Opioid Induced Fog

“I used to think a drug addict was someone who lived on the far edges of society. Wild-eyed, shaven-headed and living in a filthy squat.
That was until I became one…”
― Cathryn Kemp, Painkiller Addict: From wreckage to redemption – my true story


Yesterday I started a stronger opioid, I know it is one because of the warning on the pill bottle. I have been very reluctant to taking them, it is only because of the bad experience when I was on them before for severe back pain. While on them I wouldn’t remember things about the past day. My friend would find me asleep in the oddest places.

Doctors are not quick to prescribe them these days. Several years ago there were a few doctors who were called on the rug for their over prescribing them without a physical meeting. My doctor has not rushed to them as a first response to help a person with pain. Over the last year he has tried many options to help me with this pain.

I noticed today that I felt I was in a complete fog, an opioid fog. I was listening to the trial of the former police officer who kept his knee on the neck of George Floyd. It is a strange feeling when you listen to something and five minutes later you do not have a clue what was said.

I have been here before. It was this type of thing that I started having my friend sit in with me on any medical appointments. Many times he would have to explain to me the next day what my doctor had said. Because I recognized this opioid fog today I made sure that my friend knew what was happening. It was so he would be prepared if I started asking about different things.

Opioids do a great job of relieving pain, but their side effects can leave you feeling empty with your thoughts banging in your head from side to side. I will describe it this way, you are there in the moment, but your brain isn’t receiving the data.

There is not an automatic refill on these pain killers. I must talk with the doctor before any refills are considered. He may with caution change the medication from time to time to stop any long term addiction.

So, I am wondering are there readers who have a similar experience. How does your pain killers react with your thought process? What has been the worst side affect that you have had while taking a form of an opioid? I would like to hear your experiences!

Drug Resistance

Drug resistance is the reduction in effectiveness of a medication such as an antimicrobial or an antineoplastic in treating a disease or condition.[1] The term is used in the context of resistance that pathogens or cancers have “acquired”, that is, resistance has evolved. Antimicrobial resistance and antineoplastic resistance challenge clinical care and drive research. When an organism is resistant to more than one drug, it is said to be multidrug-resistant. {Source: Wikipedia}


According to Health Line:

IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT TOLERANCE

  • ToleranceTrusted Source is still not well understood. Researchers are still looking at why, when, and how it develops in some people and not others.
  • It can happen with any drug, including prescription and unregulated drugs, like cocaine.
  • Your condition might worsen because the medication isn’t working as well.
  • Cross-tolerance could occur. This is tolerance to other drugs in the same class.
  • With certain classes of drugs, like opioids, tolerance can increase the risk of dependence, addiction, and overdose.
  • When your body develops tolerance, using higher doses increases the risk of overdose.
  • A benefit of tolerance might be fewer side effects as your body gets used to the medication.

I learned about drug resistance with my severe back pain. Over time I was given Oxycodone, when that stopped working, Fentanyl. I had to change doctors because my doctor was retiring. My new physician told me that pain killers after a length of time will start causing pain the opposite of why they are given.

I think I need to go back in time here. I was experiencing greater pain and without realizing the problem when I had control of my Oxycodone I started double dosing, innocently and not on purpose.

A Horse of Another Color

“Antibiotic resistance happens when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. That means the germs are not killed and continue to grow.

Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant germs are difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat. In most cases, antibiotic-resistant infections require extended hospital stays, additional follow-up doctor visits, and costly and toxic alternatives.

Antibiotic resistance does not mean the body is becoming resistant to antibiotics; it is that bacteria have become resistant to the antibiotics designed to kill them.” {Source: CDC}

I learned about this when hospitalized in July. They now test for a Superbug:

Superbug: : An informal term for a bacterium that has become resistant to antibiotics that usually are used to treat it, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or any multidrug-resistant bacterium.

Part of this test looks like the same thing as the Covid-19 test. The long swab for the nasal cavity, the other part of the test involves swabs of the groin and the anus. It sounds horrible, but, there is no pain, maybe some embarrassment.

So dear reader if you are experiencing issues with medications that seem to have lost their zip always speak to a Physician. They will develop a plan for you to help you reach an intended goal.

Prescriptions And Blood Tests

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I thought for this post a brief alert.  I have suffered with blood clots in the past and it is for that reason I take Warfarin.  It requires frequent blood tests, preferably monthly.  

The blood test is called I.N.R, it tests for the clotting factor within the blood. Yesterday I had blood work done.  The results were expected due to the fact I have been on some new prescriptions.  It was a very high number, normal rate they like to see is around 2.5. Mine was 4+, so adjustments had to be made to my daily regiment of Warfarin.

I am writing this post to bring attention to those who take prescriptions, who need blood tests.  If your blood work is coming back with strange results maybe you should speak with your physician so that he can adjust your regiment of medications.

When I was first put on Warfarin over ten years ago I did not understand the correlation between Warfarin and the I.N.R. For more information about I.N.R   you can find it here: Health Direct

A short description is this: An INR test measures the time for your blood to clot. It is also known as prothrombin time, or PT. It is used to monitor blood-thinning medicines, which are also known as anticoagulants. The INR, or international normalised ratio, can also be used to check if you have a blood clotting problem.

So dear reader from my experience prescription medicines can affect blood tests. Do not be alarmed, speak to your physician and your pharmacist!

Elementary, My Dear…

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Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

“You will not apply my precept,” he said, shaking his head. “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” 

The Sign of the Four, ch. 6 (1890)

Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of the Four (Doubleday p. 111)

Growing up I always loved to read or watch my favorite detective, Sherlock Holmes.  I am not sure why but it was waiting at the end for Sherlock to uncover the criminal. It may be the fact that he used the tool of deduction.

Another man, my favorite lawyer, that also used the tool of deduction was Perry Mason.  I love watching the black and white re-runs starring Raymond Burr.  The scripts were basically true to the books of Perry Mason, the writer was Erle Stanley Gardner

It is also true about what I use to do, Pastors, clergy, also use the tool of deduction when assembling sermons.

I still use deduction in my every day life.  I suffer from migraines because of an allergy to tree nuts.  I do not experience much lately for I have had to carefully look and read labels.  When I do experience one I will go back in my memory and go over everything that I ate prior to that migraine.

Close to two years ago I was started on a new medication.  I started taking the medication as directed. Soon I was battling a full out stay in bed migraine.  This continued day in and day out.  Taking Tylenol 3 didn’t give me any relief.  One day my best friend started to think, he commented that the migraine started around the same time I started the new medication.  I immediately called to schedule an appointment with my specialist.  I met with him explaining my suffering of the migraine.  I told him that I thought I was allergic to the medication.  He said give me a couple of days then come back and see me. He stopped the medication, issued a prescription for a new one.  Sure enough within twenty-four hours the migraine had ceased.

So, I now never jump to one conclusion without giving all options a hearing!

A Re Blog: Opioid PainKillers and Reducing Risk — Dr. Daniel Francis

Pain is an unpleasant experience that cannot deny anyone. The causes of pain can be acute or chronic and have several underlying medical reasons. Finding the safest and most effective treatment or medication to manage pain can be a challenge for anyone. Recently, opioid painkillers, also referred to as narcotics, have been a hot topic […]

via Opioid PainKillers and Reducing Risk — Dr. Daniel Francis

Medications – Be Informed

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When you’re clinically depressed the serotonin in your brain is out of balance and probably always will be out of balance. So I take medication to get that proper balance back. I’ll probably have to be on it the rest of my life.  Terry Bradshaw
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/medication-quotes

Periodically I am going to write about medications, their use, their side effects.  I will only use my own personal medications that I am on.

Logo for WebMD All information will come directly from the website, WebMd

Amitriptyline HCL

Uses

This medication is used to treat mental/mood problems such as depression. It may help improve mood and feelings of well-being, relieve anxiety and tension, help you sleep better, and increase your energy level. This medication belongs to a class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants. It works by affecting the balance of certain natural chemicals (neurotransmitters such as serotonin) in the brain.
Drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, weight gain, or trouble urinating may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Side Effects

Drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, weight gain, or trouble urinating may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Baclofen

Uses

Baclofen is used to treat muscle spasms caused by certain conditions (such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury/disease). It works by helping to relax the muscles

Side Effects

Drowsiness, dizzinessweakness, tiredness, headachetrouble sleepingnausea, increased urination, or constipation may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Citalopram

Uses

Citalopram is used to treat depression. It may improve your energy level and feelings of well-being. Citalopram is known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). This medication works by helping to restore the balance of a certain natural substance (serotonin) in the brain.

Side Effects

Nausea, dry mouth, loss of appetite, tiredness, drowsiness, sweating, blurred vision, and yawning may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.


This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US –
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Lesson, Hard Learned

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In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson. Tom Bodett
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/lesson-quotes

The other night I went off a routine that I have at nighttime.  I usually get a coffee, take my night pills and give my dog her night treats.  For some reason I forgot the meds.

Well that night went horribly wrong.  I couldn’t get to sleep.  I tossed and turned all night. I got out of bed did some quiet things that usually helps me on nights like this.  Still sleep wouldn’t come to my eyes.  My brain just kept on racing.

At 4 a.m. I finally decided this exercise of trying to go to sleep was futile.  So, I did what I always do in the morning I call my best friend to let him know I am awake.  He then proceeds to tell me that I forgot my night meds.  You see he is the one that brings my meds for each day.  Well, that answered why a had such a horrendous night.

I found out that I will always need the meds. 

So, that was a lesson hard learned!

Routine Blahs

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When you have a system, you kind of get in a routine of what’s important. And then you spend a lot more time on thinking of things that would make it better.

Nick Saban
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/routine-quotes

When in treatment they stressed that you followed a daily regiment.  Breakfast, meditation, shower, get dressed, and many other things for the day.

I would cope quite well while there, and would do well for a lengthy period of time when back at home.  Eventually I would fall back into old habits.  Since I live alone I do not have someone to do for.  I basically follow my feelings from day to day with the exception of taking all of my medications for each day.

As of this writing I am having routine blahs, nothing seems to motivate me, nothing except lethargy which is terrible as a person that leans towards depression.  Going for walks with my dog is fine but I just cannot spark any real enthusiasm.

So here I am sitting in front of my laptop suffering with a bad case of routine blahs!

Prison, Welcome To My Life

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No, I am not in a prison with bars or stripes on my clothes.  Somehow though I truly feel it wouldn’t be any worse.

Every day is scheduled around my medications.  They dictate my life from morning to sunset.

I have a feeling I am not the only one who feels this way.  So, it is a safe guess that I am not alone in this.

  • Morning – put the coffee maker on.  Start my meds, Warfarin is first, then onto the rest of them.  I do not know anymore all the names of them for there are many.
  • Visit for some time with my best friend.
  • Pour a bowl of cereal for breakfast.  Take Naproxen.
  • Watch t.v. – more than likely fall asleep while watching.
  • Depending on whether or not if I have a doctor’s appointment.  Maybe, I may have to go for blood work, comes with the fact I take Warfarin to prevent blod clots.
  • Now time for supper, eat, and again take Naproxen.
  • Visit again with best friend.
  • Watch more t.v. – spend time with my dog, Natalie
  • Start taking my night meds.
  • Go to bed.

Next morning repeat the same as the day before.

Oh, by the way, I do find time to read all of the blog posts I follow.  Even send some emails.

There you have it, welcome to my life, prison!

Control

Before I was in treatment, before the medications, I would find myself angry because things always seemed to be going against me. Things that there was just no way for me to control.

  • Others actions. I can control my reactions.
  • Weather.  Just dress appropriately.
  • Sudden thoughts.  I don’t have to act upon them
  • Things breaking down.  Have them fixed or buy a new one.
  • The mood of others.  I can have control my own mood.

Those are things we cannot control, when it seems like my world is out of control I do have it within my power to take back control over most things.  I do not have to be governed by situations but I can navigate them with my own control.

My world may seem to be upside down, it is in my grasp to turn it upside right!

Echoes In My Mind

I have mentioned before that my mind races, seldom shuts down, when it does it is medication that causes it to.

Sometimes my problem stems from too much down time, nightime is extremely bad.  It is when echoes from the past seem to bounce around in my brain.  I seem to remember events that even those who were there cannot remember.  My youngest memory is about when I was four years old.  It was to do with a toy truck I had, my sister placed it on the heat grate from the oil furnace and it melted.

These echoes are not grudges, I do not carry those around for they will keep you in a stalemate in life.  It is just things most humans would experience and never think about it again throughout their entire life.

Even as I write this, a popular pop song is going through my mind from my youth. “Summer breeze makes me feel fine blowing through the chasms in my mind”. Only those my age and older probably will now the song.  The artist that performed it evades my memory at the time of this writing.

So, this weekend was one of those where I had alot of down time, except for Sunday with a surprise visit from my daughter most of the afternoon and evening.

I wish I knew how to cancel the echoes in my mind!

In Case Of Emergency!

About fourteen years ago I was a total wreck, suffering with extreme back pain.  It controlled everything I did.  My doctor at that time had me on Oxycontin it’s strongest dose allowed/recommended.  That turned into a nightmare for me and my best friend.  As I have written before he would come over to check on me and find me in the strangest places.  I woke up each morning looking in the kitchen sink trying to determine what I had eaten the day before.

I finally reached a point where I voiced to my doctor and psychiatrist that I wanted to be weaned off of all my pain medications.  During this time I had also used Fentanyl.  Well I had a choice stay at home or voluntarily admit myself during this process.

It was nearing the time of me being discharged.  My psychiatrist wanted an apointment with my best friend and me to have a plan in place once I left the mental health ward. The plan was I would no longer control my meds, instead my best friend would manage all of them.  That is still in place even now in 2019.

Several years later I was having difficulties with mobility.  Several times falling in my home and having to crawl to the phone to call my best friend.  There were also times I needed help just getting out of bed. I have always had a phone by my bed, at the time I could not see the dial pad in the dark.  To remedy this I went shopping – I wanted a phone that lit up in the dark, large buttons, and one with a button that I could push that would dial my best friend.  I found one, bought it, and have it by my bed.

Those two plans were part of “in case of emergency” times.

I encourage you the reader if you do not have a “in case of emergency” plan to put one in place.

Be prepared, in case of emergency!

One Size Dosen’t Fit All

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Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

In my discovery of a whole new world, was all of the different authors writing about mental health issues.

I also have written about my journey with my own mental health issues of being a bi-polar person.  Writing about such issues as journaling, diet, medications, and stays within the mental health wing of the local hospital.

Here is what I found with all my reading.  Just as each person is unique, so is the treatment for each.  All are tailor made for each individual.  Yet, there are some common things within each treatment of the issues.

So, even though I have read all of the wonderful people dealing with their own challenges – I must use discretion on trying to fit others treatments in my own handling of being bi-polar.

One size does not fit all!

Been Thinking

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Over the past two weeks has been a great experience for me.  I am amazed how much easier it has been for me to talk about my mental health.  It has opened a brand new world that I never considered that it existed, the world of WordPress.  

I have found myself immersed reading all the great blogs that are being written. A diversified group of authors, all putting their most inner feelings to words.  From them I have been gaining a new insight that for me has become my new group sessions away from the world of staying in treatment.

I took yesterday, Friday, off from writing, but my mind was still thinking about all those wonderful insights I have gleaned. 

So, here is my thinking, should I change if it is possible, the name of this blog and start a new one for the spiritual side of me.  I tried mixing it up, but I am perplexed on how to incorporate both that flows smoothly.  If I did change the name what would I call it. There lies my problem.

It is a question being processed within my thought process.  Not really sure how long it will take before I make a decision.  In the meantime I will continue to write about being bi-polar who use to be a preacher man.

What’s In A Name?

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“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”  William Shakespeare

I have been thinking about this post for several days.  I hope I can put it in writing like I am hearing it in my mind.

There are names that when they are mentioned you have a distinct definition of what they are.  Cancer, Diabetes, Arthritis, Blindness, all these we at least have a general knowledge about them.  All of them can be shown in x-rays, bloodwork, and other detection methods.

However, mention the term ‘bi-polar’ most are not sure exactly what it is.  For others they seem to have an image that is totally wrong.  Bi-polar is a distinct as the person who is suffering with it.  It is a disease that as of this moment does not show on a x-ray, or under a microscope in a blood test.

Bi-polar does not define who I am.  I am more than the disease, I am male, fifty-seven years old, and has various interests ranging from Gospel Music to Sherlock Holmes.  I am a father of a daughter, a grandfather to three grandchildren.

It does not determine my future, nor keep me trapped in the past, for I determine my day by placing my feet on the floor each and every morning when I awake.

I would like to challenge every reader to define yourself, do not let the disease difine you!

Same Dull Routine

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My life is pretty vanilla in that I don’t have much excitement each day.  My day to day life is predictable.

While in treatment you soon learned a daily routine.  Meals were at set times, you were expected to be out of bed have breakfast.  Somewhere between breakfast and the first group take a shower then get dressed. 

Groups were at set times in the schedule.  The only thing that would change from day to day was the subject matter.

The scheduled events of the day were to give you a sense of direction.  Planning was the key.  

At home in my day to day routine I try to stay on track.  Take medications roughly at the same time, going to bed takes on a definite pattern.  All of this keeps me from acting eracticly.  Even shopping, doctor appointments, I plan them carefully.  One reason is so that I do not over due causing tiredness which triggers panic attacks.

I cannot say whether this method would work for others, but, for me keeps me on track.  It gives me a feeling of normalacy.

It is the same dull routine, but I guess I love it.

My Greatest Worry

Job 3:25 MSG
25  The worst of my fears has come true, what I’ve dreaded most has happened.

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There are people who have fears including myself.  For some it is heights, spiders, water, and many more.  There may be reasons for some that has caused those fears.  One person I know has a fear of large dogs, the reason being she was bitten as a very young child. For myself it is heights for when I was about ten years old I fell out of cherry tree and broke my left arm in three places.

There is one more fear of mine, that being a falling back into severe depression.  I have heard about some that there body becomes immuned to certain medications causing disease to replicate itself within the body.

The depression I experienced robbed me of quality life.  Time not spent with interests that I loved, time not spent with family or friends.  It stole part of my personality at times feeling like I was just going through the motions of life but not connected to the world around me.

I am just now returning to many interests of mine that I love, reading, music, my dog, etc.,  Some of these activities lost was also the combined problem of acute pain.  So, I try to add one more thing to my daily routine.  

The best thing that I have added is writing this blog.  I will keep striving to move forward.

Educate Yourself

I can remember my first stay in treatment I would attend groups and it all sounded like Greek to me.  I had no understanding whatsoever was being discussed. Terms like; ‘manic depression’, ‘bi-polar’, plus many others.  I can remember after a discussion on being bi-polar I asked for the definition of manic depression only to learn the terms were inter-changeable.

My pyschiatrist would talk about different medications that she was going to prescribe and I was totally lost.  My problem was multi-fold, I didn’t know how to ask her about side effects, what the medication was targeting, etc., etc.,

My second stay went much smoother.  I knew what to expect like meal times, group sessions, follow up questions both in groups and with my doctor.  I was more comfortable opening up during the groups and also with my pyschiatrist.

It has been close to fifteen years since that first stay in treatment and I am still trying to educate myself on myriad of issues.

By educating myself was also arming myself for others who would ask me questions.

Moral of the post, never stop learning!

Pass The Pills!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My day begins taking pills.  Warfarin to keep from developing blood clots.  Been hospitalized twice with blood clots in my legs.  Then a myriad of more pills including Naproxen.  Most of my medications handled by my best friend.  That started when I was double dosing of Oxycontin.

One time I had asked my doctor if there were some that could be eliminated, the response was no.  So, I guess I am on medications for the rest of my life.  Take some only after eating.  Others are once a week one half hour before drink or food.  Pills command my daily schedule, feeling like I am on a hamster wheel.

I have lost track of which pills I take.  Some in the morning, afternoon, and then evening.  All are prepared for me accordingly.

So, all I can do is say, “pass the pills“!