Goodbye Tonsils

I mean, WOW. The whole tonsillectomy drama was every bit as painful as they said. They said it would take two weeks to feel normal again. Check. One week of extreme pain. Check. Stay on the medication, do not wane. Check. Relax, take care of yourself. Check. Week two you’ll think you’re getting better, but you’ll suddenly experience a whole new pain as the scabs form all over your throat. Check, check, check. So I did, I stayed on the drugs. As much as I vomit and reel and writhe, I stuck to a strict program of half doses of three separate narcotics w/a bit of jello followed by the rest of the dose w/jello an hour later to successfully manage my pain. But I was as catatonic as McMurphy in the last scene of Cuckoo’s Nest. And just when things would start to come back into focus the Diazepam would render me boneless. I rather liked the feeling of bonelessness. Surely the children could set the house ablaze and my body and mind would remain utterly free of tension. Each time I swallowed it down (through the burn and sizzle of open tissue) the lyrics came to me and came again… “she goes running for the shelter of her mother’s little helper.” And I soon realized it was best to steer clear of this lovely elixir. About ten days later when the pain changed, I noticed exactly one hour before the next dosage my pain began to spike. I was just barely hanging on from dose to dose. This didn’t seem right, so I decided to stretch out the meds and work through the pain. Two days after that, I quit altogether. I still couldn’t come close swallowing anything beside jello or soup, but I felt like I was finally getting stronger. Twenty-four hours later, I came down with the flu. I couldn’t function, I was exhausted, my head throbbed, my muscles ached, and worst of all my bones were cracking into a million tiny pieces. I could feel the slow splintering of each crack. Twisting and turning and crying, I kept a heating pad on my knees and ankles and back overnight – ten solid hours. It was the worst kind of pain I’ve ever experienced. Worse than my c-section, because that pain was centered around the muscles and organs beneath my incision (and it was bad). But this pain was deep within my bones and joints and there was no way to alleviate it, not even a little. You drug-users out there may have already guessed that it wasn’t the flu at all. It was my body’s withdrawal from narcotics. I was shocked to learn this. It took only ten days to bring it on. There’s so much addiction in my extended family I just can’t believe those who go through the agony of detoxing only to relapse again and again. The pain is obviously beyond what I can understand. Imagine how dark and powerful addiction is if it can bring a person back after drying out. I have a whole new appreciation for it. With all the drugs I’ve done (and there are only a handful I’ve not tried thanks to my free-wheeling youth), narcotics took the greatest toll. I’ve always boasted that (discounting chocolate and all things Reese’s) I lack the addiction gene, which runs in my family. But now I know. I am to stay away from narcotics. Far, far away.

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4 responses to “Goodbye Tonsils

  1. Yikes! That’s a very powerful story–and I’m struck by and quite impressed with your self-awareness. I’m glad you made it through both the tonsillectomy and the detox.

  2. Magical Sarah

    holy crap. thank you for sharing that. you are amazing. and i am a shit friend for not calling your house to see if i can take care of you. *ring, ring* “hi, shannon’s answering machine? yes, please tell the carcia’s that i would love to have them over for a playdate again.” *beep* *click*

  3. They do say it only takes 2 weeks for your body to become addicted to narcotics. It’s true. Luckily I am done with the days of detoxing only to start the whole process over again. anyway, glad you’re on the mend. I DID call. Got the answering machine, left a “doyou need help?” message and no one called back for help, so I take that as things were under control. I did not want to just barge in without actually talking to a live person. On the upside, you’ll never have tonsolitis again. Yay!! You’ll be better just in time for Great Big Sea!!!! Yay…………I”ll burn you a copy of their new CD I just got and get it to you before. Be well…………….

  4. It doesn’t even have to be narcotics. I once quit a 6 cup a day coffee habit cold turkey. Three weeks of severe muscle/bone pain and migraines. I know that caffeine withdrawal should be done in stages. I also know that I have to give up any habit cold turkey, and I replace it with another one. As long as I can direct myself into non-destructive habits, I will be fine.

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