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Falling apart

Old 04-30-2007, 10:03 AM
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Falling apart

Okay guys. I really need your help. Most of you know my story. My husband has a very bad back and that is how his addiction started in about 2003. About 4 years after I married him. He was not an addict when we met, when we got married, and not even when we decided to have our child. The addiction came after. Well it kind of started while I was pregnant, but anyhow.... Here we are. He had back surgery in Feb of 2005. I had the doctor tell me to my face then that my husband might have to be on some sort of pain meds foir the rest of his life. I heard the doctor say it. I guess I just chose to ignore it. Well, since then I thought my husband was getting better, but then I would find out he went to the doctor behind my back to get meds. He will go for a long time without doing that and then he will do it again. He has been doing it more recently here lately. He doesnt get too much from them though because he is not staying messed up all the time and I can usually tell when he is. Well, last October on one of his visits to the doc they told him he had a cyst on his back from the surgery. Now with an addict we cant trust anything they tell us, right? So I dont know what to believe. He says they wanted him to have surgery then but he told them no. He has been back to other doctors since then, but I never get the full story or truth about what is said so.... I know he hurts. The doctor said he might hurt for the rest of his life. Some good days, some bad. Well, recently the bad days outweigh the good tremendously. My husband is asking me for help in finding him a doctor to help him. First I am terrified that they will tell us he has to have surgery again. I cant handle that. I dont think I can anyway. I know how selfish and uncaring this may sound, but I dont know how to handle it. I am not a caregiver. I am amazed at the fact that I can take care of our three year old son as well as I do. I dont want to have a husband that is sick and needs to be taken care of. I dont want to handle the financial burden that it will place on me with him being out of work again. Last time we had to move, we lost our car....
This whole situation is so hard. I am not trying to make my situation sound any different from any of yours I just feel like it would be different if my husband was just fine and one day decided to go out and buy crack and get high. But its not like that. My husbands addicitn started with a legitimate back problem. Yes he is an addict now, but still has the real back problems. I dont know how to seperate the two. I dont know how to help him find someone to help with his back problem without feeling like I am just handing him pain pills, or enabling. We have tried pain management before and all they did was give him more pills. And we tried me holding on to his meds and giving him them when he needed them, but that turned into a nightmare with him stealing them or getting mad when I wouldnt give him more than what he was supposed to have. I feel like I am falling apart over all of this. I dont know what to do or how to handle this. I dont want my husband to be paralyed cause his wife wouldnt let the doctors do to him what needed to be done, but at the same time I dont want him to live high on pain meds all the time cause I took him to the doctor to get them. What is wrong with me? I wouldnt wanthim to sit by and do nothing while I am in pain. Do you guys see what I am saying? Please dont think bad of me for this. I need some help, guidance, advise, helpfinding a good doctor, anything. I will say thank you in advance. I love you all.
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:08 AM
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i'm sorry, wendy - it is a really difficult situation. can you meet with him and doctors to come up with the best plan? would you be willing to have that kind of involvement at this point? just throwing it out there...blessings, k
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:42 AM
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Wendy I understand where your coming from. My fiance when we first met wouldnt even take a tylenol. Then he really messed his back up well thats when the pills came into play. He has 3 buldging discs. Curved spine. and Bone spurs up and down his spine. very painful. If he moves a certain way he is just brought to his knees. I can see the pain and suffering yet I can also see the addiction. There are 2 kinds of addiction. After a long while on the meds your become physically addicted to them. He doesnt abuse them takes what he is told to take and also wears the Duragesic Patch for pain too. then takes the pills for breakthrough pain. Its hard to watch. To him though its more of a quality of life than it is abusing pain meds. Sometimes he is in so much pain he has to sleep in his recliener sitting up. I know he hates the way he is with his meds I know he hates depending on something everyday to make him feel better. He has been on them 3 out of the 4yrs we have been together. He is also a machinist and he lifts steel bars and does alot of standing and walking and bending and lifting. His Dr wants him out on disabiltiy but sorry that doesnt cut it with the bills so he trucks on day in day out miserable and in pain.

I also have chronic pain but unlike my fiance I have a hard time taking as prescribed I like the way they make me feel and I like the pain releaf (sp) too. Its a catch 22 with me. I have lied stealed from my fiance then watch him suffer cause he is out of meds. I still need them now and then but I dont have access to them as they are locked up. I would get furious when my fiance wouldnt give me any when I wanted them. I warned him he was aware of my behavior and would ignore my tantrums. If he could see that I was in alot of pain he would give me a pill. We got through it and I am still clean not abusing. I dont take the pills first I try many other options b4 I go look like a looser and ask for one.

I hope he can get the help he needs to get better. Living in pain with little relief is so hard and its frustraiting. Has he tried shots in the back or maybe they can just drain the cyst with out surgery? I wish I had an answer for u. Most back sugerys arent successful which is why my fiance wont get it done. I can see where u are struggling with this. His dr's office should be able to refer him to a back specialist and tell him to call his dr and ask for a referal and if he doesnt like that one he can go to another no problem getting a second opinion.

Go check out some pain management boards and u can read first hand how these people with back problems live in constant pain. Its hard when he has addiction problems and u dont want to be the one who gives him more pills or lead him to another dr who will give him more pills. Unfortunatly sometimes the only pain relief they get are from opiate pain meds. I wish u luck.
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:42 AM
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((((Wendy))))
I'm sorry the both of you are going though this.

If I may, could I throw a few things that may be worth considering?
Please undertand this is said with the utmost caring for a very difficult situation.

Why is this your problem?
And by that I mean why aren't these decisions your husbands, rather than yours?
You can't heal him, so why isn't he looking for the good doctors?

I can only imagine how hard this must be, but you sound as if your plate is already full, dealing with a baby, him and what your future may or may not hold.

Let him do his own searching, whether it be for a new doc, more meds or a nice taste of soul searching. Many many people (including one of my best friends) have to live with cronic pain, and learn to medicate at a safe level, and long term if necessary. While his addiction may make the circumstances different, the pain is not.

Wendy, don't forget about you in all of this...you are important

((((hugs))))
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:45 AM
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Wendy, the situation is difficult and I'm sorry for yours and husband's pain.
Has hub been referred to physical therapy for his problem?
Just a thought as I at one time had severe back pain and pt solved the problem.
Hugs
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:56 AM
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frankie b, after the back surgery he was going to physical therapy like once a week and that doctor was giving him stronger stuff than his surgeon was.

Kj, I have been meaning to pm you with this whole situation and then this mornign I just decided to let it out to everyone. My husband and yours could be the same person. Mine is also a machinist doing the same things day in and day out. Bending lifting, etc... I am a freak when it comes to the money and so he takes some pills so he can keep working so I dont freak about the bils not being paid.

What is a duragesic patch? Never heard of it. About the shots, well he went to the doctor this morning and they gave him a shot, supposedly, of what I dont know.
Thank you for all your suggestions Kj. Very helpful.
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Old 04-30-2007, 11:17 AM
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I sent u a PM
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Old 04-30-2007, 01:43 PM
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Oh...Wendy....
What a dilemma. I wish I had some advice for you.
I just want to let you know that I am thinking about you and send you many many hugs.
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Old 04-30-2007, 02:03 PM
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(((Wendy))) Just some hugs. I know that this has been a topic on the Substance Abuse forum. Needing narcotics for legitimate pain and then finding you become addicted. Hugs, Marle
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Old 04-30-2007, 02:45 PM
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Thanks Marle. I posted the same thread over in the substancec abuse forum just to see what they would have to say about it, but like 13 people have viewed it but still no responses. It is just such a hard situation for me. It tears me right in the middle. I love my husband. I really do, no matter how many times a day I say I hate him. As much as I hate pain medicine I cant just sit back and watch him hurt. We have alot of fights because of this situation. He blames me alot for his back being in such bad shape. In 2003 when he first started hurting real bad he says he would tell me and I would gripe and complain about him not going to work so he would just take pain pills so he could go to work and me not complain about the money. For some reason my brain has blocked part of this time frame out. I know that part of that scenario is him manipulating, but in a way part of it is true. I wouldnt have anyn problem with the pain meds if he could just control himself, but hes an addict and he cant so why do even say that? I keep trying to tell myself that this is what God has given me and somehow I have to work through it because he had a reason for putting this on me, but I just dont know how to act or how to feel or how to be compassionate to my husband without looking like a total idiot enabler to outsiders.
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Old 04-30-2007, 03:09 PM
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((((wendy))))

Honey---I was worried about you not being around much.

You are in a hard situation. Mine started out similar. No drugs till after we were married. Started taking legitimately xanax for severe anxiety and panic disorder, started abusing it etc.....

Its hard. I understand what you mean about not wanting him to be in pain, not wanting him to hurt, but then not wanting him taking pain meds.

RAH and I had the same discussion about xanax. There's no simple answer for what your going through. My answer, that only worked for me, is that I simply could not tolerate him being on xanax and I wouldn't live with it. He could research and I'd even help him do it, on what other options there were. We did, he started trying out those options and so far so good.


Maybe you guys could do a little research on other options for back pain. New treatments come out everyday for all sorts of stuff.

(((wendy))) Just know that no one thinks you look like an idiot enabler. What "earth folk" think of you is none of YOUR business. They don't know your whole story or what goes on behind closed door. Yes, we all may enable at some point but you do what you can live with. Its not us living with your decisions honey, its you. What is said here can be taken into consideration but ultimately, you decide what you want in your life and what you are willing to put up with. We love ya honey and I'm glad you posted.
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Old 04-30-2007, 03:21 PM
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Oh, Laura it was so good to here from you too. I need you guys now more than ever. It really is a hard situation. And the "Earth people" that I worry about are'nt even normal. It is people like his parents. They are part of the reason why he is the way he is. Why would my brain give a crap what they think about me or what I do? I dont get it. Its just one of those days where I wish I could wake up from this nightmare. I would be willing to do some research for other options for his back problem, but then we start having discussions which then leads to him saying something I dont like, which leads to me getting mad and throwing a tantrum cause I have so much anger built up from having an addict for a husband. You know, I want to say "I did'nt sign on for this" . Its just so hard. Thanks for being here Laura! Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-30-2007, 03:32 PM
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I went thru the same thing. My ex was strong as an ox, he could pick me up and I am not light weight, he herniated 5 discs and fractured his sacrum at a job accident. Before this happened, he didn't believe in pills. This man went from 200 lbs of solid man to 160 lbs and he was 6ft4. We were married 9 months when the accident happened, planning a 2 month vacation to pan for gold in Alaska. He ended up peeing on himself before he got the urge he had to go and underwent 5 back surgeries in 3 years to repair damage and remove an excess of scar tissue that was pressing on the spinal column. He also started abusing his meds, instead 1-2 every 4-6 hours, after awhile he was taking 5 at a pop and crushing them so they worked faster. He was in legitimate pain BUT started selling marijauana out of our home to subsidize buying more narcotics on the street because his doctor wouldn't give him more. He was offered re-hab as an inpatient and refused. His poor judgement[buying a motorcycle and telling me he won it], is an example of the stuff that was going on. He had no business riding a bike, or buying a bike when he was living on a small disability and I was working and going to school full time. I ended up divorcing him when I found 2 pounds of pot in my garage with the scales. His liver had started to fail and he ended up diabetic. I don't know if he is still alive or not. I got sick of watching him nod off in the living room at 5 oclock and used to leave him and go to bed[he slept in the recliner also]. I felt sorry too, I couldn't leave him because this happened, but when he jeopardized my livelihood[I'm a nurse and a drug bust would cost me my license], that was it. I am so sorry for what you are going thru, I wish I had answers for you...good luck
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Old 04-30-2007, 03:49 PM
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i'm so sorry for your husbands pain and your concern for him and his pain, i don't have any advice either, i'm following your post though, i also have sometimes bad back pains, the last time i checked i had 1 herniated disk and 4 deteriating disk and they want to do surgery but so far i have choosen not to, don't know what that means for me in the long run, but from what you guys are saying, i may not want to have the surgery after all. right now, i'm able to take extra strength tylenol and maybe use a heating pad for pain, i choose not to take prescription pain meds because i do have an addictive nature and i did choose disability to help keep me from adding to my pain, i was a machinist too. so i don't understand how you and him feel. it was a big sacrifice for me to not continue to work, but thats ok, we're managing just fine now.

i don't have words of wisdom other than maybe get more opinions and i will keep both of you in my prayers
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Old 04-30-2007, 08:00 PM
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wendy sorry if I repeat something thats already been said I didnt read all replies.
I wanted to mention though that there are doctors out there that treat pain and are addictions specialists...........maybe you could do some checking around and see if you can find one.( or as others here would advise HAVE HIM check around.....I forget that I'm so use to stepping in and taking over......)
My AH has insomnia issues and most sleeping meds are addictive at least the ones that the general doctors want to use............so he went to an addictionologist who started giving him meds to sleep, but he changed the drug every three weeks to something different and used ones that were no going to be a problem.

We got the name of this doctor from our insurance and also (same recommendation) from the out patient treatment program.
Good luck to you both
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Old 05-01-2007, 06:18 AM
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There are so many issues concerning pain, REAL pain. My RAH had Crohn's disease years ago. SInce then he has/had an undetermined stomach disorder (IBS?) and being in the hospital on demerol triggered his re-addiction to heroin. When he was in active addiction (I didn't know he was using) he had "attacks" all the time, a couple were legitimate, and (I think) most were due to self-induced withdrawal (so he got get high again) or because he couldnt' get his DOC. I think the thing with pain meds is that most of the commonly prescribed ones are opiate based which, as we all know, opioids are highly addictive. They cause your brain receptors to change shape to accept the opioid instead of your brain's own pain-relieving chemicals. So, when you don't take your meds, your brain can't work like it is supposed to and you end up being in even MORE pain than you would be to begin with!! It is a vicious cycle. There ARE non-narcotic pain prescription pain relievers on the market, but the opioid based drugs are so cheap, it is what most docs prescribe. Thank you Afghani farmers, Taliban, and US drug companies..... dont' get me started.........
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Old 05-01-2007, 11:15 AM
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if he needs the operation, then he needs to get it. removing the cyst is not as bad as surgery on his back.maybe this will take care of the problem & he will not need the meds for pain.my husband had 3 vertibras removed from his back 4 yrs ago. it would not have been so bad if he had of had the operation 5yrs before he did. he is seeing dr.for pain management & is not taking any meds.maybe you can check into that.prayers for your husband & you.
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Old 05-01-2007, 11:18 AM
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Sweet Wendy. Honey.......I'm here if you ever need anything. Always remember that. I'm keeping you and your AH in my thoughts and prayers.....always.
Hugs
Kris
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Old 05-01-2007, 02:59 PM
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Wendy, I don't know your whole story, but you have been there for me many times. When I saw your post, and read about your problem, I thought my hubby's situation might be of interest...not sure.
He was an alcoholic until 1989, when he got pancreatitis, back problems and was laid up for 6 months or so. We both quit drinking at the time, but shortly afterwards, his pancreas shut down and his sugar levels went uncontrolled for another six months. It did terrible damage to the nerve endings in his legs, feet and back and he was diagnosed with severe neuropathy. The doctor told him at that time that he would have to take pain medication for the rest of his life. He was only 37 yrs. old at the time. But he had no choice. He has taken 6 Darvocets a day every day since then. He has never abused them, but cannot function at all without them. He has been able to live a relatively normal life since...he's 55 now. But without the pain meds, he would have become an invalid.
IMHO, there is a huge difference between pain meds used for a "high" or pain meds used to lead a normal life. I don't know for sure, only what has worked for my husband. He only felt a drug high for the first few months...now they don't affect him at all in that way.
It sounds like your husband may be even younger than mine was at the time, but I thought you should know that it IS possible to lead a normal life and take pain meds at the same time.
****{HUGE HUGS}}} Barb
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Old 05-01-2007, 03:20 PM
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When I married my 1st husband, he had a back injury from being a high rise window cleaner. He had back surgery that didn't work & was using booze to control his pain. (He was also an alcoholic). Long story short, I decided to do some research for him & I know it was my higher power working...I found a doctor who specialized in pain management & also happened to be a recovering alcoholic. My husband went to see him & was sober for 8 years after that. Also, a part of the program was for spouses & families & it was extremely helpful in dealing with someone in pain 24/7.

I know you have your plate full, but I also think that sometimes we are "partners" in a marriage & that his request is valid. However, I do wonder why you have never gone to the doctor with him before? If he is asking for your help & advice, I think it would be valuable for you to go to the doctor with him & discuss the options.

Of course, this is what people do in a "healthy" relationship. And, unfortunately, pain can also wreck a marriage. I've been dealing with some pain issues personally & it is taking it's toll on me.

As someone else said....there are addicts & then there are people who use pain meds as a way to keep living.

Lynne
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