Monday, December 21, 2009

Waking up

I lost a week. An entire week. It is gone. Just fleeting moments of memories here and there but basically gone. A little bit comes back here and there and I have to ask Mere, "did that happen? What happened? Did I dream that or was it real?" I am waking up and really feel sort of shell shocked. I didn't even know that Christmas was Friday until yesterday. It is impossible to describe how it feels to drop out of life and then come back.

LA seems like it happened so long ago. Surgery seems like a million miles away. The hospital, the ER, the MRIs, the myelograms. It was a string of events that seems so distant, but it was just a few weeks ago.

Basically, what happened was that I quit taking my pain medications. I had been on a cocktail of narcotics, anti-nausea pills, and various other meds for over a month. Once we got home I felt so much better so I quit taking the narcotics. Monday afternoon I started to feel like bugs were under my skin (similar to my reaction to c.ompazine). I went home and took some of the meds that I had taken for the dyskinesia reaction and some pain medications. I felt better that night and actually slept ok. The next morning, it was back. I felt my heart racing and I couldn't sit still. I felt like bugs were under my skin. It was SO uncomfortable, I could not sit still. I called my PCP and she told me to go to the ER. That is when they told me I was going through withdrawals. That was Wednesday. That is when I dropped out of life and didn't get back until yesterday (Sunday). The doctor offered to keep me in the hospital for the withdrawal process. They also offered m.ethadone and/or c.lonidine (a blood pressure med that has additional properties that help the withdrawal process). I had just gotten out of the hospital and didn't want to go back (but I would have stayed if I had any idea how miserable the withdrawals would be) and I didn't want to have to get on m.ethadone and then withdrawal from it so I agreed to go home with clonidine and wait it out. Keep in mind they had given me some IV a.tivan so I was already feeling better. I had no idea what the following days would be like. The ER doctor basically told me that I would not die but I would feel like I was...that was an understatement.

Apparently, Tommie and Meredith banded together that night and decided to get rid of all the drugs and make me tough it out, figuring that I would be 100% by Christmas. The alternative of weaning me and going through a long process didn't appeal to either of them. They just wanted me back to normal as fast as possible and they knew that once the withdrawals got bad I would be desperate for ANYTHING to make them stop. Their logic was sound and I'm glad that they did it that way. Tough love was what I needed, even though I spent a few days hating them both. The days that followed made everything up to that point seem like a cake walk. I don't remember much about the first 2 days except that I stayed in bed and just took c.lonidine and tried to sleep as much as possible. I didn't eat or drink. I sporadically remember Mere and the girls coming in and out of the bedroom. I remember Tommie telling me just 24 more hours, just 24 more hours, tomorrow will be better. The next 2 days Tommie basically became the drink Nazi, pouring fluids down every minute. If I wasn't drinking, she was telling me to drink. And the more I drank, the better I felt. Then the stomach cramps started...that was fun. Everything that went in, came out. Then Tommie made me eat...bland cookies, toast, and of course more fluids. Everyday got a little better and by yesterday I was actually starting to feel human again. My sleeping patterns are still really messed up and I'm still not able to eat much. G.atorade is my friend. At least now I can interact with my family and be present.

I'm still in shock over the entire experience. It still seems like something that happened to someone else. Our lives are just starting to get back to normal. There are tons of presents to wrap (we haven't even started) and the medical bills are starting to pile in (there are a lot). We are going to be climbing out of this hole for awhile, but I know we are on the right tract now. I am thankful for this experience. It has changed me in ways that I can't translate into words. It has strengthened my relationship with Mere in ways I never thought possible. I KNOW what love is. I know that I am loved. I know what is important to me. I know that there is some cosmic reason that we went through all of this. I know that it is my job to have fun and enjoy this life. And, PAY ATTENTION!

There is still a tiny little part of me that wants to crawl into a little hole and hide out....I've been so sheltered and out of the loop for so long. Now that I'm back, it is weird. Don't get me wrong, it is WONDERFULLY weird. I am so happy to be here. I'm happy to be alive. I am blessed with amazing children and a wife made of steel. Now I have to go cuddle with my girlies....ahhh....heaven.


tallgirl said...

I have been wondering about you lately. I am glad you posted. I am sorry you had to go through this. I hope you are all clear and able to have a very merry Christmas. You deserve it.

mimi said...

I've been thinking about you and I'm glad that you are starting to feel better. Hang in there! Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year!

K J and the kids said...

AMAZING ! I mean. unbelievable all that you've gone through.
There are answers you haven't even asked the questions for in your experience yet.

I am SOOO glad you are back to life. I'm SOOO glad you have such great family and friends. I can't wait to hear how that first dance goes.

Merry Christmas :)

Jen said...

So glad to hear that things are getting back to normal. I've been thinking about you guys every day. Amazing how being on those drugs for a relatively short time period can get a person hooked. Amazing and scary. Love to you guys.

Sonya said...

I'm so glad to hear that you are on the other side of this. I hope the healing continues to goes well. Enjoy your hugs! Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

as someone who suffered through withdrawals (morphine and dilaudid) i completely understand what you just went through. its hell. and you will never look at pain meds the same way. my only choice was to wean as quick quitting made my heart mess up and my kidneys start to fail. i weaned off of dilaudid over a period of 4 months and it was HELL. when mere told me what you were going through i wanted to pack up and fly out to help. its hell. pure hell. i tried to wean quick and i ended up in the hospital for 2 weeks. argh. i am so sorry. seriously. i'm glad the worst appears to be behind you. it was a joy to meet you and spend time with you. i hope you remember me. *wink*
if you ever want to talk i'm here.
hugs always