A month ago I was hospitalized due to dehydration from a stomach infection. While in the hospital I was unable to take any of my regular medication because I wasn’t able to hold anything down.
I started to “flare up” from my rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.
I asked for IV painkillers to try and help alleviate the pain, forgetting that I already had a fentanyl patch on. There was a bad reaction from combining the medications. Minutes after they started the IV, I stopped breathing, my heart rate and blood pressure dropped, and the emergency ICU team was called in.
After 20 minutes I came to and began responding. An hour later I was breathing on my own.
After my near death experience, I decided I was going to stop taking all of my medications. I was desperate and frustrated because I felt like none of my medications were working, and I was afraid of what happened to me in the hospital. I did this without consulting with my doctor, which was my number one mistake.
I went through several different stages of withdrawal during detox. At first I felt anxious and tired all the time. My husband had to pick up the slack for me most days.
The second phase I went through was anger and rage; everything set me off. I would get upset over the smallest things. I couldn’t be around my family or friends because I knew I would probably say or do something inappropriate.
The final stage I went through was depression. No one wanted to be around me, which I completely understand now. I spent a lot of time crying because I was hurting so much and I hated everyone for not understanding what I was going through.
I was so sick and desperate that I finally decided to tell my doctor that I was detoxing from all 14 medications.
He enlightened me about the risks and effects of stopping certain medications without tapering off first. He prescribed three medications and told me I should continue taking my vitamins and holistic medicine. I also needed x-rays because there’s a possibility that my attempt at detox caused damage to my joints.
My family and friends warned me several times about seeking medical help with my detox, but I refused. My social life suffered, my family suffered, and I was suffering as well.
Today, I’m in a good place and my pain is somewhat under control.
In an attempt to cure myself on my own, I ended up causing more harm than good. I never realized how much it would affect me and those around me. Luckily, the people closest to me understand that sometimes it’s not really “me” talking to them or acting out.
My advice to anyone seeking a different treatment plan is to consult with your doctor first. Let those around you know what you’re planning and that your mood or character may change during the process. Not everyone will understand or care to inform themselves, which is okay. Just hang on to the people who are willing to stand by your side.
Arlene Grau lives in Lakewood, California with her family. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.
The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.