[Ibogaine] getting to the jungle

Pettula Iboga pettulaiboga at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 28 18:08:40 EDT 2008


Dear Teachers,
     I have been an opiate addict for twenty five years, starting with oral oxycodone and then progressing to IM/IV morphine and dilaudid.  My journey started many years ago at the ripe age of fourteen with the usual gateway drugs of EtOH and weed.  My addiction grew stronger during my college years, although I did not consider myself in trouble at that point.  Even though my initial goal of becoming a medical doctor was sideswiped by drugs, I thought I did not have a problem. I experimented with many types of drugs in college, but never had the chance to try opiates.  I even had an internship injecting rats with cocaine, studying the effects of cocaine sensitization on the neurotransmitters.  Yes, I even feel ashamed to say that I risked everything by
 diverting pharmaceutical cocaine for my own use.  Still, I had no problem.  This was during the seventies when it was 'cool' to snort cocaine, especially pure pharm. cocaine.  I was only having fun.  I didn't see the train barreling down the tracks toward me, even though I was standing directly on the tracks.  I managed to graduate with a bachelors degree with above average grades, but it was quite a fall from grace from the grades I had in high school.  Of course, my grades were not high enough to even consider medical school, so I pursued other career choices: tending bar at night and selling encyclopedias during the day.  I felt like a failure. I had always been an overachiever and perfectionist and couldn't quite understand why the last four years seemed to be out of control.  I still couldn't connect the dots.  Alcohol numbed the pain.  Then one day, someone gave me a Percocet.  They had been around alot during my college years, but I
 never had any urge to even try one, despite a room=mate who used to tell of her love affair with them.  Twenty minutes after I swallowed two Percocets, I fell in love......with myself and everyone else who I ran into. All my cares and worries seemed to fade away, like the memories of a bad dream. I finally felt normal and well....no depression, no anxiety, no shame, no worry....just vast amounts of pure energy and love....unconditional love for even the stranger on the street...Oh, I thought, if only the whole world could partake of these wonderful pills!  Despite the wonder of the moment, you all know the punch line.....I continued to chase the dragon, trying to get that same feeling back again.  I just didn't know why it wouldn't return.  Oh sure, I'm not going to say that it wasn't still wonderful, but nothing like that first month, when my neurons were firing like celebratory fireworks.   Fast forward six years.....I finally realized I had a
 problem.  Denial can be such a friend at times, or should I say an enemy who looks like a friend.   By this time I was doing twenty to thirty pills a day and surprized I still had a liver left.  Most of my money was spent on maintaining my habit, and I must say that it was a hell of a job to work hard enough to support that damn monkey!  I thank God that I was always able to work and despite all, never had a run on the wrong side of the law,  but I couldn't stand it anymore and couldn't stand myself so I tried the geographical cure.  
     I moved across the country and with the support of family and friends I was able to restrain that ape on my back.  Like any of you who have been where I was, you know that it was a difficult road, made a little more bumpier by the deaths of my three closest family members in a year time span.  Depression became a constant companion and when I couldn't stand my emotional grief any longer, I called out to my old lover.  Of course, he was there for me, and took me back with no questions asked.  After a month long relapse that cost me my inheritance, I refocused my mind and came up with a plan to end all plans!  I decided to become a registered nurse!  Oh what an idea. You see, everytime I would go into a hospital and see the doctors I felt as if I was lacking; that I was a failure; that I had not finished what I had started.  I mean, come on, who graduates with a pre-med degree then doesn't go on to medical school.  That degree alone, without the
 post-graduate work, says it all: FAILURE!  I thank God that I was able to convince the director of my college to accept the credits I had earned in pre-med as the required credits for a biology degree.  At least I could look like less of a failure and a 'not-finish-what-you-start' person.  Well, let's get back to my 'plan'.....I would get my degree in nursing and then work as a clinical nurse for one year, after which I would take an internship in critical care, then work in the CCU for a year, after which I would go back to school for a nurse anaesthetist.   Then I would have the career of my dreams, challenging my brain constantly, with just enough pressure to prevent boredom and just the right amount of bucks to live comfortable enough.  Sound good? I thought so.  Is this where the denial was my frenemy?  I still didn't get it.
      Fast forward...two years....graduated top of my class....all A's except for one B of which I missed an A by one damn point, and don't think that I didn't fight to try to get that turned into an A....remember, one of my positive personality traits is my perfectionistic compulsion to do well in my jobs and schooling .... and my ability to be very humble.....Did I say 'humble'?  Maybe I meant 'Rumble'....or 'Bumble'....or whatever.  Like I said....I still didn't get it.   But I did get that I needed a nursing job and applied for an oncology staff nurse position.  I said ONCOLOGY nurse.  Yes, that's right, that's someone who has easy access to large amounts of narcotics.  Large, Large, LARGE AMOUNTS!  I must have been crazy.  I don't have to tell you the next scene...yes, I developed quite a habit.  Syringes and narcotics were never in short supply.  For the next nine years I maintained an opiate addiction while working first in oncology nursing, then
 in critical care.  I became an expert in my field, presenting at seminars, being nominated as 'nurse of the year',  respected by the physicians as someone to go to if they needed help with selecting the proper pain medications and dosing schedule for their patients, and receiving kudos and thanks from many patients and families for my compassionate care.  My patients were never in pain.  So what if I used megadoses of narcotics.....I would never let a patient suffer because of my sickness.  Thats how many nurses get caught diverting...by underdosing their patients and taking that  dose for themselves while giving the patient something like phenergan or benedryl.  I know I was sick and there are those of you who would say, "how can you say you were a good nurse when you were high every day?", but I tell you I WAS caring and compassionate.  I think I even went overboard with their care because I felt such quilt about the fact that they had a nurse addict
 for the shift.   So I would do little things...like make a milkshake, or give a shampoo, or have a surprize wedding anniversary in the room of a dying spouse.  Yearly work reviews and customer letters confirmed my record. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I must say, that I tried my best to be the best nurse my patients could have.......but still......I was addicted.....and addicted badly....to an old lover who was now starting to look like the devil.  And I feel guilt....guilt for the fact that I was using substances that I shouldn't have been using while taking care of suffering souls.
      After eight years with this ape on my back...who now had become an obese gorilla...things started to unravel.  My life consisted of ....,well, you know what....I was sick till I could hit that golden Pyxis machine.  I didn't tell you that I did end up going through a critical care internship program and was working in coronary care or medical-surgical intensive care.  I made that move with kind of the same reasoning as a 'geographical cure', that I wouldn't have as easy access.  That was sure correct.  I went from being able to get 200mg iv mso4 to 2mg iv mso4 at a time. So what do you think I did?  Dropped?  Stopped?  Copped?  C is correct.  I ended up buying methadone on the street to I could keep that damn ape at bay.  Now to make a long story shorter, I got sloppy after eight years because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Through the years, I had been what I like to think of as an 'intellectual junkie'....I was well read on signs
 and symptoms to look for in a nurse addict, what to watch out for to catch a diverting nurse, how to deal with observed urine tests, etc., etc., etc., etc.  So I knew what types of programs would be offered by way of the intervention project for professional nurses.  In fact, when I was called in by the unit manager, I had to tell her who to call, as far as the professional organizations go.  I got caught by leaving a broken ampule, and should I say empty, in the locked narcotic drawer, with the computer having record of who was last in.  Like I said, I wanted help.  My nurse manager knew so little about impaired professionals, that she had pulled me aside three prior times in the past year to question some descrepancies but never had even asked me to take a drug test.  I couldn't believe it....there were all these bright RED FLAGS all over the place and it was like they all wanted to ignore it.  With some studies putting the addiction rate as high as
 twenty percent in medical professionals {in nursing school I did a term paper on impaired nurses}, it always amazed me that mandatory random testing is not done.  I really wish it would have been for me.  I could have gotten help a lot sooner. 
      Finally, I felt relieved that I would get help.  Help came in the form of seven day in house treatment, at the hospital that I worked at, mind you, so you know how confidential that was....,followed by four weeks of out-patient night therapy.  After five weeks I returned to work, monitored by the intervention project, with random urines, and no access to narcotics.  I did well for a year and a half.  Some nurses supported me and others felt as if they could no longer trust me.  I coped by attending groups and focusing my energy again on my work.  Did I say I did well for a year and a half?  Well, what I mean by that is that I still was working...My initial detox was not sufficient enough and by the time I had gone seven days without sleep I was ready to pull my skin off.  You see, I had developed quite a methadone dependence in addition to my morphine habit and while I was in the initial seven day detox I was given Klonopin and Clonodine, so I
 didn't really feel that bad in the hospital.   But when I got out.......oh, what a different story!  It was horrible....I called up my intervention project for some help and all they could say was, "stop the Klonopin and clonodine now, just take hot baths".   Hot baths?  FUCK BATHS!  They can only work so far and I 'm quite a wimp when it comes to any discomfort. I prayed for strength but  was ready to jump off the empire state building after that week without sleep.  So, being the strong women I am......I said to myself, "I just need to sleep for one night, please God, give me one night of relief."  I still didn't get it.....there is no one night for me with my lover...so began the next chapter of my journey....
       Fast forward one and one half years.....even though I had no official access to the unit narcotics, I still had access to the unit's 'unofficial' narcotics.  So, despite random observed urine tests, I managed to stay 'clean' on the books for that time.   Oh, what energy that took! I'll never forget the one day while working in CCU when I was called by the project nurses to immediately submit an observed urine test to this off-campus facility.  So I do what I need to do, then run to the lab, drop the urine, drive back to work, run up to the unit, where by the way we were short-staffed that day and all the nurses were pissed that I had to leave, then I immediately get a call from occupational health to come downstairs to drop a urine.  "What is going on?", I ask.  The occ. nurse says that a syringe of PCP was found in the locker room last night.  I tell her that I never did that shit and how could anyone even work while on that....people get crazy
 on that, I tell her, but no matter, because I am the admitted drug addict, I am immediately blamed.  No one else was even tested!  I came back clean because they only tested for PCP in that instance, thank God!  But my next time would not be so lucky......I get a call one day from occ. health and they say I had a dirty urine......dirty with Ultram....Ultram?, I say, "I never even took that in my life. What is it?', I ask.   Non-scheduled, but I had no script for it...so I lost my job.  It is ironic that I was dirty with something I never took, but the fact remains that I was truly dirty with other things and so I never objected to it.   It was Gods wish and the journey was mine to take the way it was planned.
      Next phase....more docs, more meetings, more plans....big plan from IPN...in house residential treatment for six months in order to keep my cherished license.  That was a real hard one for me to swallow.  Probably the best but then, at that time, I no longer had health insurance since it was connected to my job.  Sure, I was offered COBRA, but did you ever hear what kind of rates they quote?   It was 1400 dollars a month for the family plan...kindof hard since I no longer was in the employ of the hospital or anyone else.   So after much thought, I decide to go on methadone.  What an idea that was.
       Now, ten years later, still on 200mg of methadone per day, I cannot believe that the last years have flown so fast.  I guess you can say I am stable....stable home, stable job, stable finances, stable family, husband and two kids, three dogs and one cat, and one rabbit.  My depression has been stable also.  I can cope with it now.  In these last ten years I have maintained clean drug tests, except for weed, that which they used to not test for until four years ago.  So I lost my two weeks of take-homes and have only gotten back to three a week.  No reason why I am on not more, except once every six months I test positive for weed.  I rarely smoke, in fact, I have not smoked in the last eight weeks now.  I no longer like the fact that I am maintained on methadone, not that I ever liked it, but now it is really bothering me.  Changes at the clinic with administration has really restricted my movement.  Instead of getting less restrictive, it is
 getting more.  The doctor changed and now we have a doc who doesn't even know what ibogaine is.  After ten years there and never ever having trouble gettin travel doses,  I now find it difficult with this new doc.  But this all aside, it is only worth mentioning because of this misery and a few things they did to piss me off, that is the reason I am ready to take my next step.
      I was so mad one day after I was refused doses, that prevented me from traveling on a school field trip with my daughter, who does not understand even what my sickness is or that I am on meth,  that I started to look in my file cabinet for some papers.  There I came across an old article from 1998 that I had put aside.  This was an article written by Howard L.,  It was written to NAMA about ibogaine.  That started my search.  And here I am.
      I thank God for my addiction because I have grown spiritually in the last ten years, that I feel I would not have done without my addiction.   I have searched for the 'cure'.  I have studied all I can about everything from psychopharmacology to Christianity to black holes.  I feel like I am so close to the discovery of something amazing and that wonderful changes are in the future.  I talk to God throughout the day and he has become my lover.  I am ready....ready to get off the methadone...ready to find a new path....ready to start a new journey.  For the last six months I have been reading all I can about ibogaine, listening to audio clips of Dominic, Howard, Patrick and others. I have been so energized by the thought of ibogaine.  A while back, I started getting this intense feeling like I wanted to experience a NDE.  When I learned that ibogaine induces the same type of chemical cascade that resembles a NDE, then I knew that the burning desire
 which I felt in the depths of my soul was the desire to be able to experience the wonder of eboga.  I truly have feeling that God has told me that this is the next step for me.  I have been trying to work on me. I had one set back, though. In September '07 I had a severe dog bite on  my hand requiring a skin graft.  At that time my BP shot up to 210/110.  I have gotten it under control since then by losing weight and restricting CHO's but at times it it still at 170/90.  I was so distressed that this might restrict me from being able to take ibogaine, that I am planning on losing 25 to 40 pounds, exercising, taking supplements to aid in controlling my BP and continue with the most important part....God support.  I did have a full set of blood work, EKG, CXR,for my surgery in October and that was all normal.   I am 48 years old, without any other health problems that I know about.  I weigh 150 pounds at 5'3".  But like I said, I have a target weight of
 110 pounds. 
       What I would like of the group is this.... First of all, I a new and I hope that I have not offended anyone by doing anything wrong, or otherwise.  I am not sure of group ettiquette or what to ask whom, etc.  I am not computer savy, have always been the last to learn the technical stuff in school, work, etc.  I am an artist and scientist.  That is how I describe myself.  My family of origin comes from the Prekmurge area of Slovenia, they were Wendish, so I even felt that possibly maybe I am supposed to go 'home' to my ancestors for treatment.  I am married with two younger children so on one hand I am fearful of going to far from the USA, but if it is needed, I will.  Even though I have been working, I am not rich and am without insurance.  My methadone costs 77 dollars a week, so I can take that into consideration.  I need some help on how I can get help.  If I can stay the closest to home, then that is preferrable.  I have heard that some
 suggest two doses spaced two days apart to treat methadone dependence.  Is there anyway I can find treatment in an urban area?   Is myBP an issue?  Is the Ibogaine Assosciation a good place to go?  Any positive experiences from anyone in Slovenia or Canada?  Does Dr. Mash have any study protocols going on in Miami maybe at a discounted cost? Any info from Anyone would be greatly appreciated.  
      Also, one more thing,  I feel that the future holds for me something BIG....is the BIG the
journey to the jungle and then the spreading of the positive results with all the world.  My background could be benefitial in some way in this field?
      Forgive me if this is too long and too wordy, but you didn't have to read it.  Forgive me if my grammer is not correct or spelling is bad.....I just didn't care for it in this document.  Also, one more thing....is all confidential?   I don't want the world to know my name.
      Thank you all for your time.
      Pettula 






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