Bed Pans and Morphine—Reloaded

Eighteen days since the surgery to align my fibula with a plate on six screws, and I am getting stronger.  I had the cast removed, the suture taken out and am now wearing an ”air boot;” which is awesome because now I can remove that occasionally to let the foot breathe and do range of motion exercises.

This was the first marker of recovery in how the wound was healing. Medical staff had informed me that at this point it would either be reapply another cast and continue with that for a few more weeks or move to the air boot.

I was nervous as the cast was removed as to what the condition of the wound would be. As the doctor looked at the incision and at my ankle, I was more than overjoyed when he said:  “You seem to be experiencing accelerated healing”

I still can’t apply any pressure to the ankle for four more weeks, but the boot just makes things easier.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there was insight that would be gained from all of this and as the saying goes “more will be revealed.”

From the first visit to the ER in Las Vegas, during the first appointment to discuss the surgery and throughout the entire process…I acknowledged to the medical staff around me, the ongoing process of my recovery from chemical dependency.  Back in the hospital room, seeing the “patient board” board with a suggested dosage plan of: “Percocet every four hours, morphine every two hours.”  My first thought was: Would this be enough?

 I had discussions with the nursing staff and the surgeon and it was decided that the morphine would be removed form the treatment plan and I would just go with the Percocet. 

The first few days, I enjoyed the synthetic opiates. I slept well through the night, woke up refreshed and positive. I’m not sure when the crossover began. I kept dosing as prescribed, but my energy shifted. First my system slowed down, way down. Bowels moved every few days and were a struggle. Libido nonexistent. I would knock out for hours on end at various time of day, only to wake up irritable. My skin was clammy, crawly and it itched. There was a putrid odor to both my urine and my essence.  Then I was just sleeping a couple hours at a time and was constantly irritable, depressed and generally loopy.

Jokingly, I had been sending video messages to a friend as a way of contact with the out side world. I had sent maybe ten messages before I reviewed the latest one I had sent and when I saw it I thought: ”I’m fucked up!”

I had crazed demeanor and animation, bug eyes, tweeky facial expressions, slurred words and incoherent sentences. It was frightening.

It was this same day that I had seen three different news stories, two online, one on the news on tv, all with the same theme: A person had died as the result of an overdose while relapsing after being on pain meds for a broken bone. It was so very much in my face.

Looking at what I was experiencing, I realized I had relived 30 years of addiction, sans the arrests, assaults, evictions and terminations, in 12 short days.

So I took myself off the Percocet. It takes 72 hours for synthetic opiates to flush out of a system. The first two days weren’t bad…it was just ignoring the voice saying “time for a pill.”  It was the third day that was hell; the angst, the desperate depression, the disgust, the self-hatred, the anxiety, the hopelessness. All those things that are my denial that propelled me to try and numb out with drugs for years. It was a darkness I had not experienced in the 9.5 years since I had last used narcotics.  I went to bed with the acceptance of a day at a time and the hope that Universe providing; a new day would dawn.

I woke up the next day and immediately felt that my energy, my sprit, was again it’s lively self. In a couple of days, bodily functions returned; my skin was no longer clammy or itchy. I began to establish a sleep pattern. I was at peace, calm. And I began to feel…clean and sober.

How quickly the injured leg has atrophied is beyond belief. It frightens me, actually. I know there is nothing I can do and in actuality the body has taken the nutrients that were those muscles and applied them to my healing.

Conversations with my trainer have assured me, in short time of recovery, it will return.

So I have begun a workout regimen that is basic range of motion exercises and the simplest of events on crutches. At first it was just to go out side and sit on the stoop; then it was down the stairs to the street; then down the ¼ block to the one corner; then in the other direction, ¾ to the other corner; then around the block. Then twice around the block.  In six days I am up to walking 10 city blocks. At times, alternating ten steps with a step and then a high kick, swinging the boot up to waist level. It may look goofy as shit, but I do not care.

What has been the most overwhelming to me has been the support from the people in my life that genuinely care about me. The outpouring of love through cards, well-wishes, phone calls, gift bags of food, care packages, surprise early morning visits bearing mochas, grocery runs, dinners out, car rides…I am filled with such gratitude and am truly blessed to be surrounded by such loving, kind, compassionate, caring people.

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