So this post is meant to inform anyone interested in my reaction to the pain medication tramadol. I should have never been prescribed this medication, let alone twice! At the beginning of my ovarian cyst crisis at the end of January 2015, I had gone to a local clinic here in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (it’s probably wise for me not to name it at this time). Not just one doctor, but TWO doctors assisted in my care while I spent a few hours reeling in pain. The nurses conducted a urine test and a blood test and together (the two doctors) concluded that I was either passing a kidney stone due to the blood in my urine, or I had an ovarian cyst. My pain was in the left pelvic region and it came on very suddenly. The nurses scheduled me for an ultrasound at another facility across town for that next morning (a Saturday). I was prescribed tramadol and filled it immediately at the 24 hour CVS. I don’t use this location normally for my prescription medication; I use a Rite-Aid. The doctors knew what I was prescribed on a regular basis yet still gave me that particular pain pill. It was my mistake not to double check.
What ended up happening was I had a completely unexpected grand mal seizure at my internship. The seizure was described to me by the woman I was working with…
First, I seemed to be staring off in the distance and didn’t answer a question asked directly to me. Next, I was sitting in a chair and my legs and arms became very stiff. Then I collapsed onto the concrete floor, hitting my head on her wooden desk on the way down. The convulsions lasted roughly 2 minutes. After those ended, I stopped breathing for roughly another 2 minutes. The times are only estimates since she was distracted on the phone with the 911 operator, following instructions. By this time, I had a cushion under my head and 2 other coworkers on the ground next to me. I turned blue but then soon regained my breathing abilities.
I don’t remember what happened prior to the seizure or a minute or so after. I can recall the paramedics in the room asking me over and over if I had diabetes or a history of seizures while they pricked my finger for blood. Both answers are no. So eventually I was picked up and brought over on a stretcher to the local hospital for treatment, and was released a few hours later after a CT scan and more blood work.
The medications that I take daily are Prozac, Seroquel, Propranolol and Vyvanse. According to http://www.drugs.com, when I checked the potential reactions between the above medications and tramadol, every single one posed a potential major interaction threat in the form of a seizure. Anyone who took a minute of their time to check the interactions could immediately see that this medication should NEVER have been prescribed or even considered for me in the first place. Not only did the mistake slip past the doctors at the clinic, but the pharmacist at CVS never said anything either.
And not only was I prescribed tramadol once, but I had run out of my pain pills and had yet to see a gynecologist (things in Alabama I’ve learned take longer than up north) so I went back to see if I could get another prescription for more tramadol. Unknowingly, it was pretty much destroying me. I walked into the clinic and advised them of my situation. Not even 5 minutes went by and a nurse was handing me another prescription!! I hadn’t left the receptionist’s desk. I thought it was a good sign, so I left before they could question it.
After my ER visit, I was referred to a local neurologist. He advised me to come back and have an EEG done, just in case. I didn’t think anything would come of it but I got a phone call back from the doctor himself, letting me know he found some ‘abnormalities’ in my test. Given my recent medical issues, my mom had me get a DVD copy of the EEG and I shipped it up to a trustworthy doctor my sister sees in Chicago. Dr. Nordly is a child neurologist for Children’s Hospital and my mother trusts his opinion 100%. I’ve yet to hear back from Dr. Nordly’s office. I was prescribed an anti-seizure drug by the doctor here (lamotrigine) but I have yet to take a single pill, and don’t plan to until I hear from Nordly.
In the end, I definitely learned my lesson and I question doctors now, while before I trusted they would conduct the basic care protocols I expect. I had a successful surgery with my gynecologist which has restored some of my faith into the doctors in the south. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t trust any southern doctor!! It’s like the American cop situation right now… One bad seed doesn’t represent the whole.