time for my mea cupa

  1. This may take a moment to read, but a cleansing of the soul is needed.I have been a nurse for 6 years, though I am told that I don't cut enough corners to get off the clock in time, I have always received excellent reviews of my clinical and patient care.That being said, about 05/2005 I hurt my back at work when I caught a pt who was falling (24hr post knee replacement on morphine pca who thought she could walk to the bathroom...yeah right !) 2 days later I woke up and could barely move my right leg, no feeling whatsoever, I dragged myself and my leg to the ER and found out I had severe herniation of L4,L5 and S1 with intrusion on spinal nerves. well they wanted to operate but with an estimated 2months recovery time I couldn't do it, I am still heavily in debt from school and just bought a house. My chiropractor over 2 weeks was able to regain most feeling in my leg but then the pain set in. I was working this whole time, dragging leg around work (coworkers were great to help when they could) so my pcp set me up with percocet, soma for spasms, and tramadol for 10 days.I would grin and bear at work, but the moment I clocked out I took my meds. Well there came the point where pcp said either get surgery, or go to pain management doc as she couldn't keep giving me meds. I understood, and attempted to go without.This is where I begin to spiral and to this day can barely understand how I allowed these events to transpire. My pain I thought was unbareable, when I realize now it was pain mixed with withdrawal. My b/p shot to 210/102, I was sweating, pulse racing,my pulse when I could stand still long enough to take it was 140, I felt like my body wanted to explode out of my skin....This is very cliche, but unless you have felt the effects of opiate withdrawal its very difficult to understand.In our pixis we had E supply if pharmacy was too busy, so I initially began taking percocet from there on recently discharged but still in system pts. This is very important to note : NEVER have I ever denied a pt there meds, or took any of the soon to be named narcotics while at work. I have hurt myself and the nursing profession, but my one saving grace is that I never indangered a pt or caused one to suffer because of my addiction. I quickly discovered that I could take IV meds without using pt name and with relief that much quicker I made morphine,dilaudid, and demerol my saviors(actually the devil in disguise, but only sobriety allows you to see that.) When work started poking through reports because of increase of IV med use on floor I quickly quit and went to snf as supervisor where I had access to all 4 units E-Kits. They only carried demerol, so that became my drug of choice. I was there 6 weeks when 1 of the nurses thought it odd that the supervisor was taking meds from E-Kit and asked me about it. I played it off, and the next day I quit for new facility. At new snf I was fllor nurse and once again tried to abstain,but 6 hours of withdrawal was enough to make suicide look good ( symptoms actually begin 48-72hrs after last dose) so I thought a little wouldn't hurt. There is one nurse I hated at the time, but I have gone back and thanked her profusely because she saved my life. I was out in the parking lot after shift, doing 75mg demerol evry 30mins for about 3 or 4 hours, and nodding in between, when a loud knock at my window woke me. She was banging on window at pointing to the syring on the seat next to me. I put the car in drive and left, off to find a new spot to hide and enjoy my drugs.
    The next day brought a moment of clarity when all the shame set in, I walked into my DON and administrator and told them what I had taken from facility and that I wished to reinburse them. I also explained I had called IPN and voluntarily enrolled myself, and that I had already thru my insurance set up to go to a 30 day detox/rehab initially. They thanked me for my honesty, asked me to write down what I had taken so they could figure amount owed, and wished me well, but of course I was fired. I did as they asked, and left. I was at home packing for detox with a stunned husband at my side (denial is not just a river in egypt) when there was a knock at my door and the police were there to arrest me for grand theft/obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.Apparently the facility called and said it was their policy to prosecute and wanted me arrested. I won't even begin to go into the nightmare that is being arrested and jail, but couple that with withdrawal setting in....I still don't know how I made it.My husband has been wonderful, though it has taken a lot of counseling and will take much more for him and I, we take it day by day. As for legally, well I am in a drug court program that tests you for 1 year 4X a week and if you remain clean and comply with directives they dismiss the charges in 1 year. I am 7 months into it and doing great! as for nursing, that is a whole other ball of wax.The board sentenced me to IPN(which I'm already in) 2500.00$ in fines and costs. I have been working as a waitress for the last 7 months, I needed time to cleanse my mind and body of the crap I did to it, and learn how to deal with everyday life again. In about 2 months I plan on begin looking for work though I know it will next to impossible to find someone to take a chance on me, I would like a nice dialysis, or desk type job at first, just to take things slowly and because my husband is terrified of me returning to a setting where meds are readily available, I can understand his fear though I feel NO URGE WHATSOEVER for those drugs anymore, it is going to take awhile for him and others to trust me again.
    Thanks for listening, hope no one fell asleep it was just alot to get out.
    Learn from my mistake, ask for help if needed, and only take pain meds for short intervals when absolutely necessary.
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    Good luck to you...been there, sober 12 years and 7 months.
  4. by   PANurseRN1
    (((((sheilagh)))))
  5. by   PurrRN
    I feel so badly that you are going through such a rough time in your life. To your credit, you are doing what you have to do to correct your mistake. Although ugly, this mistake doesn't have to define you, and it sounds as if you aren't going to let it. You have a rocky road to walk, and I hope you are successful in your endevors. I'm very glad that you posted, because it reminded me that drug use doesn't always start out as a recreational pursuit, thank you.
  6. by   SharonH, RN
    Good luck. It sounds like a nightmare but you have come out on the other side.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry you went through this.
  8. by   gentle
    You are not alone going through this situation. I have some buddies who have had a similar struggle. They came out okay, and yes you will too. Keep taking one day at a time.
  9. by   muffie
    thanks for being so brave and sharing with us
    you sound very positive right now
    keep up the good work
    what an amazing husband
    keep us posted on your successes please
    i wish you the very best one day at a time
  10. by   BabyRN2Be
    Just one question: why did you not seek out a chronic pain specialist when your PCP refused to order any more narcotics? Or did you and I missed that part in your post, and I'm sorry if I did miss it.

    Are you still in pain now, if yes, can you seek out a chronic pain specialist?

    I, too, am sorry you had to go through this. I do wish you the very best of luck and I pray that you now have your pain under control.
  11. by   Silverdragon102
    sorry you have gone through this and well done and making it through Good luck to your future
  12. by   aainme
    Sheilagh....addiction to anything is cunning...no one ever sets out on that lonley path.. the bottom we hit is emotional, physical and spiritual.... the climb out is a day by day thing of always trying to do the next right thing... be grateful for each day clean and sober... one day turns into one month...one month into a year ....i look back at 20 years, 4months, 9 days......i use to think my life was over when i had to change and get clean and sober.......but i found that on that day my life really began....laura
  13. by   traumaRUs
    Thanks for sharing. Truly you might try dialysis. I work with a recovering RN who can't (per the BON) be around narcotics and that is working well.
  14. by   NurseCard
    Wow, what an uplifting story of recovery. Thank you so much for sharing. The only thing I want to say is that I really hope your pain is better. Did you say if you ever decided to have surgery to make the pain better, or did I miss that in your story? Anyway, I truly hope your pain is better.

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