My family is what you could call “accident prone.”
We are on a first-name basis with all the doctors at Logan Regional. As has already been discussed on this site, we know the EMS and paramedics from every nearby town rather better than they would want, and are probably single-handedly responsible for the rise in insurance rates in the United States. We’ve had diabetic seizures, car wrecks, major reconstructive surgery, organ removal, cancers, pneumonia, foot surgery, cyst removals, stitches, and one memorable surgery where my dad was legally allowed to snort coke.
We keep expecting a call from the hospital informing us that the new wing they’re building will be named after us.
This has had an unintended side effect on most of the family: we are extremely familiar with painkillers. In fact, most of us have opinions on drugs the way others have opinions on wine.
There is one person, however, who has, after multiple “incidents,” been banned from taking anything stronger than ibuprofen ever again.
It is a mean rule. It is a vicious rule. It is an absolutely necessary rule!
For whatever reason, powerful painkillers cause extremely…visceral…reactions in my body. Take the time I had my foot operated on shortly after high school.
The very nice doctor gave me lortab and sent me home. I popped one in my mouth, and sat down on the couch.
Four hours later came the downer.
In December of 2008, I had my wisdom teeth taken out. The anesthesia caused me to propose to the nurse. The surgeon quickly gave me a prescription for lortab and escorted me out the door before I could get on one knee and confess my love.
I reacted very badly. That night my family went to my Grandma’s. I sat at home on the couch, and after an hour or two I started to twitch. It seemed like dark shapes were gathering at the edge of my vision, just waiting for me to let my guard down so they could strike…
The clock ticked away the time, and I slipped ever more quickly into madness. After another half hour passed, I called my Grandma’s in tears, saying I wanted to kill myself. My mom came home, got rid of the lortab, and sat up with me all night, talking me off the ceiling.
They got me a dose of Hydrocodone the next day instead. That didn’t work much better. Rather than be suicidal, I became a quivering cauldron of seething rage.
My sister was practicing the piano, and I started screaming at her. I kept saying that “you’re stupid” and “that song is dumb” and “the flying elves will destroy you!” After many tears (hers and mine) Mom decreed that the piano was off limits until I became a human being again.
I laid back on the couch and tried to sleep. My sister came over near the couch, by my feet, and grabbed a book she had set down. She gave a grunt of disgust in my direction, and turned to leave.
She never got the chance. In my drug-induced paranoia, I thought she was attacking me. I kicked her as hard as I could, and she soared through the air like a misfired missile.
She landed in a heap by the stairs, nearly fifteen feet from me. In the ensuing aftermath, Mom destroyed my Hydrocodone stash as well. I was told I would have to suffer through with ibuprofen.
At least with opiates I only get angry or depressed. With muscle relaxants, I become an exhibitionist.
For the last several years, I have operated a cotton candy stall at my hometown’s Pioneer Day celebrations. The first year my arm was completely worn out by the end. The next year, I resolved to do something about it. I talked to my doctor, and he gave me a prescription for a muscle relaxant I could take after I was done to help with my arm.
I took one when I got home, and then tried to walk to the living room. I made it about four feet.
My mom gently guided me to the couch, then went into the other room. She could hear me giggling softly to myself for nearly an hour, when I suddenly went quiet. A strange rustling sound emanated from the living room. Fearing the worst, she poked her head in-and everyone in the house heard her screams.
I had stripped naked, and was headed for the door as fast as my drugged body would allow.
I have been informed by those with some authority that my butt is not, in fact, as large as I have drawn it here. “You drew a ghetto booty,” my sisters said. “Yours is not that big.” Since I do not spend a large amount of time staring at my butt, I will take their word for it.
Just as I threw open the door she seized me by my arm and forcibly dragged me back to the couch. After twenty minutes of negotiation she convinced me to at least wrap myself in a blanket.
I insisted on calling myself “The Streaker,” and couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t let me outside. I tried three or four more times and actually made it out briefly (still wrapped in the blanket, I am at pains to add).
I even tried to write in my journal that night. An actual quote says “La la la la la la la” in handwriting so terrible it looks like a five year old wrote it.
I was mortified the next morning when my sisters told me what I had done. Thankfully, I only had two or three muscle relaxants left, which Mom had destroyed in any case after I fell asleep on the couch, covered only by my blanket.
To my family’s relief (and the town’s) I have not had any reason to take major painkillers since that unfortunate night. But I am related to my family, against my will. There will be a time in the future when I have some sort of procedure -and the Streaker will ride again.
I just hope my family remembers the restraints.