If you read my previous blog you would have learned I had emergency gallbladder surgery recently. It started with an ER visit on a Monday that called for Tramadol for the pain and some stomach acid controlling stuff, until I could get in with a surgeon in 2-5 days. Tuesday, I'm home, taking my meds and call the surgeon for an appointment which they fit me in for on Wednesday. Good, keep taking pain meds as prescribed. They took the edge off of the pain and enabled me to sleep. Wednesday, I go to the surgeon and I'm informed that a bed is ready for me and my husband is to drive me over there immediately to stay the night and be on standby for surgery the next day. The surgeon also prescribes Tramadol during my additional 3 day stay after my surgery. On the day I go home, the doctor on duty (not my surgeon) decides to switch the Tramadol to Hydrocodone. OK, whatever. I still had a day and a half left of Tramadol from the ER doc so I just took the rest of that as it was prescribed and since I'd already been on it for 6 days. When the Tramadol was gone and it was time for another dose of pain meds, I still felt like I'd been hit by a truck so I started the Hydrocodone which began a 3 day journey of the mind.
You see, some people can take a hydrocodone and be out for days. Me? It jacks me up. The pain is gone, but I can't sleep. Every time I close my eyes, I see flashing lights, and the trauma that my body just went through and how it could have been prevented starts going round in my head. I took that first dose at 7pm in the evening and it had me up till 7am the next morning when I managed to go to sleep for 2 whole hours right after taking another dose before my phone started ringing and people started knocking on my door. There was no going back to bed. My brain would not shut off. I blame the cup of coffee I had that afternoon for being wide awake. I thought my tolerance for caffeine might have changed since I hadn't had any for almost a week. That wasn't the case. It was on night three at 7pm that I took my last dose. Just before I took it, I was aching hard in my gut and I had the shakes. The prescribed dose took the pain away, but this girl was wide awake. It was obvious it was the hydrocodone, and I had to stop taking it but it was going to be hours before it was out of my system. It was at about 4am that the shakes started. I've heard of people having "Jimmy Legs" but I'd never experienced it before. Imagine sitting on the toilet and your legs are jumping up and down like jumping beans. They can't be stopped. The only thing that is going to stop the hand and leg shaking is getting this crap out of me and that was going to take hours. I didn't care. Pain was better than this. Sleep was the one thing I needed the most for my body to recover, I could sleep with pain when I was tired enough. I couldn't sleep at all on Hydrocodone.
There was a scary moment there around 5am when I though I was going to jump out of my skin. How do people get addicted to this stuff? It is literally the devil to me. After 11+ years of having a gallbladder issue misdiagnosed as panic attacks and then a doctor who changed my pain meds to something different that I'd been taking in the hospital I was pissed. I needed something to lift me up, to get angry enough to fight the withdrawal I hadn't asked for...and I found it. I found performances on youtube from the Sex Pistols reunion shows back in 2012. One of the best ones from the show is "Anarchy in the UK". At 51 years old, John Lydon gives his angriest face and delivers a gut wrenching performance that blows your hair back. It makes you want to tell anyone who has ever pissed you off exactly what you think of them. It gave me the moxy to say "screw this" and call my doctor after the shakes stopped and their office was open for what my other options were for pain management. I've always known that music had the power to heal, but when it comes to withdrawal, sometimes you need something a little more aggressive. Thank you John Lydon, you may call yourself a really bad friend, but damn if you didn't get me through one of the darkest nights in my memory.
God save the KING OF THE PUNKS!