As I sit here at my computer, I feel a heaviness and a deep ache in my chest. In 5 minutes I can take two Extra Strength Tylenol. Three weeks ago it felt as though something with a huge hand was reaching into my chest, grabbing, squeezing, and pulling – hard. The pain is better, no doubt. I have been taking Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen) at the maximum dose (2 every four hours) since I got home. However. a few days ago, I decided that, pain be damned, I was going to start weaning myself off the Percocet. The result – a lot more discomfort and a clearer head. Great, you may be saying…you are more clear headed and can now recognize just how much discomfort you are experiencing. Well, yes that is true. Thankfully, the pain has decreased. Three weeks ago I ranged around 7/8 on the 0 to 10 pain scale right before my medication and the pills would bring me down to about a 3 or 4. Right now, just 2 minutes before I take the Tylenol, I am probably at a 5.5. And the Tylenol should take me to a 2 or 3.
So how am I decreasing my dosage? Starting with my first dose after rising in the morning, I am taking one Percocet. The second dose is two Extra Strength Tylenol – no narcotic. Dose three is one Percocet. My three nighttime doses are still at two Percocets every four hours.
You might be asking: Why decrease the medication when you are still in pain? There are several reasons. The simplest, narcotics are not good for you or for me. They are addictive, they decrease digestive processes, dull appetite, and decrease reaction time. You cannot drive on narcotics – no, really, you cannot drive while taking narcotics. Intellect and complex thought are dulled. Although sleep is enhanced, sleep cycles are disrupted. I could go on and on.
While I do like an occasional glass or two of wine and have even been known to become a bit tipsy at times, I do not enjoy a 24/7 high. I do not like falling asleep while sitting up watching a television show only to jolt back awake in the next 2 minutes. I miss my motivation. I don’t like feeling so vulnerable in public, knowing that I am not my normal quick-witted self.
It occurs to me that you may be asking why I have only these two options. Sadly, allergic reactions and my Ulcerative Colitis make nearly every other drug or combination impossible. So here I am, Tylenol was taken about 23 minutes ago and the pain has slightly decreased. There is one other thing that helps some, a shower. And for now, I think that is where I am headed.