Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pharmaceutical Fun

After staying up till 1:30 a.m. and waking up three hours later with a pounding heart and churning thoughts, I remembered why I stopped taking Demerol after my first surgery: It prevents me from sleeping. What's the point of taking a painkiller that keeps you awake? Might as well just live with the pain. Sooner or later you're bound to fall asleep, with no nasty side effects. And you can have a glass of wine (or two) without fear of falling down or ruining your liver.

A perky lady named Lynette from the surgical center just called to see how I was doing. "Just fine! Couldn't be better!" I told her in a fake hearty tone dripping with sarcasm. How else does she think I'd be feeling the day after having an already sore arm cut open from armpit almost to elbow, with a half-inch-thick bandage tightly wrapped around it and taped to my shoulder?

Lynette asked whether I was taking any pain medication. Just Celebrex, I told her, and recounted my problems with Demerol. "Oh, but you have to take narcotics!" she exclaimed. (It's been a long time since any stranger tried to force addictive drugs on me--and never by phone.) "But I don't tolerate narcotics," I growled. "Percocet and Vicodin made me itch so much I drew blood."


"Oh, then take Tylenol," she offered brightly. "Yeah, OK," I said, not bothering to ask why I should do that when I have the Celebrex, which is way stronger and more effective.

After asking some more questions, Lynette wished me a "blessed" recovery. Oy vey, I thought. "Uh, thanks," I said. Never mind the meds, maybe I'll just have that drink.

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