(Today’s blog post is part of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge during which writers all over the world blog each day in April based on a corresponding letter of the alphabet. These are my personal stories about living with Trigeminal Neuralgia, the most painful diagnosis known to man.)
Let’s talk about drugs. I take ’em. Lots and lots to be honest. I have so many chemicals flowing through my veins I’m surprised there’s still room for blood. And the worst part is that they have absolutely no entertainment value whatsoever. There was a time when I imbibed of certain substances strictly for recreational purposes, but those days are long gone.
Each morning I dole out my first rounds of meds for the day: 4 blue ones, 7 white, a pink and a yellow. About half of these are prescriptions while the other half are supplements I take to counter the side effects. I have three rounds of meds daily, although the contents do vary based on the time.
The meds I take don’t work wonders, they just serve to make me somewhat functional to get through the day. And they have downsides including, but not limited to, sleepiness, weight gain, memory loss and a condition known to users as “drug fog”. Oh, yeah, and there’s the little issue of the drugs becoming toxic to your system or blowing up my liver or kidneys to consider.
Here’s the thing though…if I had diabetes or a thyroid condition or many other chronic illnesses, I could wave my pharmaceutical flag high and receive no negative reaction. But I don’t have one of those conditions. You see, there are many people – some even in the medical community – who view people with chronic pain as “drug shoppers” due to the epidemic of narcotic addicts in this country. These individuals go from doctor to doctor to emergency room looking to score. Meanwhile, I could pop Vicodin like tick tacks and it wouldn’t do a thing (although they do work for others with my condition). I understand the conundrum but I still hate the stigma.
I have one of those day-of-the-week pill holders. Actually, I need more than one. If people are coming over or if I’m traveling, I make sure that they are well hidden. I don’t want the judgement verbal or otherwise from people when they see how many drugs I need, even though I take them responsibly. I find it ironic that back in the days when I did use a variety of illegal drugs to purposefully alter my normal state I felt no sense a shame. Yet now that I take medication to help me feel at least slightly normal, I feel like I have to keep it a secret.