Taking Away the Pain Meds

April 19, 2017

Today is going to be a busy day. We started off, as usual, taking Em to school. Then we headed for the U of C for Den’s two appointments.

First stop, after getting some breakfast at the DCAM Cafe, was the Pain Clinic. Dr. Malik and Dr. Hartman checked Den over and gave us some new orders for his pain management. First, we would stop using the fentanyl patch. When this one was due to change, we would not put a new one on. Second, we would slowly reduce the NORCO dosing until Den was down to the lowest possible dose and then discontinue using it all together. The doctors agreed that the residual pain the Den was feeling in his back was most likely due to weak muscles. The muscles had weakened while he used the back brace and would just need to be exercised to regain the strength in them. This would also help Den with range of motion. The final recommendation that the doctors gave us was to check with Den’s GP about the need for Vitamin C and/or D supplements. They said that she could make the determination as to if they were needed for Den’s bone health.

We had a little bit of a break until our next appointment, so Den and I went to get some lunch. We took our time and enjoyed each other’s company for a few minutes.

Our last stop at the U of C was to see Dr. Lee for Den’s follow up after the Kyphoplasty last week. Dr. Lee checked Den’s incision and his range of motion. He also asked Den how his back pain was. Den said that he still had some pain, but it was greatly reduced. Dr. Lee suspected that the pain was from muscle spasms and said that it should resolve on it’s own in the next few days. He told us that if Den still had pain after a week to call. They would schedule another CT to check for another fracture or any other problem with the spine.

Our ride home was uneventful. Traffic was heavy, but moved along well. When we got home, I told Em what the doctors had told us about getting Den off the pain killers. I warned her that when we finally took away the patch and the pills, that Den would be a little erratic for a few days. She and I discussed the kind of mood swings and withdraw symptoms that we might see. I wanted her to be ready for anything, since I didn’t know how bad it would get. She completely understood what I was saying and said that she would do her best to help.

(I know that the past year has caused Em to mature before her time, and I regret that it had to happen. But, I am so grateful for her. She is my confidant, my eyes and ears when I cannot be home, my rock, my sweet, sweet girl. She is more than I could have ever wished for in a daughter.)

Before we went to bed, Den asked me to take off the fentanyl patch. I told him that he was going to go through some withdraw from the pain meds. He understood, but still wanted to be done with the patch. So I took it off. I hoped that he would be able to sleep, but only time would tell that tale.

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