Two days without codine

After meeting my consultant on the 14th I mentioned that I was going to try to cut out the codine, which I’ve been taking (at the maximum daily level) for the last 6 weeks or so to help slow down the output of my ileostomy. I considered reducing the dose by 25% a week, but in the end I decided to just stop taking them completely, and see what would happen. It turns out that it’s had a minimal effect on my ileostomy output; certainly not enough in my mind to justify continuing to take them. Meanwhile I feel much more alert, and considerably less drowsy. All of which is good.

Unfortunately, having gone “cold turkey” on them, I am now experiencing classic opiate withdrawal symptoms. So I’m extremely restless, and thoroughly irritable. In particular, I’m not managing to sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time, despite feeling pretty tired, which isn’t ideal for me, and must be driving my poor wife mad. Apparently this can last for a week or two 😦

The other issue is that the pain-relieving aspects of the codine appear to have been hiding a couple of other problems.

Now that pain relief is removed I find that I have a fair amount of discomfort from the ileostomy, which largely seems to be caused by my trouser belt catching it when I sit up/down, move around etc. I’m going to have to see if I can find a way to make/attach some form of padding around the site of the ileostomy to minimise that. Fortunately I’m meeting the stoma nurses next week anyway, so hopefully they will be able to offer some form of “official” solution, as this must be a pretty common problem.

In addition, some discomfort in my shoulder which I’d previously put down to a simple muscle pull, has now reached a level of pain that is proving hard to put up with. My shoulder/arm aches pretty much constantly, and I can’t get comfortable either sitting, standing up or lying down – which obviously doesn’t help with the sleep/restless thing either! Deep heat, massage etc don’t seem to help, so I’m starting to suspect some form of trapped nerve. For now, I’m trying to get by with topical pain relief using ibuprofen and paracetamol, but to be honest, they don’t seem to be helping much, if at all.

The shoulder pain more than anything else has tempted me to simply start taking the codine again, but of course that doesn’t really help much in the longer term. It’s all rather frustrating, but I guess I’ll just have to hold on until I can see the doctors/consultants again next week, and hope that they can then suggest something (manipulation?) than can attack the root cause of the shoulder pain.

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