Tramadol Nights

For a change, this blog is about an adventure had without Pearl.
Sometimes with disability comes an issue with chronic pain. For me, chronic pain has developed over the last five years in part from complications from surgery and also as a result of wear and tear on my body in general.  
Although chronic pain isn’t funny in itself, some of the methods of managing it have amusing outcomes. They’re not called Tramadol Nights for nothing!
My Pharmacist sources medications from a number of different manufacturers. For months I had been taking Tramadol from one specific manufacturer and had experienced no adverse side effects. The next time he dispensed Tramadol to me, it was from a different manufacturer. Now, you would think that Tramadol is Tramadol and that sourcing from a different manufacturer wouldn’t make any difference…but you’d be wrong.
Here’s what happened one night…
I’d taken my medications as normal and settled down for the night. I had my pillows, my duvet and an extremely comfortable mattress…the perfect combination for an excellent night’s sleep. I drifted off to sleep and at some point in the night had a very strange dream.
Imagine Watership Down but with kangaroos and not cuddly bunnies. My dream began with me in a dugout, clearly in the middle of some sort of battle. The colours were vivid, the sirens were loud and it all felt very, very real. Next thing I knew, my brother had joined me in the dugout. He was kitted out in full battle dress, ready to wage war against the invading kangaroos; I was still in my PJs. He passed me a gun to fire which I soon discovered had no ammunition. Turning to my brother to ask him for ammo, he promptly passed me some plastic bullets (think the toy soldier type). I asked him how he thought this was going to help, to which he shrugged. At this point, Mum arrived in the dugout (well she would, wouldn’t she? Never one to miss the action!) Mum was also kitted out in battle dress, and being a typical Mum was concerned about my lack of appropriate clothing. Turning to Mum I exclaimed “I haven’t got a helmet and the kangaroos will get me!” Being a Mum, she was of course prepared for this scenario. Reaching into her handbag, she produced a colander which she promptly plonked on my head saying “There you go dear, that will protect you.” before continuing to wage war against the encroaching kangaroos.
Now, these kangaroos were huge, scary beasts and we were starting to realise that three people waging war against an army of kangaroos was indeed a losing battle. We had to hope that they were still vegetarians! Wondering how we would escape from our dugout, I exclaimed “Oh no, what are we going to do?”
Then Dad appeared.
If you’ve met my Dad, you will know that his midlife crisis was resolved by becoming a hot air balloon pilot, complete with his own balloon. In the midst of the war against the kangaroos, Dad appeared with his hot air balloon to save the day. Lowering the basket into the dugout, we all clambered aboard and just in the nick of time, Dad flew us away to safety. Who needs Mary Poppins and her umbrella when you’ve got a Dad and his balloon? As we drifted off to safety, we surveyed the carnage below, hoping the kangaroos couldn’t jump high enough to reach us.
I awoke in the early hours of the morning wondering what was reality and what was  dream. I must admit to getting out of bed and looking around my room to make sure there really were no kangaroos! Most of us forget dreams fairly quickly, but this is one I will never forget.

My interesting experiences with Tramadol do not end here. I’ve had one more slightly awkward experience… one day I had a stinking cold and was dosing myself up with Sudafed. At least I thought it was Sudafed. Unfortunately, Sudafed and Tramadol capsules look incredibly similar and it turned out that I’d been taking Tramadol instead of Sudafed… oops. The headache was definitely gone but I couldn’t understand why my nose was still blocked! On this occasion it didn’t cause me a problem, but it is something to really be careful of. 

Lesson #10 of life with Emily: Make sure you read what it says on the packet!


As a side note, I’ve built up an extremely good relationship with my Tramadol dispensing Pharmacist (he says I single-handedly keep him in profit). This is the kind of banter we have…  I went in close to closing time and asked him to dispense a prescription for me. He turned to me and said “Sorry Em, I can’t dispense to you today”. Taken aback, I asked him “Why, have you run out of things?” to which he responded “No, I’ve got a paper cut and it really hurts”. What a joker.

Lesson #11 of life with Emily: Pharmacists do have a sense of humour!



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