I wonder many times about the ill effects of each and every illicit drug sold on street corners and internet sites. Then I wonder the same about the ones that are prescribed to us. I have a story I would like to share and I hope that it will inspire some of you to comment and share some similar experiences. I won’t even lie, this story is about me, not some “friend” or nameless individual.
In 2001 I was riding home with my (then) girlfriend from a nice dinner in a waterfront town. We obediently stopped at a bright red traffic light. Then we saw bright lights behind us. Those lights belonged to a drunk driver in an SUV who was, apparently, not so obedient towards the red light.
He collided full speed into us (who were at a dead stop – no pun) the little Mistubishi was a mass of junk metal. My mouth wasn’t working. I was taken to the ER and they fixed my jaw which had been badly busted in the accident. They referred me to an Oral Surgeon.
I went to the OS and he was super-de-duper-nice. He examined me, prescribed physical therapy and gave me Endocet, a generic form of the celebrity Percocet. The drugs eased my pain and I began to look forward to taking them each night. Each morning. At lunch. Then when I was bored. Needless to say, my “pain relief” got a bit out of hand. I told the doctor what was happening and he said that, although they were addictive, if you wanted to stop, you’d feel like crap for a dy or so, then be back to tip-top shape in no time. I was pleased. He handed me another script.
And so it went until 2005. This was the year that I became a strong believer in angels. I was, again, passenger in a car headed down to South Jersey so we could help a friend move. I was reading a magazine, then looked up to see a van with its hazards on STOPPED in the left lane of the NJ Turnpike. What happened next I don’t know. All I know is that I awoke in a furry haze of giddy numbness to a throng on onlookers asking “Is he dead?” Soon I realized they meant me. I was wrapped in metal and covered in blood. A super Paramedic with a very concerned look on his face was stabilizing my head and trying to keep me from dying. I haven’t told my family this, but I was resuscitated at the scene because I had no heartbeat. I was dead for a bit. Wild.
I came to and began a long rehabilitation process which involved consistent pain management. the pain management clinic gave me more Percocet – the strongest one available. I had to take it to stop the pain and be functional, after my teeth were all reconstructed – they were shattered in the accident.
Now comes the critical mass of where medicine can force and addiction on a patient and cause more harm than good. I couldn’t go a day without my pills and if I ever ran out, Hell engulfed my body and ripped me to shreds from withdrawal. Some catch-22, huh? If I take the pills, I’ll feel fine but be a junkie. If I don’t I’ll be a throbbing mess of pain and healing bones, herniated discs, etc. I wouldn’t be able to live any semblance of a normal life. Addiction was part of my treatment.
And such is the way of modern Pain Management. I don’t question their integrity, but their tools are far too limited. Percocet works great, but do you think we could take out the “strung-out-on-heroin” part? I am a fan of technology and know that Lexus just released a car for idiots who can’t park for themselves. It will parallel park for you. If we can do that, can we work on a drug that won’t turn me from victim to junkie?