Addiction & Recovery

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.