Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Now I don't remember how much I've told you about DH and Percocet, so I'll give you a little recap--way back before the bipolar stuff really started, DH had some kind of pain, I can't remember if it was back pain or tooth pain or what, but anyhow, he was given a small prescription for Percocet. After he had been taking it for a couple of days, he told me, "Boy, I can see why people get addicted to this stuff...I can see me having a problem with this." So we talked a little more and he decided that he had better make sure that he didn't get any Percocet in the future. And that was that.

But then, when the bipolar stuff started happening, he was going to the emergency room every single weekend because of back pain. And the doctors all gave him Percocet, and DH told me that he "could handle it, don't worry."

One night, I was kind of surprised, because DH, who, while he is usually friendly and charming, is not really talkative, was talking and talking and had all these ideas, and couldn't stop telling me how much he loved me, and blah blah....he basically talked for nearly an entire night straight. Now, keeping in mind that this was at the beginning of the bipolar odyssey, when I had no idea that I wasn't dealing with a rational person, I commented on it, and DH told me that he had "probably taken more Percocet than he should have."

From then on, I was worried about him becoming addicted to Percocet. And I could usually tell, too, when he had taken "too much", because he would always be so talkative.

In hindsight, when I write about all the nonstop talking that he did, I wonder how much of that had to do with bipolar and how much of it had to do with Percocet, but at the time I didn't know that DH was mentally ill.

Anyhow, I was so very concerned, and DH promised me that he would talk to his Dr. about the Percocet and have a note put into his file that he shouldn't have any. Like a fool, I thought he would actually do this, but of course he didn't. Then one day, I was seeing more strange things, and I decided to search his truck. I found a bottle of 200 Percocet pills, they had been prescribed five days earlier, and they were all gone. I didn't know what to do. DH was basically passed out for two days straight. During that time, I did a little research and learned that the biggest worry was the damage to his liver, which might not show up for some time, but which could, considering the number(s) of pills he had consumed, likely be fatal. I was so scared.

When DH came to, I confronted him again about the Percocet and he got scared too. And he told me that he wasn't going to do that again, he didn't know about the liver problems, and then he told me that he had taken "almost that many" before and he "turned out fine". I was not convinced. But it was right about then that all the bipolar stuff started to really happen, and not too long after that, DH was hospitalized for what they thought (and treated him for) was depression. The Percocet problem kind of went by the wayside, because I figured the hospital would a) put him in withdrawal, b) possibly fix the problem(s) that caused him to self-medicate and c) pick up on the addiction and force him to deal with it. Yes, you can call me naive, I recognize that now, but I'm still learning.

Unfortunately, none of that happened, and things really spun out of control at that point, where DH was unable to work, but still able to spend, and I was faced with paying 100% of the bills on 50% of the income, and trying to care for DD and DH and my mom too.....it seems like we just kind of forgot about it....sort of...

Anyhow, every so often I would randomly search his truck, his car, his shed, etc., for Percocet and didn't find any. I started to think the problem was "pretty much fixed" and didn't pay so much attention to it any more, although I did suspect that I was probably wrong, I didn't have the time or energy to follow up on anything at all--there were just too many other things to worry about.

Although he had told me that he had requested that his doctor put a note in his file (again) about the Percocet, I strongly suspected that that was not true. But due to privacy laws, I couldn't find out for sure. And I thought about just calling his doctor and saying "I know you can't talk to me, but I need to tell you something." But I didn't have any evidence that anything was going on. So, being the trusting person that I am, I hoped for the best and didn't call anyone.

Well, I was aware that DH had gone to see his Dr. last week. He told me that one of his medications had been adjusted (not a mental health one, though, just for high blood pressure). The next day, I had to go to the pharmacy and pick up a prescription for my mom. The pharmacist knows me very well, and knows that I frequently pick up prescriptions for DH, DD and myself, in addition to my mom. "We've got a prescription for DH here, did you want that one too?" Sure. I was expecting to pick one up, as his blood pressure meds had been adjusted.

So they put the prescriptions on the counter while I paid for them. I looked at DH's, to make sure the dose was right, and it wasn't blood pressure medication.
Yup, you guessed it.

I just acted like nothing was wrong and paid for everything and then left. I dropped off the prescription at my mom's that was hers, and went to work. I didn't say anything about the Percocet to DH, I wasn't sure what I should be saying.

Then he called me. "Did you pick up a prescription of mine today?" "Yes". "Oh." "I can explain." And then he proceeded to tell me how his doctor had convinced him, against DH's better judgment, of course (sarcasm added) that he should have Percocet because nothing else was helping his back pain. I have no way of finding out what the truth is, but I'm pretty angry that he was trying to pull one over on me again. When I got home, the first thing he said to me wasn't "Hi, how was work?" It was "where are my pills?". That said a lot to me, right there.

Eventually we had a fairly big argument about it. He finally agreed, that although i am "treating him as a child", he would "allow" me to hang on to the Percocet and just give him what he was allowed to take for one day at a time. That seems to be working for now, and the bottle of pills that I have in my possession does not allow for any refills, so temporarily we are ok. I just hate being in this situation. I hate when he accuses me of "treating him like a child", and I hate having to decide how much I can believe of what he says. I hate being "controlling" when he can't do what he's supposed to. But I know I would hate myself forever if I wasn't "controlling" and because of that, DH died.

I'm pretty angry with bipolar now, and I wish I had better insight into how something like this should be handled.


Anonymous said...

You are doing the right thing Carol! Hang in there, it sounds tought but he has proved he cannot be trusted. Tell him that! The more I tell my brother things in simple, black and white terms the more it sinks in. Look after yourself & I thop things settle down for you soon :)

perphila said...

Don't you just want to snap back sometimes and say, "If you don't want me treating you like a child don't act like one!" I don't recommend it. It doesn't work...:)

Self medicating seems to go hand in hand with this illness. Don't worry about forgeting about things sometimes. You have a huge amount of juggling you do every day. I have a ton of lists to help me and I still forget things. Catch what you can it's all you can do.

Being angry happens. Been there...:) get some sleep, it helps.

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K.Kearns said...

I just happened upon your blog because I too am bipolar and I am on percocet for back pain. I find myself battling with the "addiction" side. A year ago, I stopped taking the percocet cold turkey, and it caused a HUGE manic episode, one that nearly destoryd my family. Please beware that when your husband is ready to get off of the percocet that he MUST do it with a doctors' help. I am begging you as someone who has suffered some serious consequences as a result. I am on percocet again for back pain and after another back surgery am "quitting" again, slowly this time, with a doctor's help. Its hard, the percocet, makes me feel more "normal" without having to try so hard. Its not fun having to work at feeling normal, its much easier taking a pill, one with instant results at that. SO please, take my advice and don't let your husband quit cold turkey. Even medically it is not recommended AT ALL!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm dealing with that currently, my sister is under pain management, but eats the percocets all within a week. After day two of the meds, she starts the "manic" part, with starting things and not finishing, talking a lot, then she starts nodding off. The big part is her body being tired, but her mind popping awake every two minutes, which means she has to be watched constantly until the meds wear off, and we get no sleep in the process.

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