Sunday, March 2, 2008

Confessions of a morphine junkie

Perhaps Nancy Reagan was right. If someone offers you drugs, "Just say 'no', then go and tell someone you trust."

Of course, this is not what I did. I said, "Bring it on!" and became a morphine junkie within mere hours.

When I woke up from my jaw surgery, I was hooked up to an IV, attached to which were lines for fluids, antibiotics and morphine. The nurse soon told me that I was the one who would get to control the morphine flow. There was a little button that I could press anytime I felt too much pain, and that would release morphine into my veins.

Well, now, this was going to be fun. I quickly fell in love with my morphine dispenser. I named him George, cuddled him and considered leaving my boyfriend for him.

Oh, George. We were meant to be together.
Let us never part.

Anytime there was even a smidgeon of pain, I pressed George's button religiously. Hey, he was there, right? And who wants to feel pain, anyway? Plus, it felt goooooooood.

But, as with anything gooooooooood, there were some downsides to my relationship with George.

Take, for instance, one of the big things that we take for granted: going to the bathroom.

The first time I had to pee after my surgery, I went into the bathroom and sat there for a really long time, trying to pee. I knew I had to go, but it wouldn't come out. I ended up having to push it out in spurts for about 40 minutes until I was done. (Too much information, I know.)

When I saw the nurse next, I told her about the peeing drama and said, "That was really creepy. What the heck was up with that?"

She explained that it was one of the side-effects of the morphine - inability to control the bladder sphincter. Nice. But that wasn't enough to make me give up my love affair with George, that's for sure. So it would take me a bit longer to pee. So what?

But it got more interesting. One night, I felt like I was peeing, though I was pretty sure I wasn't. So, I dragged myself out of bed and went to the bathroom, sitting there for another 40 minutes until I was done, then went back to bed and passed out.

The next day, I went to the bathroom for another 30 minutes (I was getting a bit better at it by this time) and looked down at the floor. There was what looked like dried pee on the floor in front of the toilet. I stared at it and tried to figure out how it had gotten there and who it could possibly belong to. I had visions of some creepy old man breaking into my private room with the express purpose of peeing on my bathroom floor.

When I got out of the bathroom, I saw one of the nurses take the disposable pad off my bed and say discreetly, "I'll just change this for you."

Hmmm. Okay. Well, that's nice of her, I guess. I went back to bed. Later, I noticed a few nurses get a bucket and discreetly mop up the bathroom floor. "There's some pee on the floor," one whispered. They discreetly looked at me and then looked away.

Why are they looking at me? I thought. It's not like it's my pee or anything. Why should I be embarrassed?

I was still working on my creepy old man theory. But I couldn't figure out how the old man had managed to pee on the pad I was lying on without me waking up to see him. I guess it was my pee after all. Unless....maybe it was aliens!!

Probably not. But it's a theory I was willing to investigate further.

A day later, the nurses told me they had to start taking me off the morphine.

"But I need him!" I exclaimed.

They explained that I had to go home soon, and I couldn't take George with me, so I had to learn to manage the pain without him.

Nooooo. Please don't take George away! We love each other!

As you can see, I was very upset about this new development. I alternated between trying to cut back and pushing George's button for "old time's sake."

However, as I cut back, I began to realize how much of a junkie I'd become. Sure, I liked George and all, but I didn't need him, like I had previously thought. Also, the less I relied on George, the easier it was to pee, and that was no small mercy, because my stomach muscles were killing me from all that effort. (Another thing about George that I realized later on: when you're on morphine, you no longer poo. It took me five days before I could go again. Now that's creepy.)

Clearly, this was a co-dependent relationship and I needed to get out. I asked the nurse to remove the IV.

"Are you sure?" she asked. "If I take it out, you can't have any more morphine."

"Yes, I'm sure. George and I are through."

It was nice while it lasted, George, but eventually, we all have to return to the real world.

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

Bahaha. This blog is cracking me up. I never got to be a morphine junkie, but I did get a Demerol drip which was totally worth what ever unspeakable things they did to my face when I was under.

My day consists of sleeping, eating, and as you so eloquently wrote- getting stoned. Except for the creepy banded shut feeling- I was made for this.

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