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.