One Step Forward, Two Steps Back


     I'm sitting in my primary care physician's office. He has a ready smile and without the polo shirt looks vaguely like a ginger haired lumberjack. We are having an earnest discussion  about how to titrate my opioids with my medical marijuana. I am feeling oddly hopeful and sneaky, as if I'm getting away with something naughty, at the same time. Surely there must be some word in some language that apply fits this feeling. Please leave it in the comments section should you happen to know it.

   After getting back in the ring with the "yellow" level of marijuana and losing the round again, my husband has taken the oversight of my dosages of my MM. This is a job for him I have requested. According to the pharmacist at the dispensary I'm supposed to "start low and take it slow." I have, and likely never will be, a "low and slow" kind of girl. I always want to start out at the max with anything and see if I can handle it. Brian knows this about me. He starts me out on the lowest level, the blue (dominant CBD). I can take green (balanced THC and CBD) at nighttime so I don't wake up sick with MS, unfortunately my normal. 

    What follows is both a miracle and a disaster.Within 48 hours, my spasticity is gone completely.

 For many years now the muscles in my back, neck, and left arm have been permanently spastic. What that means is my brain, without medication, no longer tells these muscles to relax. It's quite painful and is debilitating. I have been taking over a thousand milligrams of antiseizure medication and muscle relaxers to make the problem less painful, my arm functional, and to the untrained eye, invisible. These medications also have the side effects of weight gain, fatigue, headache, and making me feel vaguely nauseous all of the time.

     I wake up and for the briefest of moments I feel free. I can turn my head to look behind me. Nothing is resisting me. I feel almost ballerina-like in my movements. Those horrible symptoms of headache and nausea are gone. I can't describe to you in words the relief I feel. It is nearly a religious experience. I slide out of bed and head out to my kitchen when out of the blue it feels like a spear has been run through my back, the pain is excruciating. 

     Now unfortunately my doctor is out of town and I don't want to go to the emergency room again. There are only so many times you can show up there asking for pain meds before you get labeled and to tell the truth, the ER meds don't help anyway. I'm not sure why, but when my doc leaves, the man who covers for him seems to delight in the sufferings of others. Let's call him Dr. Evil. 

     I immediately reach out to Dr. Evil and leave a message, it's a Friday and I know if I don't take care of this soon I will be left helpless. Friday afternoon and night slip by, nothing from Dr. Evil. I reach out to my MS neurologists as well, no word from them either. I wake up in the morning to an email from Dr. Evil. It's short. "You've already been prescribed pain medication."

     Clearly Dr. Evil doesn't understand that I can barely get to the lou and back. I call and leave a message with the weekend answering service. He does not call me back. I call again later that day and ask him to please call as this situation is serious. Finally I get an irate phone call back. Dr. Evil says there is nothing anyone can do to help me, when I insist I need help, he grudgingly advises me to double up my pain meds until my regular doctor gets back. I'm relieved to have some some solution but my prescription will run out before my doctor returns. Dr. Evil tells me not to worry, he will refill my script when I need it. 

     My neurologist and MM prescriber calls back and lets me know that my spasticity has been relieved so fast my spine hasn't had time to adjust and has been destabilized. It happens, he says, and isn't permanent. I double up on my pain medication, and although my back hurts, being able to turn my head and move freely is truly a gift I enjoy. 

      Six days before my doctor gets back from vacation, my pain meds run out. The pain is so intense I am utterly incapacitated and now Brian is giving the higher THC oils just to knock me out. The night passes, I don't sleep. I drift in and out in a fog of hurt. The next morning I call my doctor's office and the nurse says the script will be ready any minute. We wait all day for the promised prescription to come through, it doesn't. Dr. Evil is refusing to fill it.

     I have one last hope. I wait until the office is closed and I ring up the doctor on night call. Let's call him Dr. Good. He takes one look at my medical record and I have my needed script within two minutes. 

     With Dr. Good's help I am able to function, even find some relief. The following week, I grab the first appointment my doctor has and we make a plan on how to use my pain meds and my MM in tandem to get me back to functioning and hopefully phase out the pain meds in the future. 

     With this information I am able to cut my antiseizure medication down by 40%. We are getting somewhere, it's working.