Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Prescription Drug Free Zone

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that close to fifty percent of us take one prescription drug or more per month. That’s a heaping helping of perfectly legal drug use. Of course, many of these drugs are necessary and, in some instances, lifesavers. But exactly what percentage of the prescription drug-user population would be better off not taking them? I don’t really know, but would hazard a guess that it’s a not inconsiderable number.

During an unexpected and unwanted month-long hospital stay some four years ago, I was infused with all sorts of drugs, gradually getting weaned off of them as I recovered from a blood clot gone seriously awry. I left this Shangri-La with only one prescription on my person: for Percocet, an opiate painkiller. In the hospital, these benign-looking white tablets furnished me with my only warm and fuzzy interludes, short-lived as they were. The very same meds worked their magic the first couple of weeks after I returned home, too. The percs were my good buddies during very painful times. However, by the end of my first month in hearth and home—while still in pretty bad pain—the aforementioned warm and fuzzy interludes had gotten noticeably less warm and less fuzzy, and were accompanied by a nasty constipation on top of that. Shortly thereafter, even minimal relief from the pain disappeared altogether, but not that darn constipation, which tightened its grip on me.

There was little point in my continuing with this narcotic painkiller, which was no longer working for me. I didn’t cry out to my doctor for an alternative, either, and thus one was never offered. The epic constipation had, if nothing else, at least taken my mind off the phantom pains shooting through my missing body part with varying degrees of intensity. With the assistance of a cocoa-tasting, rabbit-food resembling product called Senekot, the brave soldier that I am grinned and bared the pain. Fortunately for me, I healed extraordinarily well with no cancer, diabetes, or any such thing to hinder my recovery. The phantoms of the night eventually left me alone, although they do reappear every now and again just to remind me of what was and can be again.

When I hear about people being addicted to the likes of Percocet and OxyContin—and the amounts that they consume, and must increasingly consume, to achieve their desired highs—it boggles my mind. Percocets may have been my foul-weather friends during life's lowest ebb, but they turned on me real fast, and I hope never to meet their acquaintance again. 

1 comment:

  1. Me too! Prescription drugs are scary ... the use is rampant here in France too, maybe even more so. Scary. Like we don't need to feel life, like we need to be anesthetized against it. I won't go all conspiracy-theory on you, but it makes me wonder... Viva la freedom! :-)


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