Sunday, December 4, 2011
The sawzall blade went in through the meat of my hand, carved a pretty little cavern, and then continued on to punch out in the palm. I got one good look at the full depth and breadth of the laceration before I clamped it shut with my other hand. Just one good look. Not even the ER doc opened it up again, but I could picture it well enough. Still can. Lots of ragged read meat.
Five days later, it's well on its way to healing, and thankfully no signs of infection.
That's not what this note is about. The wound is not the threat. Its something else.
The doc prescribed a pain killer and an antibiotic. I'm good with the antibiotic, but I usually avoid pain meds any stronger than an OTC Ibuprofen or four. A couple years ago I took a stab at cutting the end of my finger off (It grew back), and the doc offered up Vicodin then. He swore I would need it. The bottle is still in my gun safe, and I've never tasted of it's fruits.
See.... as a kid, I took part in something my parents did. They owned and ran a half way house for drug addicts. I was a little kid who sat in on dozens of group counseling sessions. I knew those people. I saw and heard things.....
I know how utterly $#%@ed up drugs can make a life.
All that, to explain why I almost never take a pain killer or any other narcotic drug. I can deal with pain better than I can deal with being addicted. I know that.
This time... after looking into the gaping chasm of read meat that was my left hand, I decided I'd best go ahead and take the Percocet the doc prescribed. Something told me this time it would hurt in a whole new way, until it healed up a bit. So I did. Every six hours, beginning before the local wore off from getting stitched up. For about four days straight.
Then, my healthy fear of addiction returned, and I began weening off. Over a couple days I backed it off till I was taking none at all. That was yesterday.
Today I woke up and realized something. Something scary as hell. I hurt.
No... not the hand. That throbbed a bit, but nothing exceptional. The hurt I woke up to was the thousand and one aches and pains accumulated over fifty years of an active life, working hard and not sparing the body. The stab in the back which dictated how I rolled out of bed for years had returned. The knee ache which usually has me standing still a moment after rising was once again a factor.
None of that was frightening. What scared me was something far, far worse.
For the few days when I was taking the Percocet..... I woke without pain, feeling wonderful, and didn't even notice.
That is scary as hell. I could get used to not hurting. It would be so easy..... so easy.
Until the bill came due.
The rest of those Painkillers are going in the gun safe, next to the Vicodin, to wait on a day when the pain outweighs the cost of the cure. I hope it never comes.