the essential This Sunday evening, on M6, Nadine, a Tournefeuillaise of 61, recounts her six years of hell in the morphine gear, following a car accident. She got out with the help of doctors and the Toulouse pain center.
Your drug addiction started 6 years earlier, after your car accident. How did it go?
End 2013, I had a bad car accident on the way out of my house, with fractures all over my upper body. After 6 months of rest, I resumed my position as managerial assistant in aeronautics but I still had pain, especially in my left leg. One day, I even felt sick at the office because I was in so much pain. I went back to my doctor who prescribed me morphine. It was miraculous, my pain immediately disappeared. But quickly, they came back, even while still on morphine. At that time, I saw a surgeon for my aching leg. I had the operation several times but the symptoms returned, I was still in pain between operations, therefore the doctor doubled my doses of morphine. Then they ended up placing a prosthesis on my knee and the leg pain stopped. But they spread everywhere, in the arms, the back … My doctor did not really understand what was going on.
What did he do then?
Thinking that I was under dosed in morphine, he prescribed me Sentanyl patches which released it all day long, in addition to the Oxynorm pills that I took every four hours. Despite this, I had more and more pain. I still didn’t understand what was happening to me. Since I was taking a lot of high-dose morphine, I found this problematic. I went to see several doctors who seemed quite distraught with my case. And on my side, I was desperate because I continued to suffer.
At the same time, what were the consequences on your life?
I was on sick leave and never returned to work. In 2018, I was dismissed for incapacity. I, who had a very developed social life, found myself at home, not seeing anyone. I spent my days on the couch taking my morphine doses every four hours. My purchasing power has also fallen sharply since I was receiving a disability pension. So my life suddenly changed.
When did you realize you had become addicted to morphine?
In 2019, when I had discomfort. At one point, I even thought I had overdosed, I felt myself leaving. I cried for emergency hospitalization, but I was refused on the pretext that I had no pathologies. I even tried going to a drug addiction center and got rejected there too. My case was ridiculous compared to people who took heroin. So I went home with my problem. Desperate.
During all these years, how did you get morphine?
By my doctor. At that time, prescriptions weren’t secure, it was very easy. It was almost me who asked for the dosage that suited me.
Today, where are you? Did you manage to get rid of morphine?
Yes, thanks to yet another doctor consulted in 2019, in Cugnaux. When he saw that I was taking in addition to morphine, antidepressants, anti-epileptics, anti-inflammatory drugs, in short, an incredible array of drugs, he panicked. And made an appointment for me at the Purpan Pain Center. I was taken care of by a doctor who hospitalized me for a week, to lower the doses of morphine. This doctor explained to me that too much morphine put the body in hyperalgesia, in other words had the opposite effect and created pain. I was on a ketamine infusion to remove the withdrawal effects. Six months later, I made a second trip with the same protocols. Each time, I reduced my doses of morphine. Then, I was taken care of by an addictologist who cut me off the morphine, to put me on methadone. I have been there for 1 year and have found a normal life. I no longer have pain in my whole body. Now I will have to do a methadone withdrawal but I think it will be easier than with morphine.