Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Opioids and Me: A Cautionary Tale

No, I didn't take them to entertain myself. I had to. They'd planned on spinal anesthesia, the young doctors down at the university hospital, but after several painful tries on my scoliosis, they gave up--I was glad they did--and moved on to this other big O. 
"You will feel darkly disoriented," said the surgeon in green (I'm translating a German verb meaning exactly that). I was lying on the operating table, a rubber-scented oxygen mask over my nose and the room already spinning.
I can liken today's experience to extreme drunkenness, an unpleasant state I have endured only once, at the accidental instigation of my mother, who brought a gallon bottle of Gallo (this was 1970s Gallo) to a lobster dinner. The two of us drank every drop, since our friends had brought their own beer. The room, nay world-spinning feeling--our friends had to walk us home--culminated in the very same side effect as the operation-room opioids: projectile vomiting. 
This known side effect had inspired the notion that on this occasion, the surgeons would rely on spinal anesthesia. Last time, I totaled the bedside phone in my hospital room, and remembered when my oldest child, a large bowl placed beside his head, nevertheless turned and vomited across the room, missing not one spot.
"Mommy, you put the bowl on the wrong side!" He insisted. The look on the nurse's face, as she was attempting to clean the phone before giving up and throwing it away, approximated, I suppose, the look on mine upon receiving this information from my child. 
After today's surgery--minor--I requested breakfast. I got hospital lunch. First, it seemed to go down fine. I was very hungry. After I got home, my stomach rebuked me.
But I am proud to say, Gentle Reader, and if you're still with me you really are gentle! that  today, I projectiled into the toilet. At least all this happened in the comfort of my own home. I was experiencing one of those dreadful choices one must make when both ends of the alimentary canal urgently need to unload. I gambled, and I won! "Pee or puke first?" I made the right choice, you need not know which one. I am so glad to be home. It's my twentieth wedding anniversary, and my husband and I had been anticipating a night on the town, complete with wine. "No wine today!" said the doctor who let me go home. Good thing I followed orders.


  1. Happy anniversary from Victoria, British Columbia (where I have just biked all over town, stopping only to pay homage to local indigenous people whose artifacts fill a museum).

  2. Thanks! We had Japanese food a day later--was delicious. Have fun in BC!

  3. OMG, I hate to hear what you are going through, but I love reading your blog. Please keep us up to date at the Inspire site.