Quite a long time ago, March 2018 in fact, I wrote a very difficult post. I will quote some of it now…
I have written many times over the last year about my list of chronic conditions and have detailed what my worst coughing attacks are like. Readers will be aware that I live every day, every hour and every minute, terrified that a severe cough will suddenly grab me by the throat and that I will have to dash to the bathroom with my bottle of water and sick bucket. I then sit on the loo, fighting for each breath, hoping that I will survive. Yes, it all sounds very dramatic and maybe overblown, but this is my life.
This is leading up to something that I am going to admit in public for the first time. In fact, I have only just told my immediate family. I take a range of medicine for all of my conditions, and to counteract the side effects of some of these very medications! For the cough specifically, I take morphine in a very low dose as one of its side effects is that it works as a cough suppressant. This is fairly effective, but I cannot take any extra tablets if I feel a bad cough coming on. To help with this, I also have Codeine Linctus, which is a well known cough medicine, that you can often get over the counter, although I have it on prescription. As I am so scared, virtually all of the time, I have become over-dependent on the codeine linctus. I began to realise that I have been taking far too much of it over quite a long time.
So, I am admitting here that I am trying to cut down on the codeine. It is very difficult for me and I have thought very hard and long about writing this. I feel very ashamed, but want to try to face this and get control again. I hope that, by speaking out, I will be able get a grip on myself and not reach for the medicine bottle when I get nervous.
I really did try to cut down on the Codeine Linctus, but, in the end, was unsuccessful and continued to take too much. I am only supposed to take it “as needed” but, instead, I found myself drinking it straight out of the bottle instead of carefully measuring the doses. I was not taking it when a cough threatened, but using it as a prop. I am very ashamed of myself.
Last week, when Lovely Husband and I were on our own, I finally confessed to him what I was doing. It was very hard because he had been telling me that he thought I was taking too much and at the wrong time, but I had argued with him vociferously, denying it all. I was trying to fool both him and myself. What really made me change was reading about codeine addiction and side effects and coming to the realisation that some of my symptoms might be made worse by the codeine, rather than better. Things like tiredness, feeling spaced out, dizziness, stomach issues, for example.
So, I have started the process of cutting down slowly. I am measuring out the correct doses properly, not cutting down too fast, but making a steady effort to take back control. I will talk about this with my counsellor on Friday. Also, I am making sure that LH is fully aware of what I am doing and I am leaving the bottle in the bathroom, rather than in my bedroom, so that he can see how slowly the bottle is emptying.
Despite my feelings of intense shame, I am also writing about this on here as a way of facing up to what I am doing. I hope that visitors to the blog will understand what is happening and will continue to visit for the more positive posts that I try to write.
That’s all for now.