Saturday, July 30, 2005

personal implosion

Well, I guess the good news is that I didn't die. Last post, I was happily poolside, bemoaning the pending sale of my first home. Not really bemoaning, just reflecting on the chimeric (a word?) nature of my life and times. Then, unannounced, unpredictably, there boiled a problem of surgical proportion....

It was a dark and stormy night. It wasn't. It was a fine day and my stomach began to ache.

Its funny -- I don't know if it is because I called in sick too many days at work, or played hooky too many schooldays, but any time I get sick, I just feel wrong and guilty. I am rarely able to assess my situation for what it is and go on home. I just keep working. And the problem now is that when I am at work, I am many, many miles from home or help. So, by the time it dawned on my that the ache was indeed a problem, I was shit outta luck and rush hour was on in Tigard. Me in my little Subaru, I pushed homeward through the pain.

I am so dramatic. But it hurt freakin' bad. By the time I got home, it was pretty clear that something serious was happening to my one and only bod. A call to the doctor confirmed my assessment and we were off to the hospital.

A ruptured appendix. Four days in Providence and three more scars. Its a collection now.

Notable events: Kitty the night nurse. What is it about night shift workers? I mean really. This biatch was so mean. She was more committed to my exercise program 4 hours out of surgery than Oprah's personal trainer. It was midnight for God's sake. Midnight in the hospital, me -- cut "from asshole to brisket" as my sainted grandmother used to say-- and Kitty was on duty.

I have had somewhat of a revelation about pain medication. And with my various surgeries and related and unrelated narcotic expertise, I think I would know. So, here it is (you might want to write this down) : It doesn't matter what you take as long as you like it. Nothing really works. Some just make you feel a little happier.

They started me off with morphine, which I hate, except that it was the impetus for the Stones' song, Sister Morphine, which I love, and it always looks like fun in the old confederate soldier movies on the battlefield. But it isn't fun at all. I read an article by (speaking of the Stones) Keith Richards, bemoaning (my word for the day) the absence of drugs that make you feel good. (A complaint aimed primarily at Prozac and other buzz-less substitutes for good ol' narcotics.) At any rate, there I was, armload of morphine and ... story of my life, it is not enough. When I have said this at various times during my drug-inspired life, I have been lying, but NOT THIS TIME. shit it hurt. So they gave me more. But that's the thing with morphine. There is not enough. It never feels good. And I guess I'd have to admit here that feeling good is in large part my goal. To not feel bad.

So we moved on to dilaudid (pronounced by many: dilotta). Now historically, this one has been on my hit list for years. My list of favorite all-time drugs. But that was back in the shootin' days. I remember selling them at a local bar (they used to bring 25 bucks apiece), and offering one to Jesse the Fly Fisherman. I said, "Hey. You want to buy a dilotta?" He said, "Dilotta? Is that like a buritto?" I said, "Yeah, only more expensive. A dilotta bell-grande." Poor Jesse. He had really long hair but really wasn't in the same junkie groove as the rest of us. Anyway, prior to this hospitalization, I don't think I had ever actually taken dilaudid by mouth. Pretty sure not, or I wouldn't have been so happy with their second choice. It made me mad as a hatter. Madness, not anger, tinged with agitation and verbosity. You can imagine. Anyway, they sent me home with sixty (count 'em) dilaudid, and like a good junkie, I took them as ordered for about 24 hours and finally figured out they were making me insane. Then we flushed them down the sink. 25 bucks apiece. I don't care how long you been clean... that hurts.

So I called the doctor back and said they were too strong. And this is the point of my story. We addicts DO recover. Was a time when the notion of a drug that was "too strong" did not exist for me. The closer I could push myself, my body, to that perfect edge where death meets life, the more successful I felt. The near-death experience was my goal. Daily. So, I backed up to vicodin, which I can take or leave, which makes me a little bit happy, and takes pretty good care of the pain.

And that's the story of july 21-29 in my life. I'm home, in pain, and healing.

There has been a firm offer on my house. And counter offers coming in. Whoopee. It is going to sell.


asia said...

Wow, that is scary. Glad to hear that you are all right. $25 bucks a piece adjusted for inflation?? That does hurt.

I guess you should hear it from me, I made an angry post about pitbulls. Sid is beautiful and has never given me the pitbullcreeps but I had to vent nonetheless.

a. said...

Glad to hear you caught it in time. Rest. IMHO, that's the active ingredient in healing. ;)

I've have a surgery scheduled for the end of the month, neck and elbow. It's been a long time coming so I'm ready for it. Accuse me of being attached, but I'm rather fond on my right arm.