Because of my fucked up bad back, several years ago, my doctor put me on a daily regimen of Vicodin. Was I OK with that? Fuck yes. I like Vicodin and Vicodin likes me. I eat a bunch, climb in bed to float off to Vicodinland and Saki gets to sleep on my limp, but still breathing corpse. Everybody wins.
Then, about a month ago, my doctor’s associate said he needed to talk to me about my dosage. I had been bracing myself for this. Over the last couple of years, the federal government has been expressing a frowny sort of attitude towards opiates; apparently the death rate among teenage hillbillies was skyrocketing as they munched their way through Mawmaw’s medicare supplied dope. Personally, I think white trash doper kids OD-ing before they’re able to pass on their stupidity genes is nothing to fret about, but you let loose that opinion and people get all “Dr Mengle-y.” Anyway.
So I had to go chat pills and dolls and such. Turns out I was supposed to be taking 8 – 10 a day and I was averaging more like 14. I tried explaining I regarded the numbers on the jars as suggestions rather than absolutes, but nobody was really having it. I was sort of expecting a stern “ease up on the gas, girl” talk and while there was elements of that, the doctor was mostly interested in moving me off the Vikeys.
His first suggestion, interestingly, was time release Methadone. I must have looked as startled as I felt since he hurriedly assured me it was a pain reliever. I nevertheless declined and so we moved on through a number of other interesting options such as Oxycodone (in case I wanted to get more in touch with the hillbilly fiends, I suppose) or extended release Morphine. I stopped him there mostly because I was starting to be afraid the menu might turn out to include heroin if we continued on and I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear about chasing the dragon as part of my health regime.
Feeling like sort of like some Victorian Lady, I took my first dose, with firm instructions to Secret Agent Fred about which emergency room I preferred. Step one: I felt great. Step two: I couldn’t poop. Step three: I itched everywhere, all the time. Turns out I am allergic to Morphine.
Since that wasn’t working out, I reluctantly turned to the Oxycodon. It just seems so trashy. Also, it didn’t work. At all. I could have just as well have been eating Skittles. After a few days of achy back and a punched-in-the-gut feeling, I decided to go back to the feelin’ great-ness of Morphine. I thought I would just power through the constipation. Oddly enough, that is not a thing.
A few poop free days of feeling sort of sick to my stomach, but gloriously sans pain, Monday afternoon, I started vomiting with a volume, explosiveness, and general exuberance that would have been impressive If I weren’t at the delivery end of things.
Off to the E.R., one I had been to many times with R Man and which I had always been impressed with. Now that it was my turn, no such luck. The triage nurse couldn’t have expressed her disdain more clearly if she had stamped “JUNKIE” on my forehead. I kept trying to explain neither the Morphine nor the Oxy was my idea. Nobody cared.
Four and half hours dry heaving in the waiting room gave way, finally, to a very cute doctor who casually explained I was having a reaction to both drugs and since they were both time release forms, I was going to be sick for a while. See ya.
Since I am burdened with HIV, I am leary of hospitals as it is, regarding them as nothing more than big petri dishes of infection waiting to happen. Sure enough the patient in the cubicle next to me, who insisted on informing anyone who passed by that she, too, was a nurse, turned out to have contracted drug resistant E Coli. I had never even heard of it, but it raised what little hair I have left, especially since the only thing dividing us was a set of curtains that looked like they came from Pottery Barn and my steely resolve not to make eye contact. The fact she got the same shitty treatment I did was only slightly comforting.
Now I’m home. off Morphine and Oxycontin and wondering if I should have held out for heroin.