So, Roughly 9 months to the day since my hip replacement, I took off my last patch.
Since 2009 there’s not been a period where I’ve not been on some form of opiate, be it tablet/patch/liquid. I decided pretty soon after I had my right hip replaced last year that as soon as I could, I was going to get off the opiates. By September last year i was off long acting morphine tablets, and it’s taken me since then to get off patches. Granted I’ve dislocated my shoulder and had major issues with some other joints in between, and it’s a lot harder to reduce patches because the doses linger in your system for longer so once you take off one patch, you still technically get that dose for about 12 hours afterwards. You also can only reduce them in bigger drops. Fentanyl patches come in 100, 75, 50, 25 and 12mcg/hr patches. So you have to do it much slower than you do with MST/Zomorph which I did in drops of ten a week/ten days.
I don’t think people realise just how much strong painkillers can mess with so many of your day to day activities. I didn’t realise until I was off Zomorph just how tired it had made me. I noticed I was able to stay more alert during the day and didn’t need to nap for as long as I had or as often. I decided in March though that the time was right to start reducing my patch. And although it took me longer than anticipated, it was amazing when I took my last patch off. This time last year I was on 100mcg/hr of fentanyl, 60mg of Zomorph twice a day and was taking anything between 5-20mgs of oramorph every 4 hours. It soon adds up and makes you feel rather dopey after a while! Now I’m taking between 10-20mg of oramorph at night and if I’m in pain during the day. It’s nothing in comparison and it’s a lot easier to get off oramorph than long acting painkillers because they don’t linger in your body as long.
I’m chuffed pink that I’ve finally managed it though, it’s a big deal for me and it’s taken me a long time and a lot of pain to get to this point.