Medication & Me – Chronic Pain

Medication.  Where do I even start!  5 years ago I took tablets, pretty much like everyone does.  The odd paracetamol for a sore head, ibuprofen for aches and pains and that used to be about it. Oh how I miss those days, the random days, the day you just have this aching pounding sore head, or the day your wrist hurts because you’ve done too much typing,  no problem, ibuprofen and *poof*, pain was pretty much gone in an instant (well the time it takes to kick in of course!).

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I’d have to live my life round taking medication, that unless I took it, I wouldn’t function for the rest of the day, that some would me me like a zombie, others would make me the grumpiest person in the world. Who’d have thought medication can do this to a person. I sure didn’t, I mean paracetamol, well everyone takes it don’t they?

When I first went to see the GP about my back (it wasn’t the current GP I have now) I was given all different types of medication to take. Never have so felt much like a guinea pig.  They didn’t have the slightest clue how to treat me, so it was almost like I was just handed tablets, told to see if they worked and dismissed.  It was only after every appointment when I researched the medication given that I knew what I was taking, and even then I was only relying on “Wikipedia” to give me the answers I was searching for.

I’ve a whole list of medication I’ve been given over the years and every one of them failed to work.  Each course of medication had their own side effects which mostly where horrible.  Gabapentin, Amitriptyline, both given to try and relax my muscles did nothing but make me permanently dizzy, physically sick, tired and grumpy – so both of these were promptly stopped and another box of pills given in its place, and another set of side effects to cope with. 

By far the worst ever medication I was given was Fentanyl Patches.  I hate these things with a passion.  I was given them to try and help ease the constant pain I’m in daily, they didn’t.  I was told to give it atleast a month for them to be in my system before I’d notice any difference.  The difference? I felt sick every day, I threw up at any given chance, I couldn’t walk in a straight line, I was exhausted, I couldn’t eat or drink, and all because of a 1cm x 1cm patch on my arm.  They did nothing for my pain, but everything else possible to my body, so after 6 weeks I asked the doctor if I could please come off them, I remember almost begging her (again not my usual GP). So I was given instructions on how to reduce the patch over the next 2 weeks.  Great, off i went, followed her instructions till I ended up wearing no patch and I started to feel “normal” again.  Little did I realise I was about to get the biggest scare possible.

At 4 am one morning I was woken up by my heart.  It was literally pounding out of my chest and my god it hurt. I tried everything, breathing in and out slowly, cold water, sitting up in bed, but it only seemed to be getting harder and it was hurting. I panicked.  My husband heard me up so he woke up and saw the state of me, put his ear to my chest and said “Yip, i think we need to go to A&E”.  Terrified.  Luckily we have an A&E department at the local hospital, so he drove me round.  I was getting so stressed out, I could barely walk, barely breath, and when I was asked to explain what was happening and give all my information I had nothing but tears and panic attacks to give her.  I was laying on the bed, hooked up to a heart monitor, which scared the living daylights out of me.  That’s when I realised this was serious.  After what seemed like a life time, me still in my jammies, both of us shattered, the on-call doctor arrived at 7am.  I had calmed down by then and so did my heart, and he proceeded to tell me that my body was going through withdrawals from the Fentanyl.  I, infact and unbeknown to me had become addicted to these tiny patches.  Addicted.  I was an addict and I had never even realised.  Ive never been addicted to drugs so how was I supposed to know!  After all that I was allowed to go home with some more tablets just to keep my heart from racing again.  I’ve never been so drained, 10 days it took me to get over my “addiction” and those 10 days I never ever want to repeat.  

I guess that’s why I’m so stubborn when it comes to what medication I’m on now, I’m so wary of what I’m being given, and if possible I will take the weakest form possible or avoid it at all costs and put up with the pain I’m in.  Not ideal, but when you get a massive scare like that, is it any wonder?

So now I I live my life round medication, going from one dose to the next, eating to take tablets even though your not hungry, and all just to be able to function throughout the day.  I take nearly 20 tablets a day, just to keep me going, and I hate it, I hate living this way.  I never dreamed this would be my life, but the reality is, it is my life now.  

What I’d give just to have the random headaches or wrist pain….


**please note medication side effects vary in different people, this is my view and my experience alone.  Please discuss any concerns with your doctor**


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