iatrogenic opioid addiction stole my life

by susan

In the 2nd grade, I developed tracheal bronchitis (actually contracted from pet dog with 'kennel cough')with chronic bouts for many years.

First, my pediatrician put me on codeine- the tiny pure pills for years. The 1st time, I went thru withdrawal was in the 4th grade.

By my 20's, I injured my neck and had surgery which resulted in non-union of fusion & much worse pain. They did a myleogram which further injured me causing severe pain at the puncture site & severe headaches. I went to visit a pain specialist. I was put on high doses of oxycontin with 10 mg pills of hydrocodone for break thru pain for 6 years.

I took all medications as directed, but 2 hours before my last drs appointment, I received a phone call from my dr. He informed me that the dea had just raided him and he was no longer allowed, to prescribed schedule 2 medications.

I thought oh well. I can deal with it. BUT I tried to get out of bed and my legs buckled and I hit the floor. The sickness was beyond unbearable and wouldn't alleviate. No dr would take on the former pain patients of the busted dr. In desperation, I had to start driving 2 hours (1 way) to a methadone clinic which was a nightmare & became my whole nightmare of a life.

Almost daily, the clinic dosing nurse, would encourage us to raise our doses. Finally, I found myself in a haze at 120 mgs a day. Repeatedly, I went to detox units & rehabs where I'd be so sick, I was in a wheelchair. My blood pressure was uncontrollable. From so low that I'd faint to so high, it was dangerous.

My legs would buckle when I attempted to walk. Once, I went an entire month with barely any sleep, unable to eat, walk or function. Then buprenorphine was legalized in the US. The dr put me on 40 mgs, per day- 24 mgs in the am & 16 mgs in the pm. I did this for about 3 years.

The dr's son was the clinics 'counselor'. He was also a severe addict. He constantly 'nodded off' during sessions and bummed(the 'scripts his father wrote) benzos and subs from me.

Anyway, I asked this 'counselor', "How long do people need to take this medicine before they can start weaning down and get off of them entirely?" He replied, "This is a miracle drug, Susan. The miracle is that you're already cured, you just don't realize it".

I left that office walking on air! A miracle indeed! After all, the drs son- my counselor told me so! Despite having a new prescription, I found a drug rehab. Figuring that since, I was no longer physically addicted, I'd go to rehab, to help my mind and to start a new life without opioids/opiates.

I've been thru unbearable hell before but nothing could prepare me for the shock of my lifetime, I was about to endure. The first, 2 days were very rough. By the 3rd day? I was in a wheel chair again. Went days with no sleep. I began having seizures (NEW) The sickness was beyond unbearable but by the 4th & 5th days? On top of the worse, most unbearable sickness, I ever felt, I was now experiencing intermittent BLINDNESS. Yeah. Literally was blinded.

The pain & anxiety were unbearable. I was shocked that sub drs counselor son, told me such a wicked lie. Upon entering rehab, they give you a survey and make you list all of the drugs, you've ever done & those you're having problems with. I answered honestly. The ONLY drugs, I've ever done were prescription drugs BUT the intake counselors will say, "Oh my. These drugs are your 'only' problem? These beds are highly sought after and we must take 'the worst of the worst' So really jazz it up, exaggerate so we can get you in here". They literally force you, to LIE and claim , you're abusing street drugs.

The truth about rehab is that it helps less than 3% of those who enter. After, I left rehab, an addiction specialist told me that my DNA had been completely altered & I would NEVER be able to live a normal life without opioids ever again. My brain is literally broken.

Now I'm physically disabled and forced to pay over 1/3 of my monthly income to the legal drug dealers running the 'sub shops'. I'm forced to travel over 200 miles ever 27 days. The Sub drs say, "Its just like being a diabetic. You'll need to take subs, the same as a diabetic takes meds". Sure. Diabetics dr's appointments & medicines are covered by insurance. Sub patients are on their own.

I now take about 2mgs of sub, a day. That's the smallest amount, I can somewhat function on. Haircuts, new shoes/clothes, movies, restaurants are a distant memory and unobtainable. I can live with that. Now, I eat once, every other day. I weigh 88 lbs. I keep the thermostat at 56 degrees.

Remember Nancy Reagan's slogan, "Just Say NO To Drugs"? It's the prescription drugs that are ruining lives of unsuspecting people. We're always told to , "Listen to your dr". Take my advice and DO NOT listen to your doctor. Listening to drs ruined my life and there are countless people in my shoes. NEVER EVER take prescribed opioids/opiates especially, the long acting ones.

Parents and children need to be warned. Listening to drs ruins far too many lives.

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