sickness, shame, judgement, steps, and pants

It has been a crappy few days at Casa Snort. We’ve all been sick at one time or another. Footlong brought home his second cold of the year last week. Last weekend 6-inch started getting snotty and coughy, but he was lucky to not get croupy again. J started getting sick Wednesday morning, and he took Thursday off. And me? I started getting sick Monday, but very slowly. It started with post-nasal drip, sneezing, sinusy (I know that’s not a word) stuff. The next day the coughing started. Wednesday brought aches, deeper and hacking coughs, and nasty tasting sputum. By late Thursday I was running a pretty decent fever, I had swollen lymph nodes in my neck, my sputum had gone from white to yellow (color change isn’t good), it hurt to breathe, and I was coughing so hard and frequently that, in addition to peeing on myself, I had pulled a muscle in my abdomen/rib cage area. I went to urgent care, was made to wear a mask in the lobby, took a few photos of myself for posterity, and got a chest x-ray. I have a very small area of pneumonia in the base of my right lung, or, as I like to call it, pneumonia-lite. I was also diagnosed with RSV. I got a breathing treatment, a loading dose of steroids, an antibiotic, and prescriptions for cough syrup, an inhaler, more steroids, and something to help me sleep/counteract the itchiness from the narcotic cough syrup.

I have taken all of my medications as prescribed, and I have discovered two things:  1) Albuterol (in the inhaler) makes me seriously jittery and 2) me and steroids are mortal enemies. I knew that steroids increase blood sugars, increase hunger and thirst, and can suppress your immune system. I did not realize that in some people they cause terrible insomnia and digestive upset (namely diarrhea), and I have had the pure, unadulterated joy of discovering that I am one of those “some people.” I woke up Thursday morning and did not fall asleep until 3:00 am early Saturday morning:  I was up for about 40 hours give or take.

To get where I am going with this I need to back up a couple of weeks. As my surgery is (hopefully) getting closer I have been dealing with a lot of anxiety which totally sucks because I have had my anxiety under control for the last two years. In nursing school I nearly fainted during the first surgery I ever observed. I hated watching C-sections; you would not believe how violent they look. I hated having epidurals in labor because I, even though pain-free, could not move–not having control over my body scared me, and I had panic attacks when I couldn’t move. I have been put under general anesthesia once in my life. I was eight years old, and the anesthesiologist told me I was going to breathe some “special air” and go to sleep. I was ok with that. He asked if I wanted to smell strawberry air or orange air; I chose orange. He put a thick, rubber mask on my face that covered me from the eyes down, and I felt claustrophobic. I felt like I was being suffocated. I remember trying to get the mask off and him tightening his grip on the mask. I screamed and cried and tried with both hands to pull that mask off of me; I remember nurses grabbing my shoulders and pinning me down. I finally took in a few gasps of his “special air” and mercifully remember nothing else. Thinking about going under anesthesia again makes me panicky. I know that a medication (likely propofol [insert Michael Jackson reference here]) will be put in my IV, and I won’t even feel myself drift off. The logical nurse part of me knows this and knows what will happen afterward:  I will be intubated, my eyes taped shut, my heart and vital signs monitored, I will be given muscle paralyzers, receive pain medication and a constant stream of anesthetic gas mixed with oxygen, and the incisions will be made. The emotional part of me is scared shitless of giving up control of my body and trusting that these people will do their jobs properly and not kill me– much like the patient mentioned last week in the news who died during surgery while his anesthesiologist was on a lunch break. I have had two panic attacks in the last month, and I went to see my beloved doctor who is just as much my friend as she is my doctor. She has known me for years, and I used to work with her (now ex) husband. She knows my history of drug abuse, depression, and anxiety, and we are on a first-name basis. She has supported and encouraged me to have gastric bypass surgery. After much discussion, crying on my part, hugging on her part, and a good chat she wrote me a prescription for Xanax to use as needed for the weeks leading up to surgery. It is a relatively small dose, and I can take one pill 3 times a day if I need to; I was to be dispensed 30 pills at one time, and I was given 4 refills. I have needed to take one pill 3 times a day, more so in the wake of all the shit that has gone down between the insurance company, mention of having the wrong procedure, and the surgeon’s office coordinator who seems to be giving me the brush off. I have been on Xanax before for anxiety and am somewhat tolerant; this is a small-to-medium size dose, and while some people may be zonked for 8 hours I just feel like the edge has been taken off. I don’t even get sleepy, and while I won’t drive a car after taking it, it doesn’t impair my ability to care for the boys.

Friday night about 11:00 pm I called my pharmacy to refill the Xanax; since I was taking one pill 3 times a day my supply of 30 pills was lasting 10 days. I was told that the insurance company wouldn’t approve the refill until after midnight, since that would be the allowed time. I called back at 12:30 am, and it was ready. Thank heavens! I knew that my sick, sick body was not going to heal without sleep, and I knew that the Xanax would relax me enough so that I, hopefully, could sleep. J went to pick it up along with a few other things:   honey cough syrup for 6-inch, one of his own prescriptions, and some frozen alcoholic slushy-type drinks that we have developed a taste for. J came home from the pharmacy and stood in the doorway to our bedroom watching me as I typed on the computer. I looked over at him, and his body language–chest puffed out and hands on his hips–told me he was upset about something.

“What? Are you mad about something?”

“How many of these Xanax are you taking?”

“One pill three times a day if I need to, like the prescription said. Why?”

“The pharmacist says that the prescription should last you an entire month, and you’ve emptied the bottle in ten days.”

“Honey, do the math. Three pills a day, (if I do take that many) divided into 30 pills equals a 10 day supply. That is how the prescription was written. The insurance company would not approve it otherwise because they don’t let you fill controlled substances early.”

“He said that he thought you were taking too many. He thought they should last you 30 days, and you need to talk to your doctor. And he also rang up our frozen daiquiri slushies. He asked me if you were drinking with the Xanax. Are you?”

At that point right there I lost it. There are two major things that former drug users or addicts have to deal with for the rest of their lives, and those are JUDGEMENT and SHAME. Being a former drug user is part of my medical history. I was up front with my OB when I got pregnant with 6-inch after being clean for 5 months. I’ve talked in-depth with my psychiatrist. My bariatric surgeon is aware of it. I go to the same urgent care center when I’m sick, so my history is in their records. Even though I am a former narcotic abuser I still feel pain. When I was in labor with 6-inch before I got the epidural, I had a standing order for IV pain medication every 1-2 hours. I asked for it too because labor fucking hurts. My nurse made snide remarks like, “You don’t seem to be hurting that bad.” Or she would roll her eyes when I’d ask for another dose. Granted, after working in the ER, I know many doctors and nurses like this because we are trained to spot drug seeking behavior. Even though I am in legitimate pain I feel like I am being judged like they automatically think, “She just wants to get stoned.” I had a C-section and was given a prescription for Percocet hesitantly by my OB. I had just had a human being cut out of my belly, was sleep-deprived, breastfeeding constantly, and she was looking at me out of the side of her eyes as she wrote the prescription—like I was going to just go home, put 6-inch somewhere, and get blissfully high. I am allergic to dextromethorphan which is the active cough-suppressing ingredient in cough syrups (Robitussin, Ny-Quil, etc.). It gives me hives pretty badly. At urgent care Thursday night the PA said, “Man, I have to give you something for that cough!” I said “That would be wonderful, but please remember that I’m allergic to dextromethorphan.” He stopped writing and looked at me. I know that look, and I know it well. It is the look I have seen on many doctor’s (and nurse’s) faces when someone says they are allergic to one thing in hopes of getting the thing they really want. Like, “I’m allergic to morphine, but Dilaudid works great!” That type of thing. He looked at me as if to say, “Well isn’t this convenient. She’s a former drug addict who is conveniently allergic to Robitussin. I’m guessing she wants the hydrocodone cough syrup or phenergan with codeine.” He half-heartedly asked me, “Ok, so what do you want for the cough?” And I said, “I don’t care. Whatever you think is best. Given my history if you don’t want to give me narcs that is cool, and I’ll just deal with it.” He wrote me a script for the hydrocodone cough syrup, and I have taken it just as prescribed.

But when John confronted me about Xanax and what that particular pharmacist thought I just lost it. I am sick of being judged. I am sick of worrying that if I ask for pain medication I’ll be labeled as a “drug-seeker” or they will purposefully give me a smaller dose because I used to abuse narcotics. I’m worried that my pain won’t be taken seriously, and I’m fucking worried that I won’t be taken seriously. That is the shame that comes with addiction. A big part of healing and recovery is being up front and honest with folks. I am ashamed of my past actions. I am ashamed that my friends and family and strangers know what I did. I am flat-out ashamed of myself for getting  to that point and making the decision to use. I’m worried about meeting and talking to the anesthesiologist prior to surgery. I want to (and will) tell him not to give me morphine or dilaudid because they were my drugs of choice when I used. I will ask him to use other drugs. I will tell him that I have a high narcotic tolerance and pray that he believes me and doesn’t think I’m just looking to get spun out. With John I started sobbing then went to full-out crying. I had told him I was having panic attacks and had been to both urgent care and to see my doctor, but now I unloaded because I was madder than a fucking cobra because I felt accused of using the Xanax recreationally instead out of necessity. I screamed and cried about my fears of the insurance company fucking things up, going under anesthesia, being confronted with my own mortality and fear of death, hating how I look and feel now, resenting being labelled a drug-seeker, and fucking sick of doctors (and now that pharmacist) think I’m faking my symptoms just so I can get high. He looked stunned. He had no idea I had been hiding all of these feelings from him. I called Julie (my doctor) at home, because she is a good friend, and explained everything briefly and that I had been awake for about 40 hours. She told me to take 3 tablets (still a safe dose) and go to bed. I slept for 6 hours.

I didn’t write those paragraphs above for sympathy, attention, or to get positive comments from those of you who read here. The reason I wrote what I wrote is to show that even though I am clean and I have surrendered my nursing license, what I did will follow me for the rest of my life. It is in my medical records. It is in the back of my head. It is a matter of public record. I will be judged, and I will be shamed. I have, however, decided to make lemonade out of my lemons and have been in contact with two nursing schools in Tucson volunteering my services as a guest lecturer on the topic of nurses with substance abuse issues. Wish me luck!

On a much happier note, 6-inch has taken his very first steps! He has been walking around for months holding to things, but the other night he let go, and looking like a drunk baby, took three wobbly and crooked steps before collapsing on his tush. We were so excited! I was napping yesterday when Footlong burst in the room and shouted, “Mama, he just took 8 steps!” We tried more last night, but he didn’t feel like walking anymore. It was bittersweet; I’m happy for him, don’t get me wrong, but this is my last baby taking his first steps. It kinda made my heart hurt.

I can’t ignore Footlong since I talked about 6-inch, so let mention that we got his first progress report, and it was OUTSTANDING. The teacher basically said that his reading, comprehension, and logic skills were above first-grade level; she also says that he gets distracted by small things and needs to work on staying focused on the task at hand. I am so proud of my big boy!

And lastly, it just would not be very Snort of me to not try to get a laugh out of you. Like these pants from Dino Direct:

“”Go to work will be more modern if you try the casual pants. The male pants have the short style and the tight design will show your good taste. The short casual pants use the best cotton to make you feel good and comfortable. The male pants have the pocket design in the waist to make you sexy. The casual pants are your best friends.”  (Are you fucking kidding me? Look at these things! I don’t think the short style and tight design will show your good taste. If anything these pants scream, “I don’t know how to do laundry, and my pants shrunk!” And I seriously doubt that women will flock to you, the pant-wearer, and moan, “Oooooooooh, baby, those pockets in the waist make you sooooo sexy!” Showing 8 inches of hairy calf and shoes sans socks is just weird. Bad choice all around. If any of you order your husband a pair and take a photo of him wearing them at work, in front of real people, I will send you $50.)



These beauties aren’t any better:


“I don’t know what universe you’ve been living in, but it must be radiantly remarkable! This pair of trousers is the best gift for you in this season. This kind of men trousers are of perfect design to show your figure. Make every moment enchanting with the memorable magic of this pair of trousers. Solve the mystery of what to wear to this season with this pair of trousers.” (You don’t know what universe I’ve been living in? Why, I live in the universe where man only needs one crotch in his pants, not seven. Look at these fucking things! “These men trousers are perfect design to show your figure!” What figure? Your skinny chicken legs and 100 pound scrotum? All I can think when I look at those pants is, “BALLS!”)


This has been more than enough for one day, and I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming already in progress. ♥


50 thoughts on “sickness, shame, judgement, steps, and pants

  1. Oh my gosh! I had a tubal ligation last November and I was TERRIFIED of being put to sleep. I have a lot of allergies to narcotics and I know that some are used in addition to anestesia; I got fentanyl and did just fine but I was so scared! Also, I am a nurse and I have never had a substance abuse problem (see above: narcotic allergy!) and I still get the side eye any time I go to the doctor concerning something painful! (Don’t worry… All I want for my raging ear infection is some antibiotics, and oh yeah, I’m allergic to some of them too… You look so disgusted with me! I’m so sorry you had to write a different WORD than whatever you had planned!) Healthcare professionals search for drug seekers EVERYWHERE. And then I know a million assholes who can walk in to urgent care with a stuffy nose and walk out with a script for Hydrocodone without issues… Maybe they just don’t notice the look o’ judgement!

    • Well, some docs and nurses (myself included) get jaded and pissed when drug seekers would come in the ER and play their part to perfection. They would get their fix, and when we would check on them five minutes later they were gone. Many times they left with the IV still in the arm that way they had access to shoot up heroin or meth. It is strange and upsetting to be on the other side now, where people know my history and question my motives, but it is my own fault. Hope your tubal went well and that you recovered well! How was the anesthesia part? Did you feel yourself going under or was it instantaneous?

      • Well… They gave me Versed and told me “you won’t remember any of this… But I remember all of it up until I fell asleep. I felt myself going under I think because I was so resistant to it. Then when I woke up the first thing I asked the nurse was, “Did I say anything stupid?” She said, “Hon, you didn’t say anything at all!” Aside from my insane fear of never waking up, I was also afraid of doing something idiotic… I am a total type A control freak and I’ve heard those are the types to really lose it an act a fool when coming out of anesthesia… Thank goodness I controlled myself!

  2. my sis in law were pregnent at the same time.. i was 29 she was 16 we gave birth 2 months apart. i had to have a c-section after 30 hrs of labour that was not progressing. very wonderful nurses and docs at l&d.. i was given meds and i was released to go home just over 24 hrs after giving birth. my sisinlaw went into labour , she had 7 hrs of labour complained that it hurt and the nurse said mabe you should hav ekept your legs shut.. she was upset to say the least. she was then sent home mere hours after giving birth with no instructions on how to diaper, nurse or bathe \9 which in our town i requirement before going home. i felt and still do feel that alot of the nurses were against here due to her age. i know this isnt directly related to your blog but it just proves some people will find prejudice in anything. it is hard to function in a world filled with people with black hearts. i wish i could just say ignore them but you and i know thats not always possible , so i will say I gOT YOUR BACK SISTA

    • I am sorry to hear those things, Michelle, but, honestly, prejudice does exist in healthcare. I am guilty of making some incorrect snap judgements during my career, and it is both strange and humbling to be on the other end of it. Now I see how patients with a history of drug abuse, legit chronic pain or anxiety feel when they have to see a doctor.

  3. The baby girl I nanny for is almost the same age as 6-inch (she was 14 months on the 13th) and she does that drunk four step thing too. I tell people she is two bottles in. As a pharmacy tech, I admit to having my own prejudices about people who constantly come in looking for their hydros and looking for them early. However, your script for the xanax is easy math. Somebody just saw the #30 and that it had only been 10 days. If that is your regular pharmacy, I would call and talk to the pharmacy manager and let them know how you felt about it.

    • Thanks, Alyse. I know it was easy math, but someone even circled the #30 on the bottle with purple ink and wrote 30 DAY SUPPLY on my bottle. I found that insulting.

      • THAT is beyond rude. Do not go back to that pharmacy if you do not have to. If it is a chain just go to another location, and make it clear you were treated poorly at one of their ‘sister’ sites.

  4. I just wrote a comment that was eaten by a shaky hand. I don’t have it in me to say most of it twice, but I did want to tell you that I am bipolar and therefore considered to be addicted to everything without any consideration. To make it worse I combine lithium and an MAOI that limit my drugs significantly with numerous med allergeries and I’ve had some humilitating, painful times with drs. other than my own. This includes a refusal to give me the only cough medication I can take (hydrocodone) when I had pertussis. My own dr. was pretty mad at that one. It’s always made me seem more suspect that I talk medicalese; I was an OT until I had to go on disability a year ago.

    I had a hysterectomy a week ago today. I had gyn. surgery a year ago and had some complications that messed up a lot of my life (certainly due to allergies and interations). One problem i had was that I can take only morphine, vicodin and tylenol. So when the vicodin wore off and most women would have gotten ibuproferon I was told I couldn’t have anything for 3 more hours of 9/10 pain. My dr. was very upset about this when I told her this before my hysterectomy. She took care of getting me a PCA pump and nobody who came in contact with me was to question anything I said about pain. I was given morphine via IV when I was weaning to vicodin and the pain was too much after I walked. They knew I would be hospitalized for pain management until it was controlled and that I was not to be treated differently. A psych team supported me through it all and I had a very good experience, if having a uterus ripped out can be good (and oh it can after years of dreaming of NOT losing seeming gallons of blood). This time everyone was kind and compassionate.

    Because anesthesia was somehow problematic a year ago that part was stressful. My dr. held my hand and I think they planned to go for light sedation/memory block for prep and then limit the time under GA. I surprised them all by dropping my sats so that nobody even mentioned getting sleepy or anything; I just was to feel relaxed and then they were putting the O2 mask on and telling me to breathe deeply and I knew another injection was given. It is not the recommended way to go under probably but there was no anxiety about it. I highly recommend the dr. holding your hand thing. Both times mine operated on me she did this and it made me feel so much safer. Honestly this was just as easy as any other time I’ve had anesthesia.

    I worked for a good part of my career with psychiatrist patients, many of whom had addictions. I learned a truth that I wish more people knew. I learned that if my patients (who lived in an institution) wanted drugs or alcohol they were going to get it. But nobody benefitted when everyone was assumed to have addictions just because it was more likely, or if those with addictions were assumed to be drug seeking. If they were going to do that they were going to do it. I think this is true for everyone and is why I sigh and take urine drug tests repeatedly if seen by someone not on my team of doctors. It’s not fair to think I’m med seeking when I want pain control post-op or if I tear 2 ligaments in my ankle (I was told to take tylenol). It’s not fair to think you can’t put safeguards into your life and then be comfortable. If you were doing the surgery to get meds that would be one thing. I was in psych once with a nurse with an addiction hx and she truly struggled with wanting to take other people’s benzos. I felt bad for her because she clearly didn’t want to feel that way but her body was telling her those benzos would make it all better.

    OK, so my medicateed brain took over and I wrote a book. Sorry. I just feel really bad for you.

    • I appreciate your caring, I really do, and you did NOT write a book. One of my best friends is horribly bi-polar, has fibromyalgia, and several health problems; she takes multiple meds including benzos, sleeping pills, and pain pills. She tells me her stories sometimes and it just sucks. If I wanted the Xanax or other pain pills that bad I could buy them online from overseas and not actually go see a doctor.

      Thanks for the tip with having the doctor hold my hand; I will ask them to. Hugs to you, and thank you for telling me about yourself!

      • I love your blog; you make me laugh aloud on days that’s hard. And I’m so glad to know that mwop didn’t just disappear. I thought it was something with my computer and the “guest” internet at my mom’s. I’d almost gotten caught up and then it vanished and kept telling me I wasn’t an administrator. No kidding. I can barely sit upright, I don’t think I can manage that blog.

        I don’t know what your hospital is like but some of the women on my hysterectomy board have been able to get versed before they even get to the OR if they are really nervous and they remember nothing of the ER. I had orders for psych immediately so I could have IV benzos if needed but I was so glad to have the hysterectomy I was more calm than my typical days. I suspect versed was the drug that overly sedated me because once before I had it and took 4 hours to wake up. I woke slowly this time too but apparently as soon as they had me awake and started the low dose on the PCA pump I went back to needing awakened and then they had to go slowly.

        I also wanted to mention that if you tell them you have a mask trauma you may be able to avoid memory of it if you tell them. That was certainly their plan for me and I do not remember the mask as anything but them pushing O2 for a few seconds. Last time they put a mask on and gave me an injection and told me that I should feel relaxed; I fell asleep yelling I wasn’t asleep.

        Anesthesia is weird and the control factor is o much of it. My doctor really wanted to do a spinal but couldn’t do the removal using that way. I was so glad; that scares me for irrational reasons.

        OK, really, drugged woman needs to close the computer.

  5. I had my appendix out at 14. I remember the aneathesiologist telling me to count backwards from ten. Now, on the TV and in movies its like “10, 9…passed out.” I got all te way to 5 and started to totally panick that it wasn’t working! Next thing I remember I was waking up lol. They had me on morphine and man…I get why people get addicted. I freaking loved that stuff. Everything hurt like hell, but I didn’t care at all! I cried when they took me off and put me on Vicoden. Makes me a little scared if I ever need narcotics in the future. On it for like a day or two and that’s all it took for me to understand! Good luck with your surgery and hopefully they don’t make you count backwards like I had to! 🙂

    • I’m glad you had no problems with the anesthesia; that makes me feel a little better. And, I’m not going to lie: narcotics feel wonderful, especially when you’re not used to them. Trust me…you build a tolerance.

  6. Shame, fear, and condemnation are of the devil and you don’t have to believe the lies they tell you. I’m not ashamed of you or your past. Be proud that you’ve conquered your addiction!

  7. Hmmmmmm. MWOP blog is totally “unavailable” with special instructions to the site administrator coming up instead of the opening page — do you have any idea what’s going on? Has the evil Twitter lawyer come to visit us? Other than Shelly, you were the only one I could think of to find/ask. I’ll look for a reply here later……..thanks.

    • I can’t access it on IE or Chrome, so I don’t know what the deal is. The server could be hacked, Anja could be making changes or having problems, etc. I know nothing of an evil Twitter lawyer!

    • Don’t be sorry, Fleaves. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have things work out this way! It was just something that built up inside of me and needed to be said. How the weather is better today and that you’re without a migraine. The high here was 94, and the humidity was normal. It was awesome! *hugs*

  8. Oh Snort, no words of wisdom from me, just wishing I could give you a big hug. I could use one too. Sometimes life just sucks, but I try to remind myself that this too shall pass. Hang in there friend!

  9. Keep talking Carmen. Get this stuff this stuff out of your head. Also, I bet J would be really happy to have a red ear from listening to your fears, concerns and the unknown. I tend to hold a lot in myself with my husband. I am slowly getting better at this, very slowly and it takes some intentional effort on my part.

    I know what you mean to a degree about the pain med’s. As I have shared with you and on another message board I have a chronic idiopathic illness that takes some major crazy pain med’s to get me down to pain level 5 when I am in a medium to severe ’bout’. In the beginning of my ER visits I have had nurses and doctors check out pretty much every part of my body of where you would use IV drugs. Including, taking my socks off (multiple times) to check between my toes (some people thought this a bit not believable, but they did and I cried the first time).
    I have very poor veins and it is not unusual to take 4-5 sticks to get a tiny amount of blood if it did not clot while in the syringe. Getting an IV, oh now that is a party and a half… Being questioned when you are in pain is so crappy.
    I am thinking about you and praying for you anxiety level to go down. And you to get this stuff out of your head as much as you can and on your tongue talking to whomever you can and will listen. You are pretty darn normal to me =)
    You are keeping it together and seeking help when severe stress/anxiety is too much.

    • Thank you my kind friend. I have not forgotten about the email and intend to answer it, but I feel so awful that it’s all I can do to tap out little comments on here. That big blog post took 3 hours off an on to write because I was so tired. I want to take the time to send the proper kind of email, not just a “sorry” thing. Please be patient with me!

      There was one thing that I did appreciate from IV drug users: they would tell me exactly where I could draw blood and where an IV might go. They know their veins and bodies inside out. A popular thing among some IV drug users is to have a spider web tattooed over the arm, with certain parts of the web a different color indicating that it lies over a vein. In alot of IV drug users paramedics would have to put the IV in their neck, and that always grossed me out. I will email you soon, I promise. *hugs*

      • Oh dude. When you reply to our coversation you do. You have two wee ones (So I Married an Axe Murderer), a husband who travels and is working some insane hours AND you have anxiety about an elective procedure.It is all in good time. Keep J in the know until he doesn’t want to know any more. That means it is pretty cool.
        Also, thanks for the flipping Dino laughs.

  10. Snort,
    Do not worry; we all have vices, & you are one of the brave ones that looked that stinkin vice in the face & took charge. I drink some beer each night, so I am sure I have a label somewhere too. And PLEASE, do not worry about the Propofol cocktail; I have heard that the Acme Band Company has a new device that squeezes the head into an unconscious bliss. The same one that is used for canning locust tree pods, attic insulation and corn particles gathered by organic mice. It has proven to be a multi tasker with benefits beyond the scope of the mere mortal. You will be fine. The mice told me.

    • Yes, we all have vices, but I only stopped once I was found out and the supply was cut off. Still, it was a blessing to hit rock bottom.

      And I will indeed accept as truth the words of your wise mice.

      I think I want a beer now too 🙂

  11. I see you mentioned rosacea. One word… SOLODYN. I have rosacea 10 times worse than you do…AWFUL! Mine is SO red, SO bumpy, SO awful. I hit it or tried to hide it forever. Finally told my dermo that I needed something to cure it. He put me on Solodyn (80 mg once a day) and I have NO reddness, no bumps, no rosacea. If I skip a few days, it starts creeping back. Get it! And the dermo’s have these coupon cards that you can get it straight from the manufacturer for $20 a month. I tried Metro, prosecea, and every other gel out there. Nothing even came close. Good luck!

    • Thank you! I actually go see my regular doctor again next week, and I’ll bring it up. Do you have any side effects? Can I ask what you’re paying after your $20 discount?

  12. Carmen: So sorry this past week has been so rough on you. I have had general anesthesia twice. Once for a cervical fusion which was fiberoptic and traumatic and the other one was recently for my hysterectomy. I also was worried sick about the anesthesia for the hysterectomy, but told them about the last time being traumatic and they made sure someone from anesthesia was there in preop holding and gave some extra calming meds before I even left that room. Last thing I remembered was moving from the gurney to the operating room table. They gave me something almost immediately and I was out. Not one problem and a piece of cake.

    I know you don’t need to hear this since you have been a nurse, but every step of the way, mention the anxiety over the anesthesia, tell them you are worried you will have a panic attack, the more they know hopefully the more prepared they will be and get you something to make you relax and get this operation over with ! I think a lot depends on the hospital too.. My cervical fusion surgery was done at one of the most well known (mega) hospitals in St. Louis. I found them to be more distant; I was just another number on the surgery schedule. But the other hospital I went to for the hysterectomy was amazing. The place was set up to make you feel more like being in a hotel. Meals were your choice. Private rooms. Nurses right outside your door. It is the newest hospital to be built in the St. Louis area and it was amazing. I am thinking of you often and wish I lived closer to you.

    You are awesome and I am so sorry that you have to feel you are under a microscope all the time. You have nothing to be ashamed of and instead should be proud of battling an addiction and winning. Sending you a hug. cindy

    • Thank you my darling admin. I really need to get on the ball and send you somee expired gift cards, don’t I? They are definitely going to have to give this gal some Versed or Ativan while in the pre-op holding area or I’m going to lose my shit and go crazy.

      As for the difference in hospitals, I’ve noticed that too because I’ve worked the gamut between small, rural places and giant teaching hospitals. The smaller the hospital generally means the more personal attention. Some hospitals here in Tucson are trying the new “restaurant-like” menus where the patient can order their own food, and the dishes can be modified for the patient’s specific dietary restrictions. I have found that patient’s love that, but in my case it really doesn’t matter: I’m looking at a steady diet of jello and broth for a week or two!

  13. I know you didn’t write this in order to receive sympathy or compliments…but, my 2 cents’ worth are simply this: admiration. You keep it real…you’re getting on with life…and, you are trying to make a difference by helping others faced with similar situations. Knowledge is so important. You rock, Snort. Truly.

  14. Dear Snort, I am sorry you aren’t feeling well and dealing with such anxiety. What I love about you is your honesty and forthrightness about your situation. It’s quite refreshing. As an RN that has dealt with many drug seekers, and me of course judging them (unfortunately), you are upfront and honest about your history with those that treat you. I have honestly never had a patient do that, so kudos to you. Your honesty has and will help you on your path. I hope you find some peace in your days and nights, and life will settle down for you. Hugs to you!

  15. Hi again! I am the 51 yr old mom of 3 who had a gastric bypass 2 1/2 years ago. I am so sorry to hear of the ongoing anxiety that others are causing you. What jumped out to me in your story is that your pharmacist should be fired! My dad is a GP and I work for him, so I know only too well the things you can and can’t do with all the new HIPAA rules. Unless you gave direct permission, even your spouse is not privy to your medical information. The fact that he/she “tattled” as to your prescription refill and your purchases is unconscionable. I don’t think I would be able to let that one go. Secondly, as to the anesthesia experience, for me it was boom – out! The last thing I remember is them asking me (for about the third time) to tell them why I was there. I was a little tired of the repeated need for verification (I know, it’s protocol…) so I said, “I’m here for a breast augmentation!” That made them all stop in their tracks – ha! Then I said, “Just kidding, here for a gastric bypass.” Next thing I knew – I was in the recovery room (and from there I most remember being itchy which they say is a common side effect of the anesthesia). Hang in there – I’m pulling for you!

    • Thanks, Jan! Don’t even get me started on HIPAA. I asked the man beforehand if I need to pick up the prescription in person because it is a controlled substance, and he said no, that my husband could show his picture ID and get it. I didn’t even think of the HIPAA stuff regarding the pharmacist. I’m tempted to go tell CVS to fuck themselves and take my business to Walgreens.

      And thank you for the reassuring words about the anesthesia! I feel calmer everytime I read that one of you says it is a piece of cake. I hope you’ve done well since your GB!

      • And just for the record, my only regret for the surgery is that I didn’t have it done ten years sooner! I followed their instructions post surgery, and really can’t say I had any problems. I did start exercising and never stopped (I work out 3-4 times a week now and feel I am in great shape) and now, I truly can eat just about anything, just not huge quantities. (although, I can see how one could fall back into bad habits and gain weight back. It is one of my fears, so I try not to let anything more than 5 pounds get past me before I freak out and get back on the wagon.) I have read horror stories, as well as success stories, but I really believe if you stick to the rules, the horror stories are few and far between. At my lowest (about a year post-op), I had lost 110 pounds. Most of the time now I hover around a 105 pound loss so it seems to be where my body is most comfortable. I think you are gonna do great!

      • I would, we like Walgreens a lot better. A pharmacist who thinks #30 TID PRN = a 30 day supply is not a pharmacist whose math I trust.

  16. a quick flyby to give you {{{hugs}}}. *Needing* to use xanax for anxiety, doesn’t not an addict make. (Hey! Yoda-speak and I didn’t mean to!!) I had (yes HAD!) BC a few yrs ago and did pretty well throughout many surgeries (mast, oorph, recon) and chemo. When it was *over* I lost it. My oncologist gave me xanax and it helps. Now that the anxiety-producing issues are father and farther behind me, I take less and less (except during scan times!). You’ll do fine. 🙂

    As for anesthesia, I have more surgeries in the past 3 yrs than a normal person should… I decline narcotics typically. They make me really sick. I *do* always ask for versed, then propofol for induction. I had ketamine ONE TIME and now lie and say I am allergic. I can still remember the feeling of panic.

    Finally, I can remember once, going in for some procedure… and feeling like I was going to crawl out of my skin. I asked for Ativan in my port and the nurse got really pissy and basically told me to get a grip. I’ll never forget that feeling of judgement. It was terrible. 😦 I can only imagine what it must be like to be treated like that every friggin’ time you fill an Rx. I’m sorry…

    • That’s awful that a nurse did that to you. I hope you complained about her, because it’s completely unacceptable. I would never do that to a pt.

    • You should have told that pre-op nurse to fuck off. After 10 years as a working nurse I know what I want, but I don’t want to be a bitch about it. I want Ativan or Versed in pre-op, no O2 mask (but blow-by is fine), I’m hoping for a propofol induction (that stuff works wonderfully and it never ceased to me in the ER how gentle the inductions were!), and I don’t want my arms strapped down to the table until after I’m out. Everyone has always said that nurses are the worst patients, and we really are because we know too much 🙂 How did the Ketamine make you feel?

      • the ketamine was horrible. It was when I was having my port put in… I can remember feeling frightened and tachycardic. Then I have vague memories of my surgeon leaning over me but looking angry. In retrospect, port placement requires some force so I’ll bet he was simply leaning over and inserting the guide wire. However, I can’t get that image out of my mind. 😦 So, no more ketamine. Never. Ever. Never.

        The smoothest inductions I’ve had are when I’ve listened to guided meditations when waiting for my IV to be placed; then, had versed and Emmend right as they are wheeling me to the OR ; and, propofol (no mask O2!!) for actual induction. If I get versed too soon, I get disoriented and confused. Also, recovery goes better for me if I decline any narcotics post OP. I tend to vomit a lot and my pain tolerance is pretty high.

        I used to ask for Ativan during chemo and scans. Just seeing adriamycin in the syringe is enough to make me puke and Ativan helped with the “anticipatory nausea”. Honestly, that bitchy nurse “declined” to give me Ativan once during my chemo and when I had to barf, I *accidentally* missed the barf bin. 🙂 She was never my chemo nurse again… and my most-favored nurse used to hit me with Ativan before I’d even see the *red devil* in the chemo syringe. 🙂 I would get gaggy but it wasn’t that bad and with my most-favored nurse, I never missed the bin. 🙂

        I think you’ll do well with your induction. I always tell newly diagnosed patients (I am a Reach for Recovery Volunteer) that you are the *customer* and that you have a right to have an opinion about what treatments you receive. Whether it is pre-surgical medications or post-operative pain relief… Part of the job of the nurses and MDs is to make you comfortable. There is always a risk of addiction and dependence… And, of course, medical professionals have to work to keep the patient safe… But that *doesn’t* mean that you relinquish your rights to all medications. It is just another variable in the decision-making process.


  17. Magic words: Ativan and Versed! I had surgery in May (appendicitis) and I was a wreck waiting for the CRNA to get to our little hospital. I ended up waiting an extra hour because someone actually forgot to call Hot Todd. I love my little hospital, but this did NOT help my anxiety. It took 8mg of zofran and 2mg of dilaudid IVP to start to bring me back to some degree of comfort. DH kept pushing for me to get ativan because I was so worked up. I refused, because I was worried about waking up and I’m notorious for being a slow waker upper.

    Once Hot Todd arrived and I was able to be wheeled into OR, I wanted to kiss him when he told me he was giving me a little versed. The next 10 min. passed in about 10 seconds. I remember him telling me the mask was just O2, and the next thing I remember was the PAR nurse telling me she was taking me upstairs to stay overnight for observation.

    Seriously, ask for ativan pre-op, once all your paperwork is signed. Preferably IVP. DH had emergency surgery 8/17, and they don’t come any more mentally stable than he is. He’s had horrible experiences with surgery, however, and had a panic attack. 2mg of Ativan IVP later, he was still shaking. I kept think his blood sugar had to be low, but he was just that upset. He’d also had 1mg of IVP dilaudid too. You’re going to need it, and it’s okay.

    The versed was amazing, IMO. I completely drifted off pre-intubation, no scary mask issues, and I apparently didn’t say anything stupid, like calling the CRNA Hot Todd. Even though he really is hot.

    I’m one who rolls her eyes when pts. come in claiming that ONLY dilaudid works for their pain. They are allergic to keterolac, morphine, etc. However, I puke almost instantly from morphine, but not dilaudid. No clue why, since the liver treats them the same in the end. No nausea from dilaudid and can tolerate large doses, puke on a lousy 2mg of morphine. Sucks to puke when you’ve just had abdominal surgery–even if it is just a lap appy. So I have really learned my lesson about being skeptical of pts. like this.

    In a small down, we do have our regulars, and the sad thing is they really truly do have pain. Several of them have crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, and one has been in recovery from dilaudid addiction. She ended up back in our ER after not being in for nearly 6 mo. with a PE. Staff on the med/surg floor were pissed when they saw she had ativan and dilaudid orders. Well of course she had those orders, she had a freakin’ PE!! I don’t think a lot of our staff understand the difference between dependance and addiction either. On top of that, I really think these chronic pain “Seekers” need much higher doses than the average pt. because their bodies tolerate so much more. It’s a vicious cycle. The PE pt. and I had a conversation about how we want to help her pain/anxiety r/t her diagnosis, but we also wanted to support her sobriety. She told me she appreciated me being so direct with her. She called her sponsors to sit with her the first night. Unfortunately, she’s fallen off the wagon–not d/t this situation though.

    I know this was a novel, just had a lot to say on this particular subject. Thinking of you, and offering lots of cyber support.

    Hang in there, Snort-y

    • I used to roll my eyes at those that came in the ER and were like, “Tylenol makes me so sick, but Demerol works just fine!” Sure, honey. There were some people with legit pain issues who would bring in their prescriptions or we could read their history in the computer. Others were flagged in the computer that they had a history of leaving with an IV in their arm or demanding certain drugs that were not appropriate (one dude wanted Dilaudid 4mg IV when he got his ingrown toenail cut out).

      I will be asking for Ativan or Versed. You can bet on that. As for me and Dilaudid, it initially makes me woozy then after 10 minutes I was hyper. don’t know if it was a brain chemistry thing or what. Thank you for your love and support! *hugs*

  18. Just wanted to give you some more support. I sincerely hope y’all are all feeling better soon.

    I freaking love the idea of you lecturing on narcotic abuse and I will keep my extremities crossed that you can make that happen. It is easy to see that you still have that passion to help people and I think that would be a great opportunity for you!

    Also, fricking anxiety attacks fricking suck. I’m so sorry you’re battling this.

    • Thanks! I have sent letters to the Deans of local nursing programs but have yet to hear back. I don’t know how else to approach it, but I certainly have no qualms about sharing my story. And yes….anxiety attacks fucking suck. They suck donkey balls.

  19. Hi Snort
    I’m sorry you have to deal with people being assholes when it comes to the meds you take. You have not given (at least to my knowledge) anyone signs that you may have gone back to abusing them.
    There are a few people at my pharmacy who think I’m an drug addict and/or dealer and/or altering my script to get more. I’ve been on what they consider a “high dose” of dilaudid (16mg q4) since I started getting meds there a year earlier. They have called my doctor on more than one occassion to check my script. I also have family and some ex friends who say I’m an addict no matter how many times I as well as my team tell them otherwise. I come from a family with addicts on both sides so I am very careful and my pain doctor also keeps a good eye on me.
    As for the surgery, I have no advice. Surgeries have never phased me (even after waking up mid surgery on more than one occasion). I normally get wheeled into the OR wide awake (my choice) so I can see who will take part in my slice and dice. I know a bunch of people who ask for something to relax them before going into the OR. Some hospitals will let you listen to your iPod/mp3 player during surgery. The player gets stuck in the hairnet and you put the earbuds/headphones/ear phones in your ears. It helps calm you down a bit and works to distract you (focusing on the song instead of the mask, ect).
    Looks like I once again word vomited on you. I’m sorry (as well as being sorry for all the mistakes, im using my phone).

    • You know, Spoonie, I can’t figure out why you keep thinking you’re word vomiting all over me! I love hearing from my friends and learning about their lives; this is nice in this case because we have actually never met in person!

      With what you’ve got going on medically speaking, I can see how some pharmacists would question the pain meds. But, I, on the other hand, get it. I don’t know how you do it with the surgeries, the constant pain, and having to keep count of your spoons. It makes me admire you all the more. I remember once when I worked on an organ transplant unit, there was a 25 year old girl who had CF and had been through 2 different double lung transplants. She was back in the hospital for rejection issues and pain management. Her pain doctor had her on Fentanyl lollipops in addition to scheduled doses of Opana (oxymorphone). I remember many a time going in her room and finding her asleep with one of those 400 mcg fentanyl suckers in her mouth. I’d take it out and put it in the sharps container. That’s the thing with opiates: you build a tolerance, and the sky, literally, is the limit. Nobody should be judged for that.

      And I hope you found all of those pills you spilled on the floor the other day!

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