During the entire time of pain med purgatory I was extremely cranky. Thank you everyone for your well wishes and company. I honestly don’t know what I would do without such awesome friends. Guaranteed I will be far more cheerful for you since I am in less pain. Hopefully on Saturday I will be able to go for a light and slow run (possibly even swimming!) Life should start to pick up again for me and I look forward to it.

Little extra something… a list from sugar pills to good stuff of what works for my level of pain. Read and be informed.

Sugar Pills- Alieve, Tylenol, Naproxsyn, Asprin, etc.
Ever so slightly effective (Sugar with a tad bit of oomph)- Lodine
Pretty Effective/Adequate most days- Peroxicam (Celebrex will probably fall into this category but as of right now, it’s TBD.)
Absolutely Amazing Epic relief- Fairly high doses of Tramadol