Sunday, March 8, 2015

The creepy Cannabis day (and Purim 2015)

I last wrote just before I picked up the Cannabis. I had just gotten news of the licence being approved.

Why haven't I written since? Things are just really hard. And I am so confused. I don't even know how to organize my thoughts enough to write about it all, but I'm gonna try.

The day of the Cannabis training was a very strange day. In the end, I came home with two vials of Cannabis drops (enough for a month), and a lovely Cannabis cream for more peripheral pain.

The place in Bat yam where we were sent is a psychiatric hospital, which neither of us had ever heard of. Turns out it is a pretty creepy place. I was so glad to have Robert there with me, or I'd have been so spooked.

At the entrance to the hospital parking lot (we drove there), we were asked which department are we going to, and stumbled out an answer, not sure if we should utter the words "medicinal Cannabis". The guard caught drift of our discomfort and offered the answer that perhaps we wanted the Cannabis office? Yup, that's the one, Mr. parking lot guard. He told us to go up there and turn into lot 6 (I actually forgot the number of the lot, but I made it up for continuity, so don't try to go there.).

We got out of the car and approached this office. We waded through psych patients, some begging for a shekel or two. That was creepy enough, but then we noticed that the guard at the office himself looked quite stoned. Honestly. He spoke OK, though, and seemed to know how and where to direct us. And he offered to laminate my Cannabis licence. How nice.

We were then ushered into the counseling office. There was a [quite young] lady there, and as soon as we walked in, heavy pot smoke choked us both. Apparently she had done a demonstration of how to smoke the stuff, and the air hadn't cleared. Whoa- I hadn't smelled that particular smell since... well, for the sake of my Mom and Dad who think I am innocent of anything counter-societal in my whole life, lets just say that it was a strong smell. :)

She showed us how to use the oil drops I was to receive. Got my questions answered.
Then we went to the "store" where they sell the different forms of medical Cannabis (smokables, bongs, vaporizers, oils, creams, hemp oil, etc). It was all so foreign to me.

This was no Superpharm.

It is hard to wrap one's head around, coming from a secular background in the US. But, anyway, I was given my vials of oil drops, and a little pot of cream. Or should that be cream of pot?

We spoke at length with the distributor/cashier in that "store". She seemed to be sure that it is a load of bunk to wait until the dosage of Fentanyl gets lower in order to begin the Cannabis. She said people switch to Cannabis *in order* to ease the weaning process from narcotics. She emphasized the suffering that weaning from narcotics can cause (yeah, familiar with that, aren't we...), and that Cannabis is the best option to ease that suffering. She said that I am on a very low dose at this time, many people start Cannabis while on the highest dose of Fentanyl, specifically, because it is such a beast to wean from.

When we were finally ready to walk out, I was worried about the psych patients milling about, hoping they aren't used to people walking out of that office and sharing their new "goods" with them. I was scared of these guys, and they knew now that I have the stuff. Again, bless Robert's soul for a) being with me, and b) buying one of the begging psych patients a "Crembo"-  which are like American "Mallomars", for two shekels at the snack bar. The psych patient was so happy with his new sweet, and Robert found it endearing.

I got home more confused than I was before going.

We also got home, though, to a problem involving a drug addict!! You aren't going to believe this- (I have so much to write about regarding my dabbling with the Cannabis, but it'll come out in the posts following this one- which is a full post already).

While on the road returning from Tel Aviv, we get a phone call from our next door neighbor. When I saw the name on the screen of my cell phone, I immediately thought it was the woman of the couple who live next door to us. They have a 4-month old baby, and we talk babies a lot.
But no, it was the husband. Strange, he never called me before. Something wrong with the baby and the mom? That was all I thought about, but Robert was nervous.

My neighbor asked if I'm home. I told him we're on the road, nobody's home. He then told me that from his window he can see someone trying to break into my house. He said it was clearly a drug addict, high and wobbling around in a drugged stupor. He was clearly looking for money or anything that could get him some more of whatever it is he was high on. We got really, really nervous, although we knew that it is *really* hard to break into our house, for many reasons.

I hung up with the neighbor and called the police.
Then we waited.
Then I called my neighbor back, no sight of the police, and it looks like the druggie went into our unlocked outdoor storage area. Not much to steal there, but it made me realize that the police wouldn't see him if they came to my property and he was in the shed. So, I called the police back to tell him that my neighbor told me that the suspect is in the storage area. Then the police just wanted my neighbor's phone number- no use talking to me if he is the one with his eyes on the dude.

The I didn't hear anything else. I tried calling the neighbor a few more times, but I hung up when I heard the signal for "call waiting", because I didn't want to interrupt the discussion with the police about where the druggie is.

With my heart in my throat, we turned into our street, half expecting to see our house with police cars parked outside it. (thank Gd the kids weren't home!)

Nothing. We rolled up and parked in front of our house, where we always park, and went straight into the neighbor's house- too worried to go into our yard ourselves. The neighbor pointed out to us that the would-be robber is stoned out of his mind, wobbling around, across the street from our house. I got a sight of him. He was so stoned that he couldn't break into a jack-in-the-box if he tried, let alone our steel-locking doors and impenetrable window bars. It was creepy seeing him wobbling around.

My neighbor said the police came, saw him, and didn't arrest him. He wasn't on our property by then. Instead, they sent an ambulance, which is what this poor guy really needed. The ambulance tried for the good part of an hour trying to convince him to come to the hospital for treatment. He wouldn't go. They literally stayed talking to him for around an hour, and in the end, they gave up. He wandered his way out of our neighborhood, and I haven't seen him since. The police said they were familiar with him, and had reasons not to arrest him.

Drugs can be really abused. It seemed like that whole day, round-trip to Bat Yam, from the minute we drove into the psych hospital, until the minute we were safely back in our home, it was an air of something illicit going on. Just creepy. (btw- we chose not to tell the children about the druggie trying to break in. It didn't need to be told, they'd get scared unnecessarily. They get nightmares from these sorts of stories. Just asking that any of you have have regular contact with my kids please not to mention any of this. And yes, I know for a fact that they do not read my blog.)

Medical Cannabis is NOT illicit. The stigma is clearly still present, though. It is a medicine- it is a natural medicine that Hashem gave the world to make use of. It's just that the use can be abused, like so many other things Hashem has given us in the world, or rather, given us capacity to create in the world He has given us.

Having said that, and having tried it three times so far, I am more confused than ever.
I have an inner voice that consistently tells me to get off all meds. Don't wait until my body adjusts itself to another one. Don't take another type of drug. Be drug free, see how that may feel.

Although I am very confused about the Cannabis (more on that, and how it effected me when I took it the three times, in the next post), I am still clear as day that I am continuing my journey off Fentanyl.
I am still plagued with RLS (restless leg syndrome), insomnia, and in recent days, hardcore pain, unlike I have felt in a long, long time. Last night, though, I got the best night's sleep I have gotten in months.... with one and a half sleeping pills, and a drop of Cannabis under my tongue. Slept from 10pm till 10 am, and was drowsy all day. Brain fog descended. Migraine settled in for the night (I have a respite now because of having taken many Excedrin migraine pills). I still have a headache, and need to close this laptop and try to sleep. I know a drop of Cannabis would help, but I am so confused! I'll explain that soon.

In the meantime, I got an earlier appointment with the orthopedic oncology guys, so I can get an MRI on the right hip. I have a feeling the PVNS spread to there, and perhaps that is why the surgery was thrown off this passed summer and never happened. I feel intuitively that my right hip was not operated on at that point, in July, (why the surgery was thwarted while I lay on the operating table prepped and with a gas mask on my face, seconds away from being completely anesthetized, is here.) because we didn't have all the information. That hip has become increasingly painful, on Friday I could barely shuffle around my house my hips (both) hurt so much.

So, I asked for an earlier appointment, and got one. That easy. Sometimes ya gotta fight, and sometimes the universe makes things easier for you. I'm going to them (in Ichilov hospital) next Sunday (a week from tomorrow), come home with an MRI referral, then go back a month later to discuss results. At least, that is the plan now.

As has happened so often since I had NF, I am having another foreboding feeling that I'm going to wind up in the hospital again some time soon. I have this feeling on such a regular basis, you wouldn't believe it. I never talk about it because I know it is the PTSD speaking. I had hidden thoughts that I'd be in the hospital during Purim, and although I was having breathing problems and chest pains (which I chalked up to stress), I stayed home, and we had a *wonderful* Purim!! Here are a few costumes (only Ya'akov's is missing, he was floating around, couldn't catch a pic of him wearing a train engineers hat):
me & Robert, he was King Achashverosh in
the Purim "spiel" or musical production,
that our community puts on each year.

If you can guess what I am, then you are, also!
(hint- the word taped onto my tummy is "highly",
and, what other costume-y sort of thing do I have on?
A cloak, perhaps? What else may a cloak be called?

Smiles drawn on his face, and his real smile.

Dov is very into the deep, philosophical, uplifting
stories and way of life of Rav Nachman. Here he
sort of dressed with a Nachman kippa on, home-made.

Robert and his cousin Howard
 (who was Haman in the spiel)

My deadly leopard

Robin Hood... hand sewn costume by his very own hands!!!

Taking down the next Fentanyl dose tomorrow evening (Sunday).... Gd protect me! I will then officially be down to 25. This, of course, does not take into account that the actual drug levels in my body aren't yet lower. That takes much longer.


  1. Hang in there. We are all rooting for you. Sending you hugs to give you extra koach.

  2. Love you very much, pray, hope and don't worry. . I hope the medicine gives healing. . You are loved. . You are not alone, help is on the way...

  3. I'm glad Robert was with you. and I'm glad that you slept well the other day. I hope the hard core pain is very temporry. Fascinating post.

  4. I sense a screenplay developing...

  5. Still with you on this journey. Sending love and support this week with the lowered dose.

    1. Thank you my dear friend. I appreciate your support through thick and thin!

  6. hope you are doing a little better today! I guess the stories will be written up for your book. positive thoughts, tefilla, and love , should be with you in the coming days and weeks. you are in my daily tefillot. refua shlaima.

  7. Kol hakavod on your steadfast lowering your dose! And i admire your ability to maneuver thru the medical maze.
    Your purim pictures are great.

  8. Oh my... What a trip Sarah, what a combination of stories.
    Thanks for sharing.
    What can I say to you: I hope from the bottom of my heart that whatever you do for yourself brings you a more livable and pain-free life.
    Much love my friend

  9. Sarah, your blog about your adventures into the world of Canabis was brilliant. Your description of the day--beginning and end--had me savoring every word.

    You also made me curious about how the drug is affecting you. So I'm curious about what side-effects you have. Does it change your moods, or increase (or decrease) the feeling of foreboding you mentioned about the PVNS? Does it help you to stay calm and manage the stress? Do you know if the various ways it can be administered produce the same effects as smoking it? This is all so new to me that I'm really curious. All I've ever heard about are the cigarettes and the pills. I'm especially interested in the cream--it makes me wonder if it might help my pain from the spinal stenosis (any thoughts?) And most of all, I'm hoping and praying that it helps you over the horrible rough patches that lowering the Fentanyl. What your "Cannabis trainer" said about that was fascinating, and it makes a lot of sense. G-d willing, you'll have an easier time of it.

    And the irony of the drug addict hitting your house on that particular day was classic! Because it ended up not causing any harm to you, or the kids, or your beautiful house, or to the guy, there's some dark humor to the timing. Can you find something to laugh about with that?

    Love to you all,

  10. I think most western countries barely regard cannabis as illegal anymore so I you don't need go feel like you are doing something illicit. I hope it works.

    1. I don't personally feel it us illicit at all. It is medicine. But the place where I picked it up sure was creepy. The psych patients milling about didn't help, either. Somehow, though, I do see that it has a different status than the other pain control meds I've used. When you can buy it openly at Superpharm, then we will know that it broke through the unspoken boundary.