On one of these visits to hospital, in August 2008, I was given a prescription for tablets called MST (Morphine Sulphate Tablets). These tablets slowly release the morphine into your system over a space of 12 hours. I was instructed to take one 60mg tablet every 12 hours and was also given numerous bottles of Oramorph, the fast acting liquid version of the tablets.
For the first 2 weeks of taking these tablets, and although my pain levels were significantly less, I was pretty much a walking zombie. I was so incapacitated by the tablets that, on about my 3rd or 4th day into the medication, a close friend of mine came to visit and after taking one look at the state I was in was visibly shocked. After 2 or 3 weeks on the tablets, while at the same time taking the liquid morphine when the tablets did not quite do the trick, I started to feel what may be described as “normal” again. Little did I know that this was not a good sign, it simply meant that I was now heavily addicted to my medication.
The first time I realised that the medication may have taken a serious hold of me was 3 month later on a Sunday afternoon in November 2008. Every Sunday I head to my 76 year old Mother’s for Sunday dinner. I have done this for many, many years and Sunday dinner has been somewhat of a family tradition since long before I was even born. It is a day I look forward to from the moment I wake on Monday morning, however on this occasion Sunday dinner was not to be an enjoyable time, in fact far from it.
On the Saturday evening I had forgotten to take my prescribed 12 hourly MST tablet and, upon waking rather late the following morning, forgot to take a tablet then also. Upon reaching my Mother’s home the dinner was already prepared and we sat down to eat. I put salt and pepper on this fabulous roast beef meal before me, scooped some home-made mustard onto the side of my plate and broke down into floods of tears.
I realised from that moment that these tablets were starting to destroy my quality of life and, no matter what it took, I had to get off them. I was at a stage where I was no longer taking the medication for pain but simply because my body needed it, and if I did not I was left nigh on suicidal. I was, for all intents and purposes, a prescription smack-head. 6 weeks later, on New Year ’s Day, I decided to stop the tablets. Cue 2 weeks of the harshest withdrawals you could possibly imagine, sleepless nights, restlessness, aches and pains and the sweats of cold turkey. Basically, “the rattle”. I now needed something new.