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And so, to hospital

I hate hospitals.

Really, really hate them.

Since childhood, I’ve been paraded around them for various reasons; hooked up to so many machines I hear the beep in my dreams. I’ve been sick on so many hospital floors, and each and every single hospital visit – be it a planned appointment or a trip to A&E – has left me a nervous wreck.

I’m not ashamed to admit this: I just can’t cope with it. The smell. The horrible lights. The feeling of vulnerability and the worry you’ll never sleep properly again. The strange faces and unpredictable noises… and the memories of the times I’ve been really, really ill. Vomiting up black stuff all over the polished A&E floor, tripping on morphine and hooked up to every piece of machinery in the world. Happily floating on a cloud of prescribed IV opiates, not giving the slightest damn about anything but going to sleep and not waking up again.

So yes.

I really hate hospitals.

hanging-iv-bag

But I also hate being sick. Admitting to a phobia of vomiting sounds weak somehow; it’s hardly the worst thing to happen to a person, but it utterly terrifies me. I suspect it stems from years of bulimia; controlled vomiting is entirely different to actual sickness, and it’s the lack of control I can’t cope with. Vomiting for days on end and being unable to take my meds, wash, dress myself, eat, drink, or even sleep in the same bed as S… it all took its toll, and I ended up in A&E this morning, wired up to a drip and covered in heart monitor pads.

I admit, it wasn’t the plan.

I had an appointment with my GP this morning – to check up on my medications, which need to be raised or changed, how the pain is going… I didn’t make it, because I was busy concentrating on not vomiting in the taxi on the way to hospital.

If you’ve never been scared of being sick, you can’t imagine just how terrifying it is. Every movement, every sound, every thought even… if you feel nauseous, anything can and will set you off, and it’s utterly horrible when it happens. I’ve never vomited as an adult and not had a panic attack during. It’s not a pretty situation.

So I lay there. Sat up. Lay down again. Went to the toilet a million times. Couldn’t get comfy. The only time I’ve been on my own in A&E before is when I took an overdose – the latest in a line of them in my later teens – and my mother flat-out refused to accompany me. I resented her at the time, but I understand why now. I tried to quell the panic by browsing the internet on my phone, reading boring BBC news stories about absolutely nothing, trying to pretend everything’s okay.

18a_Cannula

Also, there was an added fear. One I haven’t mentioned to anyone, not even the doctor; I figured anything abnormal would show in the blood and heart tests. A few days ago I was in so much pain – agonising, screaming pain – that I caved, and begged everyone I know to find me some ‘proper’ painkillers. Z turned up with some 30mg co-codamol and, later, a strip of tramocet. Now, I’ve spoken about my little opiate problem before, but recently it’s been pretty dormant. I haven’t felt the need to self-medicate or block things out with tiny white pills.

However, fever doesn’t work well when you’re trying to be sensible. I accidentally took far too many painkillers; I don’t know how or why I did it, just that I took more than three times the recommended dose. It was in no way a suicide attempt, because I wasn’t truly aware of what I was doing. I just wanted the pain to stop, so I could finally get some sleep.

Then, days and nights of vomiting. Sweating; that horrible chemical-tinged sweat you get with opiates. Hallucinations and awful nightmares.

So that’s how I found myself curled up on a hard bed in A&E, trying to explain my ridiculous medical history, clutching an emesis basin and hating everything hospitals are.

I just can’t cope with them.

They scare me.

 

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22 Comments

Posted by on January 15, 2013 in Every day life

 

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I’m no superwoman.

About the drugs – you’re playing with fire. Don’t get burned.

- comment from YAPCaB

I’ll never learn. I try to; for the last few years, I’ve tried so hard to fight my various demons – painkiller addiction, bulimia, binge-eating, self-harm – the urge to sink and slip away from a world which has always confused me so much. I’ve tried to better myself.

I’ve never been one for willpower; I just never seemed to grasp the concept behind it. Giving things up… I’ve always had such an addictive personality that the idea of stopping a behavior - damaging or not – has long been something I can’t comprehend. I always had huge amounts of respect for those who give up smoking or lose weight without resorting to extreme dieting and making themselves vomit, because it’s something I’ve never really been able to do. A couple of days, maybe… but then I always slip back into old crutches and coping mechanisms.

Then, something changed. I split up with J, and suddenly I wanted to leave all that behind. I was single for the first time since fifteen years old and I’d finally torn myself away from J’s abuse, finally started to understand why my relationship with O failed so epically. For the first time I truly looked at myself and my life, and I wanted to be different. I didn’t want to keep adding scars.

Last night, I realised why decisions made in haste are never the best idea. I thought I’d be okay taking just a couple of Tramacet, but didn’t figure on them reacting with the usual meds. I certainly didn’t expect to be vomiting uncontrollably into a cereal bowl at 3am, sweating through my pyjamas and hallucinating that the walls were moving. I lay in the dark, stinking of spew and chemicals, and wondered why it seemed like such a good idea at the time.

Yesterday, I was stressed for no reason. Sad with no clues as to why. I’d meant to go out for a walk around the embankment, but tiredness was pulling at me and I’ve picked up my mother’s virus; really not what I need right now. With the benefit of hindsight I know exactly why I wanted to block the day out with Tramacet; I was scared of being ill.

I’ve been chronically sick for such a long time that the idea of spending a week or so battling the virus which has  all but crippled my mother is something I just couldn’t cope with. I know it’s weak; it’s only a virus after all. I just didn’t want to think about how long it takes me to recover from any illness thanks to fibromyalgia. I can still be exhausted by a cold months later. I didn’t want more sickness.

Of course, I just brought sickness on myself. Now, I’m sitting here in my bedroom, tucked under my purple duvet and leaning against a v-shaped pillow, wondering why I feel so bad. After all, it’s not like I have the urge to take any more tramacet. It’s not a relapse if I can’t stomach the thought of vomiting up bitter pills again. I just feel like I’ve let myself down, I suppose.

I’m no superwoman. I’ve proved that throughout my life. I react badly to stress and take criticism far too personally. My self-worth depends on my physical appearance. I seek approval. Relationships have been destroyed by my need to know where somebody is at all times. I’ve controlled others. Used drugs to blank out pain. Put myself in situations where I know a man will abuse me, and allowed it to happen. I’ve been in psychiatric hospitals; was given anti-psychotics at fourteen years old. I’ve had child therapists and I dropped out of school when the bullying became too much to deal with. I’ve lied to convince others my life is better than the reality. I’ve cheated on tests and in relationships, and taken my life for granted every time I tried to end it with paracetamol overdoses.

I’m not perfect. I never claimed to be. However, I do want to better myself regardless of the various ways I’ve tried to destroy everything. In the past I’ve somehow always managed to bounce back from hitting rock bottom, and I hold onto that knowledge. Sometimes, it’s all that keeps me going.

I’m okay. I’m getting there. It’s just hard to always stay upright.

 
73 Comments

Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Every day life

 

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It’s not a relapse if you only do it once, right?

I’ve been trying to avoid it for three days, but I’m planning on taking two tramacet and going to bed. At Z’s barbecue she gave me a couple of pills; I was only joking when I hinted for some but I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to space out in a lovely chemical calm. Tramadol and I… we have a history. I was addicted. Just like the codeine.

I took some codeine a few days ago. 5 pills, then 5 more the night after. I haven’t touched it for a while, but the urge to blanket my fears with opiates was too strong.

I’ve been tired all day. Tired, sore and anxious. Panicking over nothing and trying to avoid food. Counting calories. Wasting time until I can sleep.

I’m not sad. Just so tired. So filled with thoughts. I want to rest for a while.

It’s not a relapse if you only do it once, right?

 
14 Comments

Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Every day life

 

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