Withdrawl After Coma: Roid Rage
I was coming off of some serious drugs: morphine, anesthesia, and steroids! I was out of my mind. I vaguely remember seeing all of the tubes protruding from my body and not knowing what was going on but knowing that whatever it was… It wasn’t good.
On June 11th 2011, I ripped out any tube that was hooked up to my body. It was messy! I ripped out my IVs, feeding tube, colostomy bag, and even my catheter. A catheter is held in by a hard plastic balloon inside the bladder. This means that to remove it means to pull a golf ball sized hard plastic piece through the urethra. Way worse than passing a kidney stone!
On Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 1:14 AM, ; wrote:
Thank you so much for hanging in there with me last week…. I must have seemed crazed at times with all the detail I kept flooding you with…. I think I was on cortisol [stress hormone] overload and feeling like it was some way to reach out and believe that there was some order to the universe while I felt such internal chaos.
You all were so kind to hang in there with me, shooting back a short message or sending something word of mouth to others who were sending messages…. this city can be overwhelming on a good day… that set back last week created enough terror to satisfy any possible drama craving I might think about having for at least another 5 years!!
As you all know, we got through that exploratory surgery with no major complications.. afterward, when anesthesia was asking staff about how his mental status seemed after the procedure, the ICU staff really couldn’t speak to it…. they’d never seen him conscious. His first words to me after coughing a bit were “get this sh*t out of my mouth”…. I assured them at that point that he was definitely on the planet.
The worst was the day after the extubation (Saturday) when Cavin started acting like a madman just coming off 5 days of steroids, anesthesia, and morphine…. what a combination!!!! He was a wreck on that first day of detox…. miserably uncomfortable, slurring and swearing like a drunken sailor, confused, disoriented, etc. Not nearly as easy to deal with than when he was on Propofol [a powerful sedative]!
He ripped out every tube he could get his hands on (catheter and feeding tube) first thing Saturday morning before we got there and then later kept asking me about the colostomy bag he had. as he continuously displayed the tube that went to his blood pressure cuff and insisted I was lying to him… – oh yeah, he was a real joy. Wrestled him through the day (boy was the ICU staff glad to see us)…. and I left that night feeling pretty low.
Today [Sunday June 12], he hadn’t had any nutrition since Friday, June 10 (because he had ripped out the feeding tube)…. and was begging for food… They have him on IV hydration with sugar and all he could talk about was going to Sam’s Crab Shack, and then topping it off with frozen blueberries [I had never even heard of that place, but I know that I remember seeing advertising for them at Elmhurst that totally worked on a feeble mind like mine.]… I gave him 50 ice chips, one at a time to help him practice swallowing vs. aspirating, so hopefully he’ll pass his swallow test tomorrow and be able to eat pureed food again.
He was better today, more cognitively and emotionally stable and I think he’s over the withdrawal hump. He’s still very fragile and lost a lot of ground last week, but I feel confident that as long as he can breathe, we’ll be able to deal with the rest of his problems. Hoping he’ll be moved down to regular unit tomorrow and we can start seriously entertaining a move to Mt. Sinai rehab.
I just spoke with a man I know in Austin who has dual PhD’s in speech pathology and audiology and has worked with thousands of brain injured patients. We had a long discussion and from what I told him, he said that the cognitive and speech abilities he’s shown right out of the gate is the best of all possible TBI scenarios… This man is a top dog in Austin with connections to all the resources that he’ll need once I can get him moved to Austin for some kind of outpatient scenario (that will be after he’s released from inpatient rehab at Mt. Sinai TBI rehab…. minimum of a month). Another answer to prayers!!!
Thank you all again for your collective physical, psychic, spiritual and emotional energy that you have focused on this situation. The man I referred to in the earlier paragraph said he has 2 daughters 22 and 28 years old and he’d move heaven and earth for them if they needed him….he knows how he’d feel, and was so empathic about the situation. Every one of you has made more of a difference in your own ways than you may ever realize and have helped move heaven and earth….. while helping me stay present for all that I have needed to handle. I am so grateful to all of you and humbled by your caring and kindness.
I remember feeling like I was being held captive and that the deranged hospital staff was experimenting on me. I was convinced that they must be feeding me all sorts of strange psychoactive drugs to test my behavior. It felt like a bad trip on a hallucinogen. I HAD to escape. When I got my hands on my catheter I took a deep breath and embraced for the pain. I didn’t know how much it would hurt, I only knew how sensitive that area is. The pain that followed surpassed my expectations, but my adrenaline was racing because I was convinced that my survival depended on escaping. I felt like THEY had done something incredibly tortuous to me and I was appalled that THEY were making me do this. I took the pain and pulled it out slowly so that I wouldn’t tear my penis up. I still can’t believe that I was so confused and terrified that I pulled my catheter out! Ouch!!! (For the record, everything works down there)
I remember being asked if I was in pain and answering “YES! THIS IS CRUEL!” as if I was being tortured. They would give me pain medication and I would be able to sleep, but I’d also feel even more foggy headed.
The next night I answered “No” when asked if I was in pain because I thought that the reason that I felt unclear was because of the drugs that they were feeding me. So they didn’t give me any medication, and I spent a while squirming and moaning rather than sleeping. A nurse came by my bed and I asked for a sleeping pill because there was no way that I could sleep in the pain that I was in. I had several broken bones including a few cracked ribs and three pelvic fractures, bruised and lacerated organs, and a brain injury. It hurt! I remember looking at the nurse that gave me a crushed up sleeping pill in apple sauce, and saying thank you. I thought that THIS evil nurse wasn’t so bad because he was showing mercy on one of his prisoners.
It’s strange how the mind draws the wrong conclusions at times. I was absolutely terrified of the hospital staff and was even unsure about my mother… Was she lying to me? Was she playing tricks on me? Was she really my mother? All I knew was that I was in a room with white walls and people were telling me a story that I couldn’t make sense of. Of course I couldn’t make sense of it… I had brain damage and was coming off of a lot of drugs. I would see a doctor and think that HE had done this to me. I saw the nurses and thought that THEY were the henchmen of this torture cell. THEY had done this to me. They all had! It was like seeing the police every time there is a crime, and drawing the conclusion that the police must be the criminals.