A trip too far

On Monday I was at the Doctors, as I needed to sort out my prescription quantities for some of the medication I was prescribed from the Hospital. I didn’t see my usual Dr, but the one who sent me to Hospital with the knee abscess New Year who is also very good. She increased the quantity of Oxynorm, which is morphine liquid style, per repeat prescription so it lasts me longer than a week and a half. I was after a plan to slowly come off it but the whole appointment just seemed strange. I told her about the worst Hospital experience of my life, that I felt rough and low, but thought most of it was because of the medication. She mentioned a blood test to see how my haemoglobin levels were and then that never materialised, not even an appointment with the nurse to have the blood test done. She told me that I had been through a lot, surgery, anaesthetics, pain etc. etc. not to beat myself up about slow progress, enjoy taking it easy, no rush to come off the meds and then I was out. I felt like I had wasted an appointment space really and apart from the repeat prescription to drop off in the chemist that was it. Normally after I’ve been on strong medication (like Tramadol, Gabapentin and Oramorph) a couple of weeks and I’m getting over the tiredness, starting to get used to them and the side effects wore off. Not this time, oh no, I am still fighting to keep myself awake, sleeping till stupid O’clock in the morning, well nearly afternoon. I’ll have to monitor it, if it continues I’ll go back and ask them to check my blood again. It could possibly be the red blood cells have taken a bit of a dive again and that’s what’s causing the problems, not the medication.

Yesterday I was up at 08:00, yes you guessed it my body was but the rest of me was still in bed, a rush to get ready for the trip to see Nan. She’d been in a Nursing Home for 6 weeks as she’d had a couple of falls. She’s now living at my Uncles with them and there is a carers package too. This would be the first time we’d seen her since she come out of the home, so we were off to Essex. I sat in the front of the car and Mum and Cody were in the back. The car brochure would probably term the seats as firm, for me and my stump I would call it a bit hard. I can’t use my wheelchair in my Uncles bungalow so its crutches all the way around there. I was please to get out of the car and stretch off a little then managed fine with the crutches, which was a relief. We sat out in the conservatory where Nan was, it was great to see here and she was looking and sounding much better than she was in the home. Even though she has trouble hearing, even with her hearing aids in, she just likes to be around us and listening to conversation (as much as she can) and watching people to help pass the time. The chairs in the conservatory have a lovely padded cushion on them but they’re not deep seats. Sitting upright put pressure on the stump and if I slouched a bit then the stump had no support at the end. After a short period of time I pulled another chair close to put the end of the stump on which was much better. We had a wonderful roast dinner there again and thankfully, after a little chair jiggling, I could get my stump underneath the table which meant I didn’t need a tray to eat off of. I lost the support of the stump though and dinner was painful. By then I have to say I had got to the point of wanting a magic wand to get me home, even the medication didn’t seem to be helping then either. We stayed a while later and then it was time to lift and shift to beat the rush-hour traffic. Of course, I was just dreading the trip back and the whole journey had an element of clock watching to it, mile watching I suppose. To take my mind off it I was looking at the logos and font styles on vans and lorry and thinking about the logo for my business, if I ever get going with it. I had a light tea and then headed to bed, I don’t even know what time it was, I just know it was early. I read for a while and then was so tired I snuggled down for more sleep. For the first time in quite a while now the pain was just too much, when I did manage to drop off I had a bad dream so woke up sweating but thinking I’d been asleep for ages. When I looked at the clock it was 23:30 so I hadn’t been asleep for too long maybe an hour. I was wide-awake then and at 01:30 (instead of 02:00) I had my Oxynorm and eventually went back to sleep. This time I was really shattered and stayed asleep till my morning medication alarm went off at 08:00.

It was a trip too far too soon, but with everything there was a lesson learned. It is just over a month since the surgery but there were more issues than with any surgery I’ve had before. The three lots of anaesthetic at the beginning of the year and I think my body is just screaming “enough!”. I don’t think I’m beating myself up about the recovery time, or frustrated and chomping at the bit like I was after the amputation. Sure I want to start reducing the amount of medication I’m on as for me that is a priority but I also have to control the pain. I just want to start feeling more alive and not constantly sleeping, tired, unmotivated, drugged, spaced and just existing from day to day. I’ve never felt like this before and thought it would have passed by now, it hasn’t so I just have to keep an eye on things and take each day as it comes. This recovery is obviously going to take more time than anything before so for me it’s new learning curve and the way I recover from this surgery will be different to what has gone before.

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2 Responses to “A trip too far”

  1. Have you thought about or discussed using cannabis?

    I was on heavy doses of Oxynorm & Oxycontin for severe neuropathic pain and like you, was sick of feeling like I was never fully awake or as sharp as I should be. A consultant suggested (off the record) that I try cannabis to manage the pain and come off the morphine-based drugs.

    Best advice I have received in the six years since my accident.

    I wouldn’t smoke so started with biscuits and moved onto something called a vaporiser (fantastic bit of kit). I was off the morphine within two or three weeks and to be honest, the pain management was better.

    I have gradually cut back the cannabis to the point that I never need to touch it anymore and my pain is still under control.

    You may have strong views on the issue but thought it was worth mentioning

    Take care

    • I did use Cannabis for a while about 5 years ago for pain relief, it did work well and helped a lot. Eventually I spoke to a Physio about it, she asked if I’d used Amitriptyline before as it worked in a similar way to Cannabis. I spoke to my GP about using Amitriptyline and the Physio was right, it worked and I came off the Cannabis. I’m taking a small dose of Amitriptyline and a large dose of Gabapentin (that does the same job on the nerve pain) at the moment. I have to admit they are working now and that seems to be under control. The main pain I’m feeling is more muscle, tissue, physical rather than nerve so I’m not sure if the Cannabis would be as effective. It was a great suggestion though and I think for people who have suffered/are suffering chronic pain you are willing to try most things to find something that works. Because of my Role with the Army Cadet Force I don’t feel it would be right to use illegal drugs now. I can get referred back to the pain team but I’m hoping that in the not to distant future I will be reducing the amount I take and be able to stop them all together. I’m really pleased that it worked so well for you and thank you for the suggestion. I’m willing to discuss anything on the blog though so feel free to comment and throw in suggestions that you think may be useful to me or others. Thanks again :)

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