July 31st, 2014

hide, headache


I thought I was being all smart & stuff, and that I only needed 2 Tylenol #4 tablets each day for the past 6 days. I was all, "Woo hoo! I don't need so much codeine! I rock! I'm not such a bad junkie after all!" I didn't even experience much in the way of headaches ... until last night, when one came suddenly roaring in again and hit me like a freight train.

I went to bed last night around 2 a.m., when my exhaustion finally became extreme enough to overcome the rampaging headache (though I had taken 2 Tylenol #4 tablets at 10:00 p.m.), but then I woke up at 7 a.m. with the headache still hounding me. I took 2 more tablets upon waking, but the headache still didn't go away. I rode my bike over to Crystal's house at 10:30 for writing group, but after an hour or so I found that (1) my incredibly persistent headache, (2) my measly 5 hours of sleep the previous night, and (3) the powerful punch of codeine in the two tablets I'd taken a few hours previous had all combined to render me unable to function pretty much at all. I was having trouble stringing words together when talking. I was staggering when I walked. I was sort of phasing in and out, sort of falling asleep in the middle of forming sentences. Luckily, Julia and Crystal are pretty familiar with how "loopy" I can get when I take 2 Tylenol #4 tablets at the same time, and they took good care of me. Julia drives a van that is set up to carry a wheelchair, and so we just put my bike in there & she gave me a ride home.

When I got home, Shannon was about to leave to go out to lunch, but he seemed afraid to leave me alone in the house in the shape I was in and so put off going, in hopes that I would become less loopy before he left me there. Eventually, he went to have his lunch, but only after checking with me to make sure that I wasn't planning to leave the house and stagger out into the street or something silly like that.

I've continued to be exhausted all day, sort of falling asleep for a few seconds at a time, and the headache has continued. I didn't take more Tylenol #4 the first chance I got (at 1:15 pm), because I knew it would wipe me out and I'd end up just sleeping the rest of the afternoon and evening. On Thursdays, I don't get to spend much time with Shannon because he games most of the evening. I knew that I could spend 5-7 p.m. (or so) with him if I could manage to stay awake, so I waited to take my next Tylenol #4 dose until 5 p.m., knowing that it wouldn't knock me on my ass immediately, and so I would have some time to hang out with my love.

I was barely conscious by the time 5 o'clock rolled around. I'd been coloring in my coloring book for hours in order to keep myself awake (and distracted from the headache), but I kept having to violently shake my head to wake myself up when I occasionally started to fall asleep sitting up with a pen in my hand. But I woke myself up some more at 5 to have dinner and read some Harry Dresden with Shannon, then figured I would come upstairs and fall into a deep, drugged slumber while he gamed.

Unfortunately, the headache has kept me awake. These are the especially enjoyable times (note: sarcasm), times when the codeine has knocked me on my ass but hasn't rid me of the headache, so the headache won't let me sleep but the codeine makes me pretty much unable to do anything except wish I could sleep. And right now I can't take any more Tylenol #4 until 11, which is still another hour away.

So now I'm looking at those past 6 days when I was taking just 2 tablets each day, and I'm thinking, "Dude! That obviously wasn't enough, because apparently the withdrawal effects were just slowly building up until they exploded all over me last night. This has happened plenty of times in the past—this withdrawal explosion that lasts for days once it hits—but I let it happen again! Instead of being all smart and stuff, like I thought I was, I'm actually dumb! I let it happen again! I did this to myself!" I'm more vulnerable than usual to such critical thoughts when I'm so terribly terribly exhausted and intellectually paralyzed by opium.

I'm trying to remind myself that I was doing my best, that I wasn't having headaches (much) this past week, and so I honestly thought I was taking enough codeine, and I couldn't have predicted that this tsunami of a withdrawal headache was coming. But the stick I keep hitting myself with is that I know that I usually take more than 2 tablets a day. I keep track, and so I know that I usually take 3 tablets. There's variation, of course, but 3 tablets/day is simultaneously the median, the mode, and the mean. This is the first time I'd gone 6 days in a row of only 2 tabs/day since I started really keeping track ... more than 2 months ago ... so maybe I should have seen that badness was coming. But I'm trying not to hit myself with that stick too hard.

I remind myself that I'm waiting to hear from the pain management doc. I phoned today and left a message, asking if his office had received the info from my neurologist, since the pain management doc needs to analyze that info before I can even make an appointment to see him. "Let me know if I need to nag the neurologist," I requested. Let's get this show on the road. Please, Mr. Pain Management, sir, call me back! I want to break up with codeine, because this relationship just isn't working for me anymore!

I'm hanging on to the knowledge that we have a plan. It's a good plan. The pain management doc will, according to my neurologist, perform a magic trick (i.e., put a pain-relieving patch on my arm) that will take my pain away now and will help drive away the codeine addiction in the future. Let's get started! Right now! Stick a patch on me! Please?