Posts Tagged ‘pain’

My last post dealt with my husband getting tagged with ALS. I was all over the place with my emotions. Grief, anger, pain, back to anger. He is a GOOD man who never caused harm and he does NOT deserve to be taken out this way. Then today, like a tidal wave, thoughts of what was to come slammed me against the rocks.

I haven’t worked outside the home since 1992! I have CMP, bulging discs and degenerative disc disease. I live with chronic pain, weakness, fatigue, numbness and mental fog. My hubby and I worked out a life that fit us. I shop, cook and take care of the kids schooling, paperwork for their medical care, their social life, our social life and more. He, works for a wage, services the car, pumps the gas, cuts the grass, fixes leaky pipes and deals with the cable company. Put aside the mechanics of life and there is more. He is the first to take my hand when I walk. He is the one who sees if I am upset, sad or in pain. He gives hugs, he makes it ok on days I can’t get out of my chair to cook. He pushes me to listen to music or watch a favorite movie to take me away from the pain. He reads me, he gets me, I get him. We can summon each other to hand out a napkin at dinner with a hand gesture lol. Drives the kids nuts that we talk without words. Thirty-two years together!

What the hell am I going to do if he leaves me?  How will I take the pain out of his leaving from his shoulders? I don’t want him feeling guilt for leaving me. Yet I am in a panic over his leaving.

He will lose his job, hence our medical insurance, income. We owe on the house. I can’t lose the house. I can live anywhere but I am raising grandkids, still in school who need the stability. I can’t cut the grass with a push mower! If a pipe breaks I know how to fix it, but I am physically unable to do so anymore. Hell, my car is twenty years old, if it dies, I can’t buy a new one without his income. I can’t take kids to band practice, they may have to give up band and I won’t be able to pay for uniforms etc.

In full flop sweat here, when I should be focusing on how to be there for my mate. I will be there for him. I guess I can panic all I want, but I will be damned if any of this will taint the time he has left. I will deal with it later. Just another rant from someone dealing with the monster that is ALS.

 

 

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I pass a mirror and gasp, surely that wasn’t my face staring back at me. If it were, it would be gray, crisscrossed with deep, black furrows cutting into the flesh and dead eyes consumed with pain the doctors can’t fix and refuse to treat. It would be tight, drawn, ugly.

My face would reflect the self-doubt clouding my mind, it would redden at the thought of my insecurities and shortcomings. It would smolder with the anger over lost careers, relationships and skills, all stolen by the pain.  A river of tears would flow over bloated cheeks, representing lonely hours, sleepless nights and a mountain of pills taken in vain.

How can that seemingly normal face staring back at me, be mine?

 

When the memories came, they tore at her stomach with icy fingers and hijacked her mind. It didn’t matter if she was hunched over a keyboard, or in a green room preparing for a T.V. appearance. The terror would suck her into the seedy, addiction fueled  violence that was her youth.  A time when her mother lived in the bottom of a bottle and her father, who refused to admit he was part of the problem, expected her to care for the house, and her mother. If she failed to meet his standards, she was rewarded with cigarette burns and beatings. She was ten when one of his lessons left her bleeding, with loose teeth and a broken rib on the bathroom floor.

Huddled on the bed, she waited for him to pass out before slipping out the window. Wracked with pain, she made her way to the local hospital, after that, things got blurry. Confusion reigned as they tried to find her parents and more importantly, who would pay the bill. Eventually they called in a social worker, who, after one look at the battered girl, set the wheels in motion to secure a better life for her.

Reluctant at first, and afraid of her father’s reaction, she begged them to let her go home, but her mentor refused, eventually making her see that her parents needed help and that what was good for her, was not one of their priorities. After bouncing in and out of a few foster homes, she met her new parents and discovered a talent for writing that they encouraged. Over the years, her body had healed, but her mind wore band-aids, ready to fall off at any time.

Now, she was a successful author. Two of her books had been adapted for the big screen and she was working on a Broadway play. At the age of thirty-three she had met a man who just may be the one she would grow old with. She had money, a great house and a few friends she could count on.  Life was good. Her mother had died years earlier, but her father had tried to make contact a few times, hoping to cash in on her fame and fortune, she ignored him.

Jumping as the intercom sprung to life, instructing her to head to the set, she thought about her organization and the kids and women it would help. Vowing to get as many of them out of violent situations as she could, she took a deep breath and headed to the stage to sell her latest book, the one with fifty percent of the proceeds going to the “Kids First” organization. She rose from the ashes, now it was time to help others fly!

This is a repost of a study I found.

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Opioids: Addiction vs. Dependence
by Karen Lee Richards, ChronicPainConnection Expert
One of the greatest obstacles chronic pain patients face in their quest for adequate pain relief is the widespread misunderstanding of the difference between physical dependence on a drug and addiction. Many patients, the general public, and sadly even some physicians fear that anyone taking opioid medications on a long-term basis will become addicted. As a result, pain patients are often labeled as “drug seekers” and stigmatized for their use of opioid medications. Worst of all, their pain frequently remains under-treated.
Understanding the Terminology
Before we can adequately discuss this topic, it is important to clearly define the terms we will be using.
Addiction is a neurobiological disease that has genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors. It is characterized by one or more of the following behaviors:
• Poor control over drug use
• Compulsive drug use
• Continued use of a drug despite physical, mental and/or social harm
• A craving for the drug
Physical dependence is the body’s adaptation to a particular drug. In other words, the individual’s body gets used to receiving regular doses of a certain medication. When the medication is abruptly stopped or the dosage is reduced too quickly, the person will experience withdrawal symptoms. Although we tend to think of opioids when we talk about physical dependence and withdrawal, a number of other drugs not associated with addiction can also result in physical dependence (i.e., antidepressants, beta blockers, corticosteroids, etc.) and can trigger unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if stopped abruptly.

Tolerance is a condition that occurs when the body adapts or gets used to a particular medication, lessening its effectiveness. When that happens, it is necessary to either increase the dosage or switch to another type of medication in order to maintain pain relief.

Pseudoaddiction is a term used to describe patient behaviors that may occur when their pain is not being treated adequately. Patients who are desperate for pain relief may watch the clock until time for their next medication dose and do other things that would normally be considered “drug seeking” behaviors, such as taking medications not prescribed to them, taking illegal drugs, or using deception to obtain medications. The difference between pseudoaddiction and true addiction is that the behaviors stop when the patient’s pain is effectively treated.

Can a chronic pain patient become addicted to opioid drugs?

Although most chronic pain patients who take opioids on a long-term basis will become physically dependent on them, very few will ever become addicted to them. The rare few who do develop a problem are often highly susceptible to addiction due to a genetic predisposition. In a review of 24,000 patients who were medically prescribed opioids, only seven could be found who got into trouble with them. So a chronic pain patient becoming addicted to opioid medications is definitely the exception rather than the rule.

Opioids: Addiction vs. Dependence

How can you tell if someone is addicted to an opioid drug?
People who become addicted to opioid drugs usually report getting a feeling of euphoria or being “high.” They soon need increasing amounts of the drug to maintain that same high feeling. Unfortunately, this frequently leads to an ongoing and often desperate search for more of the drug through whatever means possible – legal or illegal.

Some behaviors that may be suggestive of possible addiction include:
• Taking medications more frequently or at higher dosages than prescribed.
• Ingesting drugs in ways other than directed, such as crushing, snorting, or injecting.
• Frequent reports of lost or stolen prescriptions.
• Doctor shopping.
• Using multiple pharmacies.

Following are some of the key differences between addicts and pain patients:
Addicts Pain Patients
Addicts take drugs to get high and avoid life Pain patients take drugs to function normally and get on with life.
Addicts isolate themselves and become lost to their families. When pain patients get adequate relief, they become active members of their families.
Addicts are unable to interact appropriately with society. When pain patients get adequate relief, they interact with and make positive contributions to society.
Addicts are eventually unable to hold down a job. When pain patients get adequate relief, they are often able to go back to work.
The life on an addict is a continuous downward spiral. When a pain patient gets adequate relief, their life progresses in a positive, upward direction.

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Sources:

The American Academy of Pain Medicine, The American Pain Society and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2001). Definitions related to the use of opioids for the treatment of pain. Retrieved December 1, 2008, from American Pain Society Web site: http://www.ampainsoc.org/advocacy/opioids2.htm
The National Institute on Drug Abuse. Addiction vs Dependence. Retrieved December 1, 2008 from Our Chronic Pain Mission Web site: http://www.cpmission.com/main/addiction.html
© Karen Lee Richards 2008
Updated 12/1/2008