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1931795 tn?1336358887

How to do it?

After a bad accident several years ago i have had to have an almost complete spinal fusion/reconstruction. My name, Huey Right Seater will give you a clue, but if you don't know what a Huey is don't worry about it too much - those who do know understand why I am a bit secretive about this for fear of losing something that I love and make a good living doing. Anyway, as a result of the "accident" I have been on percocet, valium, xanax, vicodin, fentanyl, dilaudid, demerol, and IV Morphine at one time or another over the past ten years and fourteen surgeries. I hvae, entirely on my on, taken myself off everything and am now down to the fentanyl, vicodin and xanax. The reason this is worrisome to me is because I have permanent spinal cord damage and also have an implanted spinal electronic stimulator to keep the nerves firing in my left leg. I worry about the pain: what if I can't take it? I am down to 5 to 6 10/325 hydrocone, 4x1mg xanax and 100 mcg fentanyl patch (72 hour duration) daily. Can anyone please help me get off these poisons? I fear withdrawal and detox worse than losing my "stick" privileges. Help me please. I've done everything else on my own, cold turkey, but I just can't seem to break this final bondage. Please help me.
21 Responses
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Avatar universal
I'm not that great with the advice,, if you wait some of the others will get on. I can say that we cannot recommend a tape schedule or tell you to go cold Turkey ect as it is against forum rules. We can give you support and advice on the wd but just so you know we cannot tell you by ow to do it.
I can say do look up the Thomas recipe it has slot of things that can help lessen the wd or make them more tolerable. The physical wd lasts about 3 to 5 days, the rest is all mental. I have 33 days, and the wd was worth how I am feeling today. I love being g able to think, feel, and really laugh.  You can do it, just keep coming back and keep posting.
Helpful - 0
1814148 tn?1332485798
Hello there and welcome to the forum! Chronic pain issues and addiction are a tricky mix. Have you been taking the pills to treat symptoms of pain and anxiety? or are you intending to feel 'high'? Simply posting on an addiction forum tells me that you have concerns about the way you have been medicating.

Often we overuse prescribed pills because 1 is better than 2 and so on. This is also the nature of building a tolerance to the pills. Pain management is multifaceted and a good doctor would suggest more than just opiates. Unfortunately responsible prescribing is rarely seen and people unknowingly become addicted. Addiction does not discriminate. It will kill anyone it can dig its claws into.

My suggestion would be to stop all the pills on the day you change your patch. Part of addiction is the mental draw of popping the pills into your mouth. You will experience a withdrawl regardless of continuing the fentanyl patch. Continue to stay well nourished and hydrated. There are some supplements you can take to decrease your discomfort. The bottom right of this page discussed the "Thomas Recipe".

You would do well to consult a chronic pain clinic and have a thorough pain assessment. To stop everything cold turkey and to grin and bear the pain it is not going to bring quality to your life. There are many non-addicting analgesic options, depending on the type of pain you are experiencing. There is a chronic pain forum on MedHelp that will connect you with others who struggle with the same issues. Mutual support is an important part of recovery the mental aspect of addiction. I strongly suggest NA and finding a sponsor also.

Also discuss your concerns with your Doctor. Weaning off the Fentanyl may be neccessary as you find other methods of pain control. Accupuncture, mindful meditation, massage and vibration therapy are some alternative approaches to consider.

Keep us updated and KEEP POSTING. You will find a ton of support, encouragement and information here. Looking forward to hearing from you and I'm sending well wishes your way ;o)

RNangel
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Are you still flying? It sounds like you are...

I'd recommend an in-patient detox for you. Fentanyl is a bear to get off of and should really be tapered. Xanax MUST be tapered.
Helpful - 0
1931795 tn?1336358887
Allow me to clarify a little bit. When I take the meds, I feel nothing (as in euphoria, warm-fuzzy, etc) just a brief mitigation of the pain. I do take the meds for pain only and only as prescribed. Some days I do not take as many as prescribed for fear of addiction. I do not even know if I would be considered an addict or an abuser. I just know I am scared of them and when I do not take them I feel like crap. Thanks for your responses and your wonderful suggestions already!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Are you saying you feel just fine flying that helicopter? Okay, just wondering...

Again, the Xanax must be tapered. With that dose and length of time you're at risk for seizures; very serious in your line of work. The Fentanyl,also.  It would really be best and safest to get with your prescribing physician about all this.
Helpful - 0
1926359 tn?1331588139
I understand what you are saying.  I too, took opiates for serious chronic pain issues.  The problem with them is that you build a tolerance and then you take more and you STILL have pain.  I kept asking myself everyday whether the pain was worse than the effects of the drugs and after 5 years I went cold turkey.  I was having migraines that were debilitating and was taking the pills to avoid the withdrawals as they really weren't helping my pain.  My doctors had told me many times that I would be on painkillers for the rest of my life.  I refuse to let that be my reality.  So here I am on day 3.5 of detox and feeling pretty crappy but like I have a shot at getting my life back.  Whatever you decide to to-make sure you see your doc and keep posting here.  It is a great support network.  Best wishes(:
Helpful - 0
1931795 tn?1336358887
That's my life - - spraying emergents on groves of remote pine forests being commercially grown. No one at risk on the ground and no crew in the bird but me and it is my equipment. Not trying to justify just saying I would not put others and their stuff at risk. To answer, yes I feel fine flying and have never had a problem with it since resuming in 1996 after the accident in 1989, but don't want one either.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
There must be at least ONE person who would be devastated if the Huey crashed...but you seem to know what you're doing...

Do you have a plan for the meds? I promise you , the Xanax needs tapering if you want to quit that. A very slow taper over time...  The Fentanyl you need help with. Please don't cut them in half or anything like that; you could get the whole dose at once!   I believe you feel pretty awful when you don't take them for a day or two. That's because you're dependent, at the very least!  

Wow!  How did you ever get medical clearance from the FAA?
Helpful - 0
1931795 tn?1336358887
From the first incident in 1980 (accident I say, cause you don't walk away from a crash) it took me until 1996 to get back on the stick. There were lots of challenges during that time. This problem now has arisen since my last re-cert and thus far I have been successful in keeping it off my charts, but I know that can't last forever. Probably helps that I have an unblemished record except for the one incident, which involved another craft and I was ruled not at fault.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Okay. 16 years! YIKES! Too long for you!

So,what's your plan now amd how can we help?  Is it the pain you're mostly worried about if you're completely off the pain meds? Can you work with your doctor?
Helpful - 0
1931795 tn?1336358887
yes I can work with my doc. He is actively tapering me off ASAP. I started on 12 percocet, 6 valium, 4 xanax, fentanyl, neurontin and occasional oxycontin when I first came from hospital. I also was sometimes hooked to a morphine drip (not pump) when I had to stay in the hospital. Now I am down to what I noted above and today, I went back to the doc and asked for reduced prescriptions for all I have left, which he gave me. I am determined to get off the meds. I can operate with the pain, along with the digital stimulator and no meds. That is my goal by the end of this year, but I am really afraid of WD for the last few steps. Again, this has never affected my performance - never - since I got my cert back. I can and have held a fully loaded UH1-D in a dead fifteen foot hover for more than twenty minutes! After I had surgery following the incident, I lost most of my stomach and over six feet of my small intestine so apparently I do not absorb or metabolize the drugs like everyone else. So the plan is to just keep reducing 1/2 to 1 pill at a time (every two or three months) and 25 mcg of fentanyl every month or two. I just pray it works without a lot of pain and agony.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Oh man!!   That's some scary stuff but you DO know how to operate,huh??  LOL!!

Listen, don't worry about this. God love your doctor!! That's an excellent taper plan!!

Take each day as it comes; seriously. Then call the doc if any problems occur. With tapering, it may take forever but it works rather painlessly. Of course, I don't have your particular drug experience but I tapered off of a pretty hefty dose of barbiturates and had minimal withdrawals. The fact that you WANT to do this helps enormously. I didn't want to stop so I had to deal with the mental torment...UGH!!   I mean, I wanted to stop for various reasons (like it was killing me!) but I just "knew" I'd miss it!  

It ended up, I didn't miss it that much...once in a while I have a crazy thought but that's it!   Anyway, it's not about me here...You may or may not have much pain during the tapering process. You'd be surprised. With you, it's going to have to be a wait and see deal. But, I'll bet you're going to be surprised!!

I admire you for wanting to do this...xo
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Did I mention that,in my opinion,you are not an addict or an abuser? Well, you're not. Dependence happens and it's purely physical and it can be dealt with very nicely...

When you're not in the Huey do you get around alright?  Back pain?
Helpful - 0
1416133 tn?1351123217
Wow - pretty cool job.

And vicki's right - it sound slike dependence and I think it's great that you have such a good relationship with the Dr.  Remember huey this isn't a race.  Slow and steady will get you where you want to be.

Good luck to you - and GOOD for you for wanting to find another way to deal with all of this.  Says a lot about your strength as a person.  Keep posting and keep reading.  You'll get a TON of good info here.  :)
Helpful - 0
1931795 tn?1336358887
I have pain all the time but pulling g's really gets me going. On grounded days though I sometimes take only one or one half tablet while prepping the bird and before wind reports over the target shut me down. When that happens I make it a point to not take any more.

I didn't know that thereis a distinction beteween dependence and addiction.

Thanks to you all for not being judgmental. I know my occupation is not ordinary, but it is less frightening than driving a minivan with kids on the freeeay while loaded with vic's!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi there, I'm Margaret. Welcome! You'll do this, I promise. You seem to want it bad enough, that's for sure. I'm glad you are here.
I was going to suggest Neurontin, but I see you were on that already. Did it not help at all? If not, I'm glad you are off it, but it is not a dangerous drug. And no, you are not an addict---I believe the label for you is "habituated". It's totally different. I was wondering if the doctor has tried you on Topamax? Topamax is usually used for seizures and migraines, but is also used "off label" by many doctors to manage spinal cord/nerve/amputation pain. It sounds as if you have a pretty good case of neuropathy. Just think about the Topamax, and if you'd like to try it, ask the doctor. Yes, you need to taper down on all three remaining drugs; Fentanyl and Xanax need to tapered more slowly than the hydrocodone. The doctor can help you with this, too. Are you planning on not taking anything at all for your daily pain?
I wish you the best, and especially a wonderful 2012 of feeling good and enjoying life!
Helpful - 0
1931795 tn?1336358887
Been out for a while. Things going pretty good. I have reduced fentnayli 100mcg q 72 hours to 75 mcg q 72 hours and have reduced hydrocodone from six 10/325 a day to five. Have been at this level for about a week and a half and despite some discomfort, nothing really drastic has happened in the way of withdrawals. I plan to stay at this level for a couple of months and then try to step down one or both again. I certainly can tell there is an increase in pain but nothing I haven't been able to cope with. Thanks for all the supportive remarks.
Helpful - 0
1931795 tn?1336358887
I am OFF FENTANYL since Feb 5th. No problems or withdrawals. Feeling more pain but that's better than the patch. Working on the other stuff now! thanks everyone.
Helpful - 0
1767882 tn?1331409169
Hi Huey. I would say you are doing excellent!! You have some serious pain and nerve issues. Have you looked into an implanted pain pump? Congrats for getting off the fentanyl. And while I'm at it, congrats for really kicking some serious A S S! I agree with snake, you are not an addict. But narcotics have serious and life-changing side effects, as you well know, so finding a pain management plan with the least amount of narcotics is a worthy goal. There are doctors out there who understand that narcotics are not always the answer and there are alternatives. I have a friend who fell out of a Huey
and landed on his head from 40 feet. He had some discs replaced and he
hates taking the narcotics too. He uses an inverter every day and swears by it. I have one myself and it helps me with back and neck pain. I have DDD and I'm also an addict. Mine is a Teeter Hang up. Google it. Take care and good luck.
Helpful - 0
1931795 tn?1336358887
still fighting with opiates - have had to undergo two surgeries since last post. Last one was to implant a dual chamber heart pacemaker which will probably end my lifelong love affair with my Huey :( Unfortunately, one of the leads in my heart has torn loose and so I have to go back in a week for another surgery. Looks like I may be grounded for good. I sometimes wonder what's the use? If you can't fly, be up there all alone looking down on the world - man it is beautiful there's no crime or honking horns and everything looks clean. Man I am so totally bummed out. When my annual medical re-cert comes up the FAA is going to pull my ticket so fast there won't even be time to kiss it goodby. Thanks for everyone's help.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
That's rough about neing grounded.  Never had a chance to ride a Huey but they are beautiful birds.  A friends of mine got grounded because of his heart attack.  I feel for you, but it is still beneficial to get off all those meds if you can
Helpful - 0
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