Rehab and the Addiction Psychiatrist

The withdrawal got so bad, I wanted to check into rehab. Maybe Passages in Malibu? They have some great commercials on in the middle of the night. Looked like fun.

Going to Passages had been a running joke bewteeen Sexy and me for years. “When I get well and it’s time to get off my drugs,”  I told him, “I’m going THERE!!!”

“You’re on one Vicodin a day. Why would you go to rehab?” Sexy said.

I know, right? It didn’t seem like much.

Well, one regular strength Vicodin per day, plus a 15 mg morphine pill plus a 350 mg soma is actually a HUGE hit of drugs. Then add in the time factor. I’d been doing this a while. I’d been on much higher doses. I’d reduced slowly over the years as my pain reduced, as Dr. Plance injected me with C occasionally, neither of us realizing the C was The Key.

But I had not taken less than that dose for many years. 

Withdrawal got bad. It got completely unbearable. 

I called Passages. My insurance would pay. They said they’d send me in a town car from Malibu to physical therapy in Beverly Hills twice a week. That would have been an awesome story. Plus all the famous people I would have met there. I would have had great material for small talk at cocktail parties for years to come. I could imagine it, “When I was at Passages in Malibu coming off morphine and Vicodin…” Ha ha ha.

My PT wanted me to get permission for him to come treat me at Passages so he could check it out. We laughed and laughed. That was the most fun I had during my titrate.

But then I found out what goes on in rehab: Nothing! No one wonder no one can stay sober. There’s a lot sneaking out and getting high. 12 Step Meetings, because for sure if you admit that you are a sinner and submit to God, that will fix your drug problem. These places aren’t even medical facilities, unless you go to a rehab at a hospital. Why would my insurance even pay, then? What a racket.

I’m a sick person. I need medical personnel. I called hospital programs. They wouldn’t take me because I wasn’t an addict. I stayed home, which was really hard because celebrity rehab in Malibu really would have been the greatest story ever. Sitting here writing this I’m sorry I didn’t go. I could have checked out after a week, just like a famous person.

Not sure where to turn for help, I found a medical speciality I hadn’t heard of: the addiction psychiatrist. That guy is hard to get an appointment with. His schedule is very full. Also, he’s the guy with the billing codes for suboxone. The pain doctors didn’t know who to send me to for that. 

I dressed up for this appointment, as I always do. I did not want the psychiatrist to think I was crazy. In my dopesick haze, I had neglected to put on mascara. With a full face of make up, no mascara on my eyelashes that grow straight down, I definitely looked a little crazy. Oh well. 

I was shaking and sweating, choking on my tears, struggling to stay upright and act like the lady that I am. Wasn't fooling no one, in the throws of acute withdrawal. He empathized. He really empathized with my suffering. It was the best.

I don’t want to say his name. You’ll see why.

He was so cuddly looking. I like that in a doctor. That’s not why I won’t say his name. 

It’s because he told me about his bad divorce, his DUI, his cocaine problem, losing his license with the Medical Board. It was the most inspiring story I’d ever heard. I’m just not sure he wants it on the internet. I wanted to bow down at his feet, I was so impressed. Maybe touch his arm to see if he was really real. He had made it. Someone got off something. I honestly, truly, not at all trying to be funny here, didn’t think getting off drugs was actually possible. The withdrawal was that bad.

We went over the history of my pain drug taking. “Congratulations, you are not an addict!” he said.

He looked at what I was on now. “Wow, you are on so little!” he exclaimed. That was worth the price of admission.

I passed on his suboxone. He thought it would help me get to zero with less discomfort. Maybe if I had come to him sooner in my titrate I would have tried it. It had taken so long to get an appointment with him, and I had kept cutting back. But the truth is, no matter how you get to zero, the adjustment after zero is the same. Pure hell. No point in making things complicated. I was almost there, anyway.

I hit zero five days after I met Dr. Addiction Psychiatrist. He was the kind, rational, non-confusing support I needed just then to make it to the end. Plus the brownies that Sexy made and all the vodka I downed them with. Just during the last few days of my titrate.

Dr. Addiction Psychiatrist was so happy for me when I made it to zero.

Imagine pic of me and Dr. Addiction Psychiatrist here.

This one is on my list of my Top Five Doctor’s Appointments Ever.

 

Madora Pennington