Every holiday a headache

Tramadol/Ultram was fairly new back then. Marketed as non-habit forming. Most definitely a wonder drug.

Rather than making Dave groggy, like other pain medications, it helped him just be there.

With three small children at that time, this drug was a miracle to me.

Prior to taking tramadol, migraines meant Dave had a pillow over his head in a dark room . . . sometimes for days.

It was lonely. And stressful. Every holiday. Every birth. Every birthday. Every weekend. Migraines.

After six years of unsuccessful experimental drug treatments, he was finally referred to UCLA’s pain clinic.

“Non-habit forming.”

I operated under that assumption for years. Even when we had to pay for it out of pocket because insurance only covered a certain number of pills, I didn’t catch on.

Looking back, we realize that at some point the migraines had actually turned into “rebound headaches.” Which meant for Dave that going without the drug for a few days created more pain. Often worse than the original headache. Not sure either of us knew the difference. Pain was pain.

Part of my blindness was because doctors kept prescribing it. They didn’t know either. 

You’d be amazed how hard it was 7 years ago to convince doctors that a. Dave was addicted to tramadol, and b. they were fueling his addiction.[by 2003, there were many doctors .  . . but I’ll save that for another post]

Back then we heard things like, “Does it help your migraines?” “Yes.” “Well, then? What’s the problem?” And “You don’t have an addictive personality.” And, “Ultram? Really? That can’t be right. It’s not a class 2 drug.”

I had to call the doctors and tell them. TELL them. Read the insert in the samples. In fine print, doctor, it’s there. . .

Strangely enough, in the past 3 1/2 years,  Dave’s only had a handful of migraines. Maybe five.

* * * * *

Yesterday was truly lovely.

So lovely that I almost forget how painful holidays used to be.

Praise God.

3 thoughts on “Every holiday a headache”

  • I love that you guys are sharing your story. I was also on Tramadol for over 2 years. I was on it because it was not habit forming. I was on 4 tramadol a day, plus vicoden or percocet for break through pain. Yet during the 2 years I would come off of it periodically and find that it was excruciatingly awful.
    Fortunately for me I don’t have an addictive behavior, so I was able to come off of them. But let me tell you I had to go through the shakes, the sleepless nights, and the hot flashes along with being freezing cold. Unfortunately my pain was so bad, I always had to go back on.

    After being on them for a solid 2 years it took me 3 months to finally clear my body of them and sleep through the night again.

    Mine was for back pain. I have since had my back surgery and I am 100% pain free and hope to never have to do that again.
    Honestly I have to say until I read your story I had no idea how bad tramadol was. Makes me say “Thank you Jesus, for protecting me.”

    I find it interesting that they were prescribing Tramadol for migraines. I have those on occasion and Tramadol wouldn’t even touch it.

    The lesson I learned through my whole back thing is, we need to be our own health care providers. We need to do the research, ask questions and question everything. For me doctors wanted to cover up the pain. I wanted to know what the pain was. It took me 5 physical therapists, 3 chiropractors, numerous spine specialists before they figured it out. It wasn’t that complicated.

    Thank you for telling your story. I am so glad God protected you and your family through this whole thing.

    • Thank you, Amy. It’s so important to get the word out about this drug. Your experience just underscores the need for it to be regulated and at the very least become a class 2 drug. (For readers unfamiliar with that designation, it’s a classification of narcotic drugs that are heavily monitored.)

      And you are SO right about being our own healthcare providers. Too often a drug is prescribed even before adequate testing to rule out other things. Probably because it’s cheaper.

      But there are good and kind doctors who just really do not want to see people remain in pain. That was our experience. They didn’t want to see Dave to suffer & the doctors we knew in the beginning of this — doctors I worked for — wanted him to be able to function and be a husband and father to his young family. Had they any idea what they started, they never would have prescribed him a pill.

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