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Old 08-09-2007, 09:44 AM   #1
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Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

I am not sure where to start but here is our story....... My husband had his first back surgery 7 years ago. It was successful and we never had any regrets. He reinjured the same disc 3 years later and had a second surgery. That surgery was not successful. The surgeon tried to "fix" the problem with endless supplies of Percocets. Over time my husband developed a problem with them. I saw it and insisted that he change drs. The new dr. did the same thing. Stating that he would need to be on pain medication for the rest of his life and wrote scrips for 90 at a time. My husband continued to abuse them until we finally did an intervention with him. He decided to come clean and started on suboxone. Things have been pretty good since then until about 6 months ago when the back pain became severe. He started asking around for pain medication and one thing lead to another and we were in the same boat again. We finally found a good surgeon and he had an L4-L5 fusion back in March. He has had to take pain medication since then. I keep all the medication locked in a safe and count the pills daily. It is such a huge stress on me. There have been several times when I forgot to lock the safe and he has gotten in to them. He usally takes 5-6 5mg percocets if given the opportunity. His daily dose is 2-5mg Percocets twice daily and 10mg of Oxycontine daily. Last week I went out of town with our children and left him 4 days of medication and took the rest with me. Needless to say he took all 4 days within the first 24 hours. I blew a gasket and we decided that the pain medication must stop. He flushed what was left down the toilet telling me that they were not more important than his family and that he did have a problem with them and that they were ruining our marriage. Since then he has had 3 days of WD. NOt too bad because of the Oxy I am sure, but enough to be miserable. Now that the WD are over he is having moderate-severe pain. I know that he is still recovering from the surgery and needs something for pain but what are our choices. The percocets are not an option and he swears that nothing else helps. What do we do? Our surgeons does not know about his history of abuse. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks,
Babybulldawgs

 
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Old 08-09-2007, 02:45 PM   #2
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

I think the clear first step is telling the surgeon about the history of drug abuse. It's among the first thing I tell any new Dr I see. People with high tolerances to opiates need to let their doctors know for many reasons, only one of which is to safeguard against future abuse. Now, what the next step is, I don't know - I suspect it may involve a pain specialist.

It's a tough spot - and my prayers are with you both.
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Old 08-09-2007, 04:29 PM   #3
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

see if the dr will write a script for 10days only for 10mg methadone.let him take it as prescribed for the 10 days and see if it gets a handle on the pain.10 days is not goin to get him addicted to it and it will let you all see if it works or not.if not try something else,maybe the 25mcg fentyal patch that lasts for 72hrs i think.good luck-spark

 
Old 08-09-2007, 07:36 PM   #4
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

fentanyl, no way.. an addict will get addicted to that. whenever i see that word i get chills. fentanyl has killed so many! anybody that has just a small chance of abusing should stay away from that. If you truly think your husband has become addicted , he needs more help than you alone can give him. is there anything that can help his pain? surgery, therapy etc??

 
Old 08-09-2007, 07:38 PM   #5
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

Also, like someone else said, you must have him tell all his doctors of his abuse.. otherwise they will keep giving him opiates.

 
Old 08-09-2007, 07:43 PM   #6
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

jules,fentyal will not hurt you if you do it as scribed.its when you eat the inside of the patch and get all the narcotic at once is when yu will die.the lady said he still had aevere pain and i was just giving her some options as to what might work with him since he has a history of addiction.he cant abuse the patch unless he eats the inside of it and if he does it then he needs to be hospitalized.good luck-spark

 
Old 08-09-2007, 08:15 PM   #7
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

you are correct spark, what you are missing is that an addict WILl eat the patch, ih he is a true addict he will abuse the patch just like the pills. he needs help from the outside such as being detoxed and rehab. im not sure if that is an option for them..just my thoughts.

 
Old 08-09-2007, 08:52 PM   #8
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

you are so right jules,thank you for the warning.addicts do eat the patch.this is something i never did but had the chance to many times,just to scared of it and it being so strong.good night jules and thanks for all your help here -spark

 
Old 08-10-2007, 05:56 AM   #9
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

Thanks for all of your responses. My husband only abuses Percocet. We have had many other things (including Oxycontin, Diazepam and Dilaudid) at his disposal and he has never abused them. He feels the most comfortable with the Percocet because he feels he knows how much he can "safely" take. I am hoping that this exaccerbation of pain is just due to his body craving the Percocets and will subside in a few days, but I dont know. Has anyone been in a situation where you were taking pill for true pain? I just really dont want to start him on any other pain medication due to the risk of addiction. Ijust feel like we cant go through that again.

I am still so confused over the addiction issue. How does this happen? My husband has had access to pain medication his whole life due to chronic kidney stones. Up until 4 years ago (when he started anti-depressants) he has never even considered taking more than prescribed. He has gone through a year on Suboxone and therapy. He beat this once, but then the surgery happened. They say that it can take a year to fully recover from this type of extensive surgery. I hope that we can do this without pain medication. I just dont think we have an alternative.

Thanks again for your posts.

 
Old 08-10-2007, 07:52 AM   #10
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

Baby, my son abused and became addicted. he abused all opiates and some benzos. his addiction did not start from actual pain. it was more from depression anxiety etc... he was using to make himself numb. So, im sorry but i guess i cant help you. i do think that you should always keep in mind that your husband could become an addict very easily from percocets. keep eyes open and take care.

 
Old 08-10-2007, 10:17 AM   #11
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

In all likelihood, the fact that your husband started abusing at about the same time he started anti-depressants is coincidental. Addiction is a mysterious disease - What we don't know is far greater than what we do. After any considerable time on opiates, a person will develop a couple of things. The first is tolerance - it will take more percocets today to give the same pain relief as it took a month ago. The second is physical dependence - this means that suddenly stopping will make a person sick. Addiction is the term used when the drug use begins to have significant negative impacts on the quality of life - when the drug use becomes more important than the responsibilities and pleasures we all experience.

There is significant evidence showing that addiction can happen in multiple ways. I was born an alcoholic - from the first time I took a drink I had cravings for more and more. Other people develop physical dependency, and because of the unpleasantness of withdrawals triggers emotional dependence and the compulsive abuse that marks an addict. Still others have traumatic life experiences and use their drugs as an escape from the unpleasant reality of their memories.

No matter what our paths to addiction were, we need to take responsibility for our actions. The first step in that is one of honesty - recognizing what is really going on in our lives and taking steps to make it better. Any long-term freedom from the negative impacts of addiction will require your husband to be honest with both himself, and his doctors. I always feel sad for an addict who suffers from constant pain - it's a case of being damned if you do and damned if you don't. That said, there are doctors who specialize in pain management, and one may be able to help - if he has all the relevant information.
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Old 08-10-2007, 01:00 PM   #12
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

You post was very insightful. I do believe the addiction started with tolerance. It took more and more to control the pain and then the highs came along with it. It has been such a long and painful road. However, their is a light at then end of the tunnel. His pre-surgery pain is gone and now he is just dealing with post-surgery pain. I feel that now he is dependant on the pain medication verses truly addicted to them. He has not had the opportunity to take enough to get the high because I keep track of them so closely. On occasion he may have taken a few at a time but nothing like what he has done in the past. I just feel that they are hendering his recovery. He is afraid that if he gets better then the pain pills will stop and he will have not excuse for taking them. I think that this is a subconscious decision. He wants to get better better, I know that. We both want a life that does not revolve around pain and medication. But how do you get there? Will he ever be content w/o the highs of the medication? He swears that he does not get high from 2-5mg at a time. We are trying to get off the anti-depressant also since we both feel that this may have been the beginning of the addictive nature. He was on them to help him manage his back pain and now that it is gone we feel he does not need them.

Thanks again for your posts. THis is a long and painful road that affects everyone in our family. We have two small children that need their father to be 100% physically and mentally. I need a husband that I can trust and depend on without question. I hope that we have made the right decisions but only time will tell.

 
Old 08-10-2007, 05:36 PM   #13
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

Hello

Mario is very keen in his explanation there of some of the pathways to addiction. I have understood these things since a young girl and hanging around at AA clubs with my dad all day on many Saturdays. I would fool around on the piano and put nickles into the old Coke machine for a treat. The members would sit around on couches and just talk. When I was tired, I would curl up in my dad's lap and rest. I often fell asleep listening to the men and women talk and absorbed a lot I guess because many thoughts and ideas stayed with me in my subconscious. They have spilled forth into my consciousness at various times in my life.

Like your husband, my addiction started from opiates and benzos for severe medical issues. Somewhere, somehow, the dependency became so great and I didn't even understand that when it happened to me. Doesn't matter. Once we are addicted for whatever reson, we need to resolve the adiction. And whoever we are, however our addiction came about, we are all in the exact same boat getting out from under it. It is hard emotionally and physically and takes its toll for sure. However, it can be done. It does not matter if the adddict who gives advice is recovering from street use or mdical use... detox and recovery is the same hard job and we all need a heck of a lot of encouragement to make it.

Truthfully, I would not (did not myself) come off antidepressants before coming off the opiates. The antidepressants will ease the withdrawal a great deal. Coming off an antidepressant is just as difficult as coming off opiates and any other brain chmical altering drug. Great anxiety is produced as our brains struggle to regain control of its function. Do not make the strain on the brain any greater than necessary! One day at a time, one thing at a time.

I think it is serendipity that the uppage in drug use coincided with the start of the antidepressants. I feel your husband's drug use caused depression ( this is what long term opiate use does). We often up our opiate use to try and self medicate and stop the depression, not understanding that that is exacatly what is excasberating the depression and causing it to deepen. It is a vicious circle and one that I certainly was going round and round in.

Please, consult a doctor about this. Hubby and you are still self-medicating him by trying to decide yourselves what the answer may be and what drugs to stop first, together, when and how. Gently I say... neither of you has skill in this, no experience and not a lot of knowledge. Go to a doctor who does. It is not something to learn by trial and error methods. Too much can go wrong. Too much failure can occur. Too much is at stake.

Wishing you well and hoping to read more from you.

In peace
reach

 
Old 08-10-2007, 07:17 PM   #14
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

You know reach has such a great way with words. I do believe that an addict is an addict is an addict.......any which way you get there. I just am at a loss when it comes to legititmate pain? Reach, how can you tell someone to try to get off opiates when its the only thing that works to control pain? i feel for baby, she has little children and is trying to help her husband. But, i guess just by coming onto this board she has real concerns about addiction..

 
Old 08-10-2007, 07:52 PM   #15
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Re: Husband is post surgery and having problems with pain medication

Hello All

Just a response to Jules question:

[Reach, how can you tell someone to try to get off opiates when its the only thing that works to control pain

For me, the answer to this question became paramount when the use of opiatres to mask the pain became less important than my struggle to get out from under the horrible depression the opiates helped cause in me. I had to make a decision... die in depression or try to live in pain. All the gray areas fell apart and it came down to simople black and white. Few things in life are blaack and white, but this decision for me was. I made the decision in desperation and came out of it in joy. Joy and no where near the pain I anticipated and feared and, even more stunningly, no where near the pain I ws in while on the opiates.

I have learned and come to understand so much more about opiate use on a pratical level. Opiates mask pain, they do not treat pain. And use over a long term period actually will increse pain levels. This is just a property of opiates. Also, while on opiates and having pain masked, I way overdid walking around on my leg when I should have been resting with it elevated. Nevermind the damage I was doing riling up the nerves damaged in my legs... I was having episodes of cellulitis caused by overworking a leg with lympahtic issues. Didn't feel the pain of the bad swelling and get off of it in a timely manner. This led to the cells being open to infection and I ended up in the hospital many times being treated for tremendous swelling and infection in the leg. The leg that was saved by cuttting edge cancer surgery and aggressive treatment was being abused and put into jeopardy because I kept taking more and more opiates to mask the pain.

I think opiates masking the pain is a good thing initially when recovery is happening. After that, I believe sincerely that we must find other solutions to the pain and that they are there if we know how and what to look for. Coming off opiates was like necessity became the mother of dicovery for me. I found the muscle pain was relieved greatly by walking and stretching the muscles. I do specific leg exercises learned in physical therapy. You know, wheh I was regular in physical therapy, I felt pretty good. When my official visits ended, I started to get lazy at home and did not keep up the exercise. Also, I have discovered that magnesium works as well as the benzos keeping the nerve pain at a mimimum. And I have changed in my thinking about pain.

So, a big answer to a short question. Chuckles. And I guess my bottom line is this... I never tell someone to come off of pain meds for chronic pain. I may think it, but I never advise it. I can only tell my own story and the truths I have found for me in my experiences. My experience tells me that opiates are not the only way to control pain. It is a convenient way to mask pain, it is sometimes a necessary way to mask pain for some period of time. For me, it will never again be a permanent way for me to deal with pain. I have been graced with a chance to live, truly live, again. I do not want to jeopordize this chance and it has led me to many new beliefs and joys. I have pain, but what I have more is a restored life emotionally and spiritually. It is a good balance for me.

reach

Last edited by reachout; 08-10-2007 at 07:52 PM.

 
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