An Authentic, Sometimes Gritty, and Always Hopeful Blog for All Who Live with Severe Physical Pain

Friday, January 13, 2012

Drunk Again…

I have sat down a dozen times over the past eight days or so to write a new post…but it's been so hard.

You see,  I’m drunk (again).  I haven’t had even a sip of alcohol, so I’m not technically “drunk”.  I suppose "under the influence" is what a police officer would call it if I were to be stupid enough to try to drive right now. 

 The kind of medication my neuropathic pain responds to are anti-seizure drugs,  which, as one neurosurgeon told me work because they “essentially, put your brain to sleep”.  I take two kinds of these medications (in addition to other medications to deal with the side effects of pain)  adjusting my dosage according to whatever season of pain I find myself in.  I try to take as little medicine as possible, but as much as I need.  This is the first time in over four years I have been on this much medication.  (FYI, in my six plus year journey, I have incorporated many traditional and alternative treatments and therapies, although I feel medication has played a very strong role in my pain management.)

This feeling of drunkenness is awful.  It's no fun to be stuck at home, of course. Then, it's just as bad to feel so worthless-- my mornings are when I am the clearest, so I try to cram anything I need to concentrate into that time--like cooking, writing, organizing, etc.  Can you believe that just writing this post  took me about five hours?!  

How often does this happen to you?  You worry and worry about something you need to do, never thinking about it when you can take care of it until it's really built up to be a big, ugly "thing" in your life.  This just happened to me.  I had an over-due bill of which I wanted to call the company to ask if they would take off the charge, because I had always paid this bill on time, and had simply overlooked it this once.  For several days , I kept remembering it at odd times…like waking up at night, or when I was taking a shower, or when I was just hurting too much to make the call.  It really bugged me...making me feel guilty too that I'd missed my chance for asking for a refund on the fee, since now so much time had passed.  Then, just two days ago, I finally, sat down, bill in hand, and called the company.  After pressing several different options, in between listening to tinny music, and the recorded, "All lines are busy now. We will answer calls in the order that they are received."  

Finally, someone answered.  After giving her all my account information, etc., I finally gave her my full spiel, apologizing profusely that it had taken me so long to call her, because I "have this awful pain syndrome which makes it really difficult...blah...blah..blah.."  

She paused for a moment.  Finally speaking in a "I-need-to-talk-slowly-because-this-woman-is-very-dense" she said, "Mrs. Coleman, you already called us over a week ago with this request.  The fee has already been removed.  Is there anything else I can help you with today?"  (Even as she added this final sentence, I could tell she was silently praying, "Please have her say 'no'; please have her say, 'no'!")

I said no.

This wasn't the first time something like this has occurred...not even the second..not even the fifth.  

How about this?  On Saturday, I gave Warren a good laugh, and he is not one who makes fun of my medication-induced challenges. I told him I was going upstairs to take a shower, but somehow got distracted and forgot to do so!  I have forgotten many things, but I have never forgotten to shower before!  I have reached a whole new level in forgetfulness! 

But, what are you gonna’ do?!  

“Bartender,..uhm, I mean pharmacist, fill me up with another prescription!”  Even though these medications numb my brain somewhat, it is an amazing organ.  It will adjust better to this dosage.  I will be able to drive more reliably; I will be able to write better, I will be better in time. Yes, I will remain  "loopier" than most, as I will also a still suffer more pain than 95% of the people who breathe the air around me until God wills the pain to be gone, either here or in Heaven.   

If I have learned anything it is this:  My seasons of struggling with extremely severe pain do not last.  God will either change the pain or change my perception.  And, as long as I look to my Savior, letting trust, rather than fear being my guide, pain will not rule my thoughts or my actions.  

I'm ending this post with some of my own wry humor...
because you can either laugh or cry, right? 

What the Medications Should be Named

Neuronton - "Neuronsgone"
Trileptal - "Iforgetitall"
Tegretal - "Iregretitall"
Topomax - "Dopomax"
Zoloft - "Brainsaloft"

I am on so much medication that...

...I spend more time looking for things I have misplaced than getting anything done.  I would actually get more accomplished in a day if I focused on doing nothing at all!

...I can't remember your face OR your name.

...when I bend over to tie my shoes, I often decide to take a nap while I'm down there.

And then there was my last appointment with the neurologist:       

When my neurologist asked me to hold my arms out straight, close my eyes and touch my nose, I just stared at him blankly because I couldn't remember what to do first. 

When he asked me to spell "chair" backward, I laughed.  "That's easy," I said.  I stood up and walked backwards around my chair. 

My doctor looked at my husband and said, "I think we need to reconsider her medications."  

They heard a "thunk".  Looking over, they found me sprawled out asleep on the floor. The doctor gasped in worry, but my husband just patted him on the shoulder and said, "Don't worry, she's just asleep.  Obviously, she needed to tie one of her shoes. shoes."

Until Next Time, may God give you laughter! -



  1. Judy.. Somehow in reading this when I really feel like crying about all this .. you make me laugh. The last bit with the doctor and Warren .. made me laugh out loud. God Bless you for being able to be soooo REAL through all of this and also .. willing to share. I love you. (((( hugs ))))
    proud to say I'm your cousin.... Shelly

  2. I'm glad it made you is short--so laugh we must! Judi

  3. Spot.On. All of it. Thank you so much for posting. This is a new world for me on anti-seizure drugs, and I needed to know I wasn't the only one struggling with this new, forgetful, frustrating brain machine Even more, I needed the reminder to let trust and not fear be my guide.

    1. Yes, Yes, Yes!! And your brain will adjust better to the drugs; I am much better even on the high dosages I am on. The answer is always trust, isn't it!~ Please email me if you need help and support!! God Bless You!

  4. Judi-
    This was such a perfect "description" of the lovely effects we go through with Pain Medication. I will take my morning "cocktail" and hear my husband telling me "do you want to just go lay down?" Which makes me wonder-how do I really look after my Meds kick in?

    One thing I have learned through the years of dealing with my Pain is to Not let it get out of control! But thats a lot easier Said then Done sometimes! Thanks for this honest reflection-God bless. Martha Herden

  5. Martha-- Yes! It's a thin line of choosing how much pain we can bear against how much medication to take; in addition to understanding how long are we adjusting to new medication vs what will simple are the ongoing side effects of them. For example, now that I am fully adjusted to these higher dosages, my memory still stinks. Last night, I wandered around the house looking for my husband, becoming irritated that I could not find him. It took me quite a while to remember that he was out running errands. Happens to me all the time! (sigh...)