We finally started tapering the buprenorphine per Brother’s doctor’s orders. I think in his mind it was going to be excruciating, but it turned out to be pretty seamless. I believe it is because his liver can’t process what’s already in his system so it’s just maxed out and he’s not feeling any kind of drop yet. I’m sure we will get to that point.
We dropped him 4 mg total which means 2 less in the am and 2 less in the pm- from 16mg to 12mg. Like I said, so far it has been seamless. The first day he suffered some mental withdrawal. He said he was nauseous and tired so we told him to just chillax and sleep when he felt like he needed to. The next day he slept quite a bit too, but there was no “physical” withdrawals from it. He wasn’t sick or shaking or sweating or feverish or any of the symptoms the internet said we should be on the lookout for. And by day 3, he had a general sense of well being. We ended up spending the day out and about going to get bloodwork done and going to his GI doctor to fill out some paperwork and pick up a prescription. And for the most part, he was in a good mood and didn’t really complain about feeling ill at all. I felt like that was a win.
Now that we are working on tapering and getting his buprenorphine to a minimum, we are working diligently to get him into an intensive outpatient program. That has been more difficult than expected. It seems the issue is that he is too dependent on drugs and/or alcohol to be in an outpatient program at all. Most of the programs we have called would like him to participate in their inpatient program. His medical needs are too steep right now for anyone to feel comfortable taking him with his dietary restrictions and his medical needs so we are stuck with basically no rehab program at the moment. Which I guess is fine.
We were successful in getting him set up with a therapist. I should rephrase. He was successful in getting himself set up with a therapist. Flea Market Guy and I have decided that he needs to be more proactive in his own health and care and treatment. We can do all the work for him but if he doesn’t want to do it himself, we might as well set him out on the street to die.
He’s told us repeatedly that he is finally ready to live. So we set out to create a new plan for him. So far, that plan consists of starting to go to two meetings a day. One AA meeting and one NA meeting. It involves physical therapy which we are waiting on a referral for from his primary. Also, we are requesting that he go to therapy. He found a therapist today and has his first appointment in a few days. We are on the fence about whether he could use occupational therapy. I remember when my mom had her head injury, she went to occupational therapy and they taught her how to cook for herself and how to balance a checkbook. I feel like this ordeal (ammonia on the brain) is a lot like a brain injury if it’s not actually considered a brain injury. But we are waiting on that.
For now, I am still preparing all of his food so I can make sure he is getting all of the protein he needs and none of the salt. Sunday I meal prepped 10 meals for him (and the other boys in the house if they want some) that consist of 4oz of meat, a serving of potatoes or rice, and a steamed mixed veggie serving that has broccoli, cauliflower, and red & green peppers. For breakfast he’s usually been eating high protein oatmeal and orange slices. Sometimes I make him a protein shake but the last time I did, he said it was too much food and he wanted to burst. But I guess the protein shakes are like a meal so he probably was full. I’ve also got a fridge full of grapes and other fresh fruits and veggies along with a freezer full of frozen fruit that I use to make smoothies for him. So FMG and I also talked about continuing to give him good choices to eat daily until the end of the month and then showing him how to make all of the things that are good for him to eat. So I guess in a way, we will be doing our own kind of occupational therapy with him.
So, everything seems to be getting into kind of a groove when it comes to brother in law. Now I just need to get my creative side into a groove so I can get back to writing because I haven’t had one creative thought since he moved in nor have I made one dollar of my own since he got here. And I hate more than anything, relying on someone else to give me money. Even though FMG doesn’t mind and I am taking care of his brother, I still want to feel like I am contributing and I want to have my own money to buy frivolous shit I like to have, like books and fancy paper….
So next step is another taper and a therapy session… to be continued….