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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2008-06-03 02:45
Subject: [cancer] Up all night
Security: Public
Location:Nuevo Rancho Lake
Mood:awake far too early
Music:the ticking of the grandfather clock
Tags:cancer, personal
It's 2:45 a.m. as I write this post. The observant reader will note that I rarely post at this hour.

I've discovered something about kicking the opiates. My habitual inability to sleep on my back is magnified by a lack of sleep-inducing drugs. Right side still hurts immediately. Left side hurts after several minutes. I've even contemplated turning turtle, but somehow lying with my entire weight on the surgical seam sounds just nuts.

So now I'm on the couch with Spike, where I can at least prop myself up comfortably. At some point sheer exhaustion will take hold, but at some point I need to be back at work, too. Even when I am in health I occasionally have a sleepless night, so I'm not too worried. I'd better crash hard tomorrow night.
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When life gives you lemmings...
User: danjite
Date: 2008-06-03 11:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)


I don't know your body's rate of acceptance/addiction, but being off the opiates after as little as two weeks of constant use can cause withdrawl symptoms- and back pain is a symptom of opiate withdrawl.

Which is why so many folks who are given opiates for back pain become addicted.
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User: ellameena
Date: 2008-06-03 16:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Actually, people given opiates for pain, back or otherwise, rarely become addicted. This is a myth.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-06-03 16:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I wasn't addicted in a psychological sense, but I definitely have experienced low-level withdrawal symptoms as I transition off the hydromorphone.

Specifically: cold sweats, irritability, transient depression, low energy, sleeplessness, and minor-to-moderate physical discomforts (not all of them connected to the surgery site). However, no pain, which is why I am off them.

It has occurred to me that if I went back on I'd sleep a lot better, but I *hate* the way the drugs dull my thinking.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2008-06-04 02:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hmm. Not quite as bad as the time I went cold turkey off of Prednisone, then. The low doses they give for a Pred burst (due to asthma issues) are generally not tapered down (issues of adrenaline production apply for the higher dosages, over the 30 mg I get for a Pred burst).

I had serious headache, shakiness (hands actually trembling), cold sweats, panic attack, elevated pulse rate--man, it was incredibly awful. And then I crashed.

Now I taper off the Pred, and I try to avoid getting put in a position where I have to take it. Pred is an incredibly seductive drug, because once it kicks your system into high adrenaline gear, you feel good. Really, really good. I scored one of my first big ski days last year on Pred.

However, I'm also very hyper on Pred (gibbertweet) and I'm bouncing off of walls, quite ADHD, and rather obnoxious. Once I start tapering, I start getting quite tired and eventually crash.

Considering that breathing is usually a problem when I hit the Pred, though, it beats the alternative.

As for your drugs, what if you just took one at nighttime?
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Brian Dolton
User: tchernabyelo
Date: 2008-06-03 11:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Nearly eleven years ago I was in a car crash and broke six ribs (at the back, just where they join the spine - I think they impacted the shoulder-blade or something). After only four or five days in hospital on morphine I was sent home, with only co-proxamol for company. Moving was incedibly painful, and changing from a sitting to a lying position was the worst (and any movement while lying down), so I just stayed up all night sitting in a big armchair, and only went to bed about 5.30 when I was so tired that I could sleep my way through the pain.

So, like, I feel your pain, dude. Get well soon.


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jackwilliambell
User: jackwilliambell
Date: 2008-06-03 12:26 (UTC)
Subject: Try a recliner
Due to back issues I have had problems sleeping on a bed for years. Usually I can only sleep a few hours laying down before the pain wakes me.

As a result I sleep whenever I can on a quality recliner. (I use one with good lumbar support.) This has other advantages in that I can adjust how much I am laying back and the more upright I am the less problems I have with sleep apnea.

Give a recliner a shot!
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the_blue_fenix
User: the_blue_fenix
Date: 2008-06-03 13:12 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Try a recliner
You beat me to that piece of advice. A friend slept in one for several weeks after major abdominal surgery and she got great results.

(g) you aren't getting out of running the Fencon writer's workshop THAT easily, pal.

TBF, distant but friendly acquaintance.
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threeoutside
User: threeoutside
Date: 2008-06-03 12:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The earlier comment was right on: it takes a long, long time to work all the opiates out of your system.

The recliner's a good idea. My hubby slept in one for years (not at a TIME, of course, but you know, every night. lol) Matter of fact, if you want his comfy, beat-up old leather recliner (complete with duct-tape patch on a tear on the arm and a locking pliers to un-recline the leg suport!) I'll be happy to ship it to you. You pay the postage, of course. LOL!

Take care, rest as much as you need to - see you as soon as you're back to Omaha!
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2008-06-03 12:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It can take a while to recover from surgery of any type. Even with the opiates, my DH was sleeping in a recliner for well over a month after his shoulder surgery. He's only now just able to sleep on his injured shoulder--it's been five and a half months.

Recliners work very well for the recovering. Might be a worthwhile investment.
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User: ellameena
Date: 2008-06-03 16:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Jay, go ahead and take some narcotic pain relievers at night. You are not addicted and do not need to go "cold turkey." What you need is adequate pain relief. It's a tragedy that so many millions of people are afraid of the blessed relief brought by opioid pain relievers to the point that they would rather suffer than become "addicted." This is propaganda from the war on drugs. Don't believe it. My mother has been on opioid pain relievers continuously for three years. She went off of them for a while recently (it's a long story), and did not go through "withdrawal." Opioids are the safest and most effective pain relief you can get. (Also cheap.)

What is the rush for getting off of the narcotics? Is your doctor pushing you? I know you don't like being fuzzy-headed, but why not use them at night if pain is keeping you up? Don't suffer needlessly.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-06-03 16:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I really hate what they do to my brain. It hadn't occurred to me in any serious way to take them in the evening only. I certainly have a plentiful supply here.
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User: ellameena
Date: 2008-06-03 16:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You really haven't been on them very long. Let your doctor worry about addiction/withdrawal. You just get better. *hug*
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2008-06-04 02:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What she said. Also, the doctors will cut you off after a certain period of time.

DH pretty much used his at nighttime, or during the day when he started having pain after being active. He went to intermittent pain pills pretty quickly, going by his own reactions rather than taking them on any schedule (actually, I think it was at just about this point in time post-surgery).
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martianmooncrab
User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2008-06-03 17:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
get a reclining ManChair, with a couple of carefully arranged pillows you can sleep.

and really, cut the pills in bits and take a bit for getting to sleep at night. You dont have to take a whole pill there Neo.
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User: sevoo
Date: 2008-06-03 22:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
you might try one of the various little pillows they make for pregnant women. I had a little round wedge I propped my belly on for most of the pregnancy, and it helped with post-c-section pain when sleeping on my side.

heck, if you know someone driving from seattle to your place any time soon I could probably send them down to you; I think I've still got the wedge and I know I still have the Big C Shaped Body Pillow Of Doom.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-06-03 23:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think a number of folks are driving down Saturday for JayCon, if you're serious about that. I can try to hook you up.
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User: sevoo
Date: 2008-06-04 06:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have laid hands on the Big C-Shaped Body Pillow of Doom if you'd like it. Still looking for the wedge, which is I think the more useful item but may be buried or even permanently lost in post-baby chaos. :/
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-06-05 02:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
jackwilliambell is driving down this Saturday, as are bhagwanx, frabjouslinz and mikigarrison. Do you know any of them?
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User: sevoo
Date: 2008-06-07 01:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
sorry I totally dropped the ball on this. I still can't find the wedge, which I would expect was the right tool for the job. I'm not convinced the body pillow will get you better sleep than the recliner seems to be offering but you can have it anyway!

I don't know any of those people by their lj-handles, though they might know aynjel-who-I-live-with. I will put the body pillow in a bag on my front porch & email you my address if your minions want to come get it!

(my daughter has a gorgeous shiner to show for what kept me distracted most of the day -- baby-vs.-bookcase, you should see the other guy! note to self: watch out for shelves that are exactly at her eye-level.)
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