It started with a very pretty little sparkling firework display while I was trying to get to sleep on Wednesday night after returning from the hospital. This replaced the ever-retreating bands of colour I normally see while I’m falling asleep with something a little more active. The display responded to things I heard, so it changed when I scratched my head, or when the music on the radio came on.
I couldn’t fall asleep, no matter how long I lay there. All the time the visions behind my eyelids grew more and more complex and engaging. Then they started being populated, and the actors played roles that I found witty and funny. I laughed out loud. It was fun, even though I couldn’t sleep.
Then the hallucinations started to disturb me a little. They weren’t unpleasant, but were no longer fun, and harder for me to banish. That was enough. I needed help, so I rang the number I had been given on leaving hospital. While I was talking to them, Gillian contributed the important detail that I had been manic ever since returning from the hospital. I was indeed very high, which is why I was finding life so much fun.
Drug induced psychosis
It turned out that I was having a psychotic episode, probably caused either by the steroids I was taking to control nausea, or by the morphine. I cut out both drugs, and over about the next 12 hours the symptoms faded. The replacement pain killers weren’t up to the job, so I had a dilemma. Should I ditch the new pain killer and go back to the morphine, which I knew worked but might make me psychotic again? Another call the the help line resolved that. It was almost certainly the steroids that caused the problem, so provided I were careful, and Gillian watched me like a hawk, we could slowly re-introduce the morphine.
And that’s where we are now. I have built up from very small oral doses of morphine and the pain is now almost under control. I have cut out the steroids, but left in the other anti-sickness tablets. I feel a little wobbly, but basically in control and much more stable.
I hope that by having described what happened to me, from the inside, it might help those who are searching for symptoms to understand what might actually be happening. It felt so right and good at first, but what followed was definitely not good. Much better to catch it sooner if possible.
As a bonus, the snow is thawing. This evening, things are looking up again.