Starting over

  1. Hi there,
    My name is Kate and I've been a nurse for the last 17 years. I have mostly worked in ICU/CCU, but I did a 4 year stint in school nursing (probably one of the highlights of my life ) at a local grade school. I have 2 kids and I've been married for 17 years as well. And Im addicted to Vicodin.

    The first year out of nursing school, after I was an "offical" RN, I was working nightshift. I loved the freedom on nightshift and my coworkers were all the best. One night I had a very heavy patient, and it wasn't just the amount of work load but the patient himself. He was well over 400 pounds and had a history of asthma, yet he was only 16 years old. He had to be placed on ventilator support and was total care. So being on nightshift I was the one to give him his bedbath. It was during this that my life would start down a path whose end lay 17 years in the future. I was injured , herniated disc which required surgery. I developed foot drop and partial permenent disability in my r leg. I developed chronic pain and of course the drug that worked best for me had to be Vicodin. Now I knew how addictive these buggers were, yet I told myself I would be able to handle it. One a day, no more and NEVER at work! To be honest I did just that for a long time. I took them for the pain, only one, and if my pain was to bad, I would call out rather than go to work impaired. Time was though I stopped taking them for pain, and started taking them for anxiety, or stress, or to help me sleep or a dozen other reasons to take my one a day. (like it was a vitimin or something) After about 9 or 10 years of playing around with it and taking one (or 2 now) a day I started having arthritic pains in my hands and feet, and I was exhausted all the time. I started taking the vicodin more frequently to help me get through, and it worked like a charm. It helped melt away the pain and I felt normal. But soon the pain was bad enough I went to see a specialist, a rheumatologist. She had me stop taking the vicodin and try ultram. I had been feeling like mabey I should get off the vicodin anyway so I agreed and was free for about a year or so. It was like a cloud had lifted off me and I could see finally . My life was hazy and now it was all so clear. But the pains from my fibromyalgia (I had been dx'd in the mean time with fibro) were getting worse and the ultram was not helping.
    One day I happend to be at my mothers house, and I was in ALOT of pain. My mother (a nurse as well) just happened to have something to help me....And I caved to so easily and completely I'm ashamed to admit it:imbar. I even remember that day, the feeling of the medicine working, the clouds coming back and blurring all the pain and self doubt and anxiety that real life contained. I remember deciding, or rationalizing rather, that I would go back to my GP that week and get a script. I did exactly that and have been on the rollercoaster ever since. One thing I changed was the amount I took. I no longer kept myself to one a day, I was taking it Q4H prn. And in my mind I NEEDED it. I was in PAIN!! I developed migranes and it was another excuse to keep taking it. I would get into fights about it with my husband, my brothers and sister and my parents if they even thought about labeling me as an addict.
    Now though, I've come to realize over the last five years of 6 pills a day that I've been destroying my body. I've developed weakness, imbalance, forgetfulness, tremors and body tics. The worst is seizures. I started having all these bizaar symptoms and thought "good god I have ..." what I thought was MS, then Lymes then it was a seizure disorder when those symptoms popped up. (I had multiple EEG's that came back negative and I was diagnose with psychogenic seizures!! ) I had no idea what was going on with my body. Due to the nature of the symptoms I left work. I didn't feel safe taking care of patients if I might passible have a seizure or worse become forgetful and hurt someone. I thank God for giving me the knowledge to leave when I did. I never got to the point where I diverted or worse hurt someone, but I wont lie and say I didn't get to a point where I was taking them at work. I would have the best of intentions and try not to, but inevitably I would.
    I didnt think to look it up until my husband casually mentioned it, but some of the side effects of vicodin use/abuse were exactly some of the dam things I was going through. So now, 5 years later, or 17 to be honest with myself, I have finally...finally realized and accepted that yes I'm an addict and I need help.
    So I've got my ticket and I'm going to detox and then rehab. I have decided to start my life over and remain positive as much as possible.

    Sorry for the long post, just wanted to get it out there. Thanks!
  2. Visit Gypsiekate profile page

    About Gypsiekate

    Joined: Jun '08; Posts: 4; Likes: 9
    Specialty: 17 year(s) of experience in PICU,CCU/ICU, School Nursing,Home Health


  3. by   Silverdragon102
    Thank you for posting your story and good luck
  4. by   Veteran Nurse
    Gypsiekate, please come back to this thread to post updates as often as you can. These threads are so important in recovery, and give so many hope. I wish you the best. You can do it. I also want to ask if you drink diet sodas, or ingest anything containing Aspertame. This chemical is notorious for causing symptoms that mimic those of Fibromyalgia, etc...
  5. by   Gypsiekate
    I'll post as soon as I get back, lol. I'll be away for the next 30 days.
    As to the soda/aspartemine, no I don't drink anything diet, I generally just drink water or unsweetened iced tea or hot tea. I dont really even drink coffee. I've looked for so many reasons and causes, but there doesn't seem to be anything out there just yet!
    Wish me luck and bon voyage ladies....I have alot of work ahead of me I know, but part of me knows this is a new beginning and is very excited!:spin:
  6. by   sissiesmama
    Hey Gypsiekate - I am also an addict. Glad to hear your story. I am sorry that you have had so much pain but I am glad you are here with us and are going to seek out help for your addiction.

    I was one of those nurses who diverted at work. I never thought I would do it, but I did. I am so glad you have chosen to come here and share with us. Please feel free to post anytime or pm if you need to. You will get some great feedback from fellow addicts here.

    Anne, RNC
  7. by   ms. papa RN AGAIN
    How very, very good you are going to get some help with this!! It will not be an easy thing to go through but once you get to the other side you can stand tall and proud. I have lately started thinking about overcoming my addiction to pain pills as being almost an assest! I am one strong lady to have made it through. Just don't buy in to the disease model "weak, helpless, and hopeless" stuff or the idea that relapse is part of recovery. You can choose to forever abstain from harmful chemicals and do it. You are strong enough to go to detox, you are strong enough to accept accountability for your choices so I would say you are strong enough to say "I really f-d up and I am done." Once the withdrawls are done good ole' stubborn thinking will help. Just make sure you have found the right motivation to stay clean and always remember that. I'm not gonna say good luck but Good choice!!!!!
  8. by   Gypsiekate
    :icon_hug::flowersfo I could just hug all of you!!! Thank you so much for your inspiration and good wishes!! I can't believe how lucky I am to have stumbled onto this site at this time!! This just kinda confirms that I am on the right path!
  9. by   sissiesmama
    Quote from Gypsiekate
    :icon_hug::flowersfo I could just hug all of you!!! Thank you so much for your inspiration and good wishes!! I can't believe how lucky I am to have stumbled onto this site at this time!! This just kinda confirms that I am on the right path!
    By coming here, you have "inherited" a support system that you can reach wherever you can get online!

    Anne, RNC
  10. by   Tweety
    It takes a lot of courage to do what your doing. You can be proud of that. Good luck to you!!!
  11. by   Shell5
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. When you get back please let all of us know how you are. Stay on the path. You have support here. If you need an ear or would like a friend I am here. I can relate.