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Avatar universal

Methadone Withdrawl

Let me give you a short background.  I am 52 years old.

In 1988, I went to work as a custodian at a Post Office in Michigan.  Everything I did was physical labor.  In the winter, I worked 3rd shift, which meant shoveling lake effect snow everynight.  During this time I also broke my tailbone twice, nothing they can do for that but live with it.  In 1999 I moved to Iowa, and got a job at Target, unloading the truck and stocking shelves, a lot of lifting, twisting, turning and abusing my back in general.

In 2005, i started having horrendous back pain. So bad, i could only walk short distances, and was unable to do my job.  I went to the ER, they said it was sciatica, gave me vicodin and said I should be alright in a couple days.  (I wasn"t)  But I continued to try to work.  I tried a chiropractor, i didn't have insurance, he said there was nothing he could do for me.   I was getting worse.

I made an appointment at the VA, I have had every test imaginable, and every diagnosis was different, one doctor just plainly said, for 17 years I abused my back, and it is just worn out.

I started off on Tylenol 3, moved up to vicodin, then oxycodone, and finally something that worked, Methadone.  I started out on 10mg twice a day, one in the morning, and one at bedtime.  I loved it, I could actually walk again.  This summer my dr. cut me down to 10 mg once a day, half&half, next perscription it was half a pill once a day, then they cut it down to one fourth twice a day, and this is my last perscription.   To make matters worse, I called the VA to request the Methadone, 10 days ahead of time like I had been doing, it usually takes 3 or 4 days to get here.  After 7 days and it not being here, I called again, my paperwork was lost they will re-submit it.  By this time I am out of pills, and the pain is back to square one.  I finally called my caseworker, and they found out that, it was waiting in the pharmacy.  We are broke, and cannot afford gas to drive the 75 miles to the VA, finally they FedEX it. I got it on a Friday.

In the meantime on Thursday Night i started withdrawl, I had never felt like that before, i couldn't sit still, I couldn't lay, and I felt like every nerve was trying to pop out through my pores.  I did not want anybody to touch me.   I paced from 5 p.m to 5 a.m, after i had taken 2 sleeping pills and a xanax around 10:00.

I have 15 days of pills left and am scared that I will go through withdrawl again.

I was sent to the pain clinic, I had been there 3 times.  !st time they gave me oxycodone, 2nd time, the dr was a resident, it was his last day, he was off to California, and literally told me, I am not even bother examing you, personally today, I don't give a damn about anything, I am justing biding my time till I can go home.    The 3rd doctor was actually worse, he sat at his computer, never said anything to me, didn't ask any questions, told me to walk to the door and back, and informed me, that there is no organic reason for my pain, to see a psychatrist, and take a Tylenol.

Right now I am in pain, my back hurts like hell, I might as well get me a bag of Smarties, and take those, for all the low dosage of methadone is doing.

I have no idea what is going to happen next.  I wake everytime I move at night.   I am getting 2 hours of sleep at a time.

Anybody out there that can help me through the next two weeks?

10 Responses
Avatar universal
i am so sorry your hurting like this...methadone is a tough one to kick...can you call some doctor and ask about some clonidine?  it is a blood pressure medication that helps tremendously with withdrawals, it helps with the heart palpitations, creepy crawly feeling, restlessness and may even give you a couple more hours of sleep...most people here recommend it, because it does work, and they are not expensive at all...i couldnt have done without it...what are you going to do about the pain issue when the worst of the withrawals are gone?  you have to find a doctor who can help you with this...unless you think you might be ok with tylenol or ibuprofen...which i doubt, but.. also check into pain clinic again, or maybe a different one?  i am sorry they took the methadone from you, even at the low dose you were on makes me wonder why they would do this to you???   there has to be an answer for you out there somewhere...just have to keep looking until you find the right doctor, but be careful with this...they could accuse you of doctor shopping......
Avatar universal
chiropractors fixed my back, it took 4 years of regular visits (2 times a week)  but  it is fixed. maybe some workers comp or some kind of social services help and time off to get rest, continuing working with your back im sure will only make it worse. back pain is horrible, i know.
Avatar universal
Kathy medically speaking what is wrong with your back?
Avatar universal
Speaking medically, it all depends on which test/xray they are looking at, I have been told arthritis, all the cartlige between my tail bone and my spine is completely gone,  because I broke my tail bone twice, (it would be easier to draw a picture) my tailbone is bent it is rubbing on my lower back, my lower spine is compressed.   The last diagnosis from the pain clinic was, no organic reason for my pain, that I need to talk to my psychatrist about it
Avatar universal
what your answer reminds me of is watching a dog spinning around in a circle trying to catch its tail..........
Avatar universal
Have you ever had an MRI  and then folled up with an othopedic surgeon?
Avatar universal
I just started going to the VA in Feb and i know the problems you can have there but you can file a complaint with the VA for cutting your prescription or ask to see the head of the department that cut you and tell him the story and how the doctors treated you.They see so many people in one day it's like a cattle call so you have to speak up. It does sound like you were calling to soon for your refill and that may have cause a problem for you. You call can and talk to a nurse from the clinic you normally go to and tell her you need clonidine because you were cut back to much and they can mail it before you run out. You can go to the VA without an appointment to see your assigned care doctor and a 75 mile trip to get some clonidine will be well worth the trip if you run out of methadone again. Good luck dealing with the VA and anyone who thinks we need to change our heathcare system should go spend a day at the VA or talk to people who go there and you might not what things to change. I went this last Monday for acouple of things one of which was passing kidney stones and showed some of stones to them and they said someone would be calling me soon!  Hello, kidney stones are no fun to pass!
Avatar universal
I have an appointment with my primary care doctor on Thursday.  As for the methadone, this is my last perscription.  I am already feeling more pain, I can't walk as far as I had been able too, and standing for any length of time is impossible, and worst of all I am not sleeping.

I would never go to the VA without an appointment, I don't have that much patience!
Avatar universal
I dont know what your pain level is at but alot of ppl here have bad back pain and most say that their pain can really peak when at a lower dose or during detox off the pain meds and then the pain level starts to lower after a short while. Thats not to say you wont have pain, many here as i do live with back, neck etc, and just learn to live with it. Dont get me wrong, if something is really wrong, i am not saying, dont take you meds. I am 2 yrs older than you and i am sitting here now with my back burning and i wake up all night too but at least i not popping lortab all day for energy and xanax all night to sleep either.
Avatar universal
I had an MRI, they told me nothing is wrong.   I am in constant pain, I can't walk more than 50 feet, and that is a guess.   I want to be able to take my grandchildren for a walk.   I want to walk through a mall.   I like walking through cemeteries.   I go to the women's clinic at the Iowa City VA.   To tell you the truth, I would rather be addicted to painkillers than live in pain the rest of my life.   When i was on Methadone life was great, i could walk, pain was non-existent.  i never asked to kick up the dosage.  I have gained at least 50 pounds do to lack of activity.   I am in a catch 22, without pain, i can walk, exercise, and have a normal life.  I would be more active and lose weight, with the methadone, I can live a normal pain free life.
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