I really wanted to somehow fit this into one of the many prompts going around, but nothing fit. Sorry.
Twice during the past two weeks, medication on which I depend — and could afford — have been discontinued. The loss of Demerol wasn’t a big surprise. It’s an old medication and not many people use it anymore. It was one of the few opioid-type medications I could take. Anything based on morphine makes me sick. Some of them make me VERY sick and cause hallucinations. Once, Dilaudid stopped my breathing and they had to come in and get me breathing again.
But Demerol is not morphine-based, so I could use it.
It didn’t work terribly well. To be fair, it was weak compared to other opioid medications, but my body tolerated it and wasn’t addicted to it. It has been increasingly difficult to get for a while. There was only one company producing it and sometime over the past few months, they just stopped distributing it anywhere. No pharmacy has any. Not even the hospital.
Then, today, the pharmacy called to tell me that Adderall was no longer available, either. That surprised me. A lot of people depend on it for a bunch of different reasons. Children with ADD. Adults with narcolepsy or exhaustion due to constant time changes at work and those with uncontrollable apnea.
And people like me who can’t drive without medication because I suffer from intense road hypnosis. It’s uncontrollable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pull off the road and sleep only to be awakened by a policeman telling me to move on. Mind you, that’s what I’m legally required to do if I’m unable to drive. It says so in your “learning to drive” manual … but the police don’t seem to get it.
In any case, pulling off the road is not always a viable alternative. I’ve had at least one serious accident because I went unconscious at the wheel. Lucky me, I live here and there wasn’t any traffic so I’m alive to tell the tale. I don’t even know when I went unconscious. Apparently. the car continued to roll forward for some miles before I veered into a tree. Messed up the car. I was afraid to tell the cops what happened because they would have pulled my license on the spot. Narcoleptics — not surprisingly — are prohibited from driving. But I was still working at that point and if I couldn’t drive, I would be in big trouble.
That’s when my doctors started giving me “keep awake” medicine. First, it was something called Provigil, then Nuvigil. Both drove my blood pressure sky high and I’m not sure those two medications didn’t have something to do with my later problems with my heart. Without Adderall, which is relatively benign, those are the only two drugs left … and taking either one of them would kill me. Which means — I can’t drive. At all. While I don’t drive often, I like to know I can if I must. It’s not like I can grab a taxi. There are no taxis here. No buses. No trains. No nothing.
I spent the entire day trying to find some kind of herbal thing that would help. To some degree, Gingko Biloba and Ginseng can help a little, but they don’t help everyone and aren’t dependable. I ordered some Gingko and the theory that it can’t hurt and maybe it will help.
If you are an herbalist and have suggestions, please be in touch! I can use all the help I can get.
I think I’ve found a medication that deals with the pain. At least it did last night and it did it so well, I have to admit it is a major improvement over the Demerol I was taking.
Nothing is going to keep me awake. Once I start to go under, I can open the windows and have the snow and ice coming in. I can literally hit myself in the head repeatedly. It won’t help. I will still become unconscious very quickly. I’m also both a sleep talker and a sleepwalker. It’s all related.
I will also fall asleep multiple times during the day and not even know I’ve been asleep until I realize the show on TV is different. Or the people I was with have gone home. Once I collapsed and fell asleep on the stairs (Cataplexy). I just folded up and was gone.
Why are these medication disappearing?
Because they are cheap. The companies who make it aren’t making a big enough profit. I’m betting these medications will eventually show up again but with new names and a far higher price tag.
So that was MY day. How was yours?