Undoing the Damage, Piece by Piece


Two milligrams of Valium does not equal .5 of Xanax, so once I started the Valium, I went into withdrawal. I figured this out by myself, surfing some questionable sites for people who are deliberately hooked on Benzos and therefore have vast pharmaceutical knowledge of their drugs of choice. Five mg of Valium are equivalent to .25 of Xanax, so it was too big a drop. After consulting with my PCP, I have shifted to .25 of Xanax and will do that for 1-2 weeks, then .125 for a week, then off. There is agreement that withdrawing from Benzos is harder than withdrawing from opioids/narcotics. Fabulous.

At the same time, I’m cutting the Plaquenil and will be off it in another day or so. Plaquenil, I found out, is a fluoroquinolone antimicrobial. It is in the same antisocial family as Levequin and Cipro, which are antibiotics originally designed to treat Anthrax, but tossed about like candy by several docs in my little town for things like sinus infections and “stop telling me you are still sick” syndrome. Cipro and Levaquin both carry a risk of spontaneous rupture of the Achilles tendon (so be doubly aware if you have EDS and flawed tendons to begin with) and a host of other alarming side effects. Levaquin has caused my heart rhythm to develop something called a Long Q-T, which is bad.

There appears to be little reason to abuse Plaquenil, so information on how to go off it is harder to find. It appears you can just stop taking it. I cut from 400 mg to 350 mg of my dose the night before last and last night cut to 200 mg. I’ll cut to half that tonight and then be done with it. If I feel any struggle, I’ll just add a daily gin and tonic to get the quinine from the tonic water. Just kidding. Mostly.

With both drugs, I can expect an increase or flare in joint pain and possibly nerve pain. I’ve having more little pricks and stabs now and then, and my joints are not at their best by any stretch. Yesterday I was nauseated all day, with zero interest in food. I ate, finally, at dinnertime, a bowl of rice noodles. So, nothingness to chew on. I made iced Detox tea all day and switched to a cup of hot Valerian tea at bedtime. I had wine. I have also managed to sleep both nights straight through. I’m moody and irritable. Yes, in a way different from normal. I had a hard time focusing, and a sense of dread/sadness/emptiness. All withdrawal symptoms. I worked on my quilt because it is my Imperfection Project and doesn’t require a lot of thought but keeps me busy and makes me feel like I’m not just sitting around wasting time.

If I can, I will decide on one glass of wine to phase out. Either the “with dinner,” the “after dinner” or the “bedtime” glass. But right now I am putting my body through a lot, so just keeping out of the “whole bottle” zone is enough. I’m hoping that I can maybe replace that bedtime glass with the Valerian tea and if it works go to the hippie store and get a tincture so I really know how much I’m taking and how effective it is.

If I could have today without nausea, I’d be able to be happy with that.

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