I have tried to be open about the fact that i am addicted to prescription pain medicine. Between 2009 and 2013 I went through nine surgeries, and every operation led to medical professionals prescribing insane amounts of opioid painkillers.
I have never taken an illegal drug, I do not drink alcohol. Hell, I have never even smoked marijuana. I saw so many people doing bad things when I was playing in bars as a teenager that I never wanted to get drunk or high.
Unfortunately, a life well lived is no defense against medical professionals overusing opioid pain medicine.
In 2014 I came home to Crisfield for a few days. My weight was around 314 lbs. My blood sugar was so high it was practically pancake syrup. I had diabetic neuropathy so bad that I could hardly walk. I was on so many painkillers that I was only vaguely aware of where I was. Dear Old Dad took one look at me and contacted our family doctor.
The family doctor went over my medicine list and told me that he would not prescribe this many painkillers to a terminal caner patient. He went on to explain that I was addicted to opioid pain medicine and gave me the choice of continuing with the pain medicine or going on a program to get free of the stuff. He made it clear that staying on the pain medicine would probably kill me.
I drove down to Chincoteague and spent the say watching the ocean waves and thinking about my options . . .that’s a fancy way of saying that I spent the day staring at the ocean feeing sorry for myself smoking cigarettes and pigging out on fried chicken. In the end, against my wife’s wishes, I stayed in Crisfield and started on the treatment program.
It was not easy, but I have been drug-free since 2014 and my weight is down to 223 lbs. End of story, right?
Anybody who follows this site knows I am prone to debilitating headaches. Ever since a serious car accident back in th mid-1980’s I have been prone to serious headaches. Some doctors say it’s cluster headaches, others say migraines but nobody has been able to help with the pain. After the recent five-day headache we contacted the headache center at Johns Hopkins and they are willing to see me . . . once I am off the medicine I am taking to manage withdrawal symptoms.
Since 2014 I have managing my addiction with a drug called Suboxone. The drug interacts with the opioid receptors in my brain to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. With my freaky Costello self-control I have been able to get by on the lowest possible dose of the drug. From day one I was assured I could step away from Suboxone at any time.
So I went to my doctor in Crisfield. I told him about the headache center and that I could get in for treatment as soon as I got off Suboxone.
The doctor went crazy. He got furious and told me to just stop taking the
Suboxone. He walked alway ignoring my offer of a handshake.
Message received. Time for a new doctor.
I met with my new doctor and she gave me the hard news that getting off of
Suboxone is not as easy as the other doc had assured me. If I had gone off cold turkey I could have gotten really sick.
In order to get a new Suboxone prescription I must enter a drug rehabilitation program and go through a twelve week course. No exceptions for my unique situation.
I started the program today. Two hours group therapy in a room where I stand out like Pee-Wee Herman in a group of Green Berets.
Dear Old Dad says that this is happening for a reason. I guess he is right. On the way home from my entrance interview I saw a red tailed hawk catching its prey. Later on, I saw a massive flock of snow geese. Both sightings are thought to be good omens.
Tomorrow I have to meet with the audiologist at Johns Hopkins. The next day I am back in group. I could waste time pulling my hair and cursing my fate, but it would not change anything. For some reason I am supposed to be there, so I will make the most of it.
The Daily Frail will continue to be posted daily. I will post to YouTube as time and energy permit. In twelve weeks I will go back to my usual work schedule.
Wish me luck.