It finally happened. We finally got the call that I had been hoping for. Brother in law’s primary care doctor called us about Brother’s buprenorphine prescription. When we originally went to Brother’s psychiatrist (the doctor who prescribes this drug and has kept him on it for 5 years without trying to taper him off), without even addressing the concerns that I had brought up with his nurse, which was, is his liver going to be able to process that many chemicals when it is literally not working. I’m pretty sure his parents are mad at me for pushing the issue, but I felt like it was an issue that needed to be pushed. After voicing my concerns, which obviously didn’t matter to anyone in the room because he was not going to be dying in their living room, the psychiatrist came in with a pre written prescription for the second to largest dose of that drug that is prescribed.
Needless to say, I’ve been harping about it for the last ten days. I know that I am not a doctor, but I am pretty fucking smart and really well read. Plus it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if the liver can’t even process food at the moment then it certainly can’t process high doses of a synthetic drug.
So after the primary care doctor (well, her nurse) called and said to half his dose, I asked her to tell him herself so he wouldn’t argue with me. He ended up keeping her on the phone for over 30 minutes trying to explain that he doesn’t want to change anything until all of his doctors are on the same page. When he hung up the phone, he tried to convince me that she had said to wait until we heard back from them Monday or Tuesday before doing anything. Me, being the strong headed maybe bitch that I am politely called the doctor’s office back to see if he was feeding me bullshit, because that’s what drug addicts do. I had to leave a message and another nurse finally called me back. I explained to her that I thought he was trying to manipulate the situation and I just wanted to double check if we should start the taper asap or if we needed to wait like he said. She put me on a brief hold and came back to say, “I just spoke with the doctor and she said it needs to be halfed or she’s afraid he may die.”
That’s all I needed to hear. Half it is.
There was, of course, another long drawn out battle about this. Buprenorphine is the one and only thing that we have fought about. When I hand him a smoothie made with coconut water, power greens and fruit, he drinks it. When I tell him that he can’t have an honest to god Coca Cola but he can have a carbonated fruit beverage if he feels the need for carbonation, he drinks it. When I give him his fifth dose of lactulose so he can go shit his brains out for the fifth time in a day, no arguments, he takes it like a shot of whiskey. But when I say, it’s time to lower your buprenorphine, it’s like the fucking sky is falling and he wants to call his mom.
I know old habits die hard. And the truth is also hard. So I guess he is just going to have to learn things the hard way for a while.
I did some research about detoxing from buprenorphine so I know that he is going to feel like shit for the next little bit. He is going to be restless, nauseous, maybe physically ill, angry, and possibly feel ill in general. But that is how he already feels anyway because he is (was) slowly dying in my living room.
He seems to be feeling a lot better as the days go by. Aside from the fighting over his little opioid, I think our house is the safest and most positive place for him to be right now. So as we start tapering, Flea Market Guy and I have decided that it is time to submerge him in healthy alternatives to drugs. Starting today, we will be calling around for a therapist for him to go to a couple times a week if his insurance will pay for it or if we can find a reasonably priced therapist. We are waiting to hear from the intensive outpatient program so he will have that 12 hours a week. We’ve requested physical therapy from his primary care doctor because he has some leg issues that make him unsteady. The doc said that they should have that worked out by Tuesday. And I plan on taking him to an AA meeting and an NA everyday. Yep, two meetings a day.
Luckily Flea Market Guy is working his ass off because this has turned into a full time job. I haven’t been able to make any of my own money freelancing or even really looking for gigs because I just haven’t had time. And I don’t mind one bit… if this works. If this little witchy all natural therapeutic plan of mine pans out, then Flea Market Guy will have his brother back. The parents will have their son back. The children will have their father back. And I won’t have a grown ass man sleeping in my living room and I can go lay on a beach somewhere for a week. I’ve decided that is going to be my reward for a job well done.
So we are tapering the buprenorphine, adding all the therapies and all the fruits and veggies and praying for a miraculous outcome.