Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Avoidance and not-so-near-death experiences.

So, the Flu is gone, but it left me with what we thought was a fractured rib. It got worse and worse however, and on the night of the 13th, after what I thought was 3 weeks but appears to only have been one*, I was writhing around, in so much agony I couldn't breathe, screaming from every movement, convinced the the rib was breaking, splintering, and penetrating my lungs. I caved, and told Mr A I needed him to take me to the hospital. Four hours and an x-ray later it's discovered that I do not have a broken rib, but instead I apparently live in the 16th century. I have fucking pleurisy. Who even gets pleurisy? Pirates and poets, thats who.

I was released with a box of codeine and instructions to rest. The resting I was happy with but the codeine? Lets be straight here: I wouldn't say I'm an ex drug addict, but I'm an ex drug abuser. I didn't drink because I liked it, or because it was social, or because it felt nice. I didn't take drugs to achieve new experinces or enhance a good time. I did drugs and took alcohol specifically with the intention of getting fucked up. I attempted to obliterate myself with substances. I have abused everything from diet pills to ibuprofen to whisky to cocaine. You can't give me a drug and ask me to be sensible. I'm not. I don't have a filter, I don't have a valve that cuts things off when it gets too much. There is no shallow end of substance use for me. I always jump in at the deep end, and then I sink to the fucking bottom, because there is something wrong in my brain that won't tell me when to stop. Even when I was first given co-dydramol by my GP in response to my (at that point undiagnosed) hypermobility, I immediately started abusing them, however unintentionally. I was taking the maximum dose of co-dydramol alongside the maximum dose of ibuprofen, every single day, and I was still in pain. I weaned myself off them and now I don't even take them daily. Not because there's no pain, but because the fear of addiction and abuse is stronger than the pain. The knowledge of how easy it would be to slip up looms over me. The weight of this all is enormous.
So too was that box of codeine.
I turned it over and over in my hands. I didn't take any the moment she gave it to me, I made myself wait. Why? Why prolong my agony when I had a solution? I don't know. Just to prove I could, perhaps. Just to make sure I was able to. I waited until I got home, and then I waited until I got settled back into bed, and then I waited a little longer, and then I sneezed and then coughed and a scream ripped itself out of my chest and tears stabbed at my eyes and my vision sparkled with little white flakes of pain and I knew it was madness to wait any longer, so I took two tiny pills.

Ten minutes later I was filled with the knowledge that once the pleurisy is gone, the pills will have to be gone too, but I will probably spend the rest of my life hoping that something goes badly wrong with my body so that I am once again prescribed an opiate. Because I have never felt as at peace with my life and myself and the world as I do now. I have never felt as good as I do fifteen minutes after taking my pills.

And isn't it sad that that's a dangerous thing?

*Time has gone all screwy. The result of lying in bed for three weeks with the 'flu rather than drug use, because I was having trouble before the codeine, but still annoying. I was sure I'd been ill about 5weeks but first mention of it elsewhere on the internet is on the 22nd of January. I've been free of the 'flu but nursing the pleurisy for what felt like two weeks at least, but can only have been one. I'm a bit confused, to be honest.


  1. This is why I don't drink. Mostly because I am sick regardless of how much I drink, so therefore, if I do drink, I am going to get fucking smashed. So, I just don't.

    I don't appear to have a problem with pills however, because I can go weeks without taking any, despite having good ones in my cupboard.

  2. You poor thing, you can't catch a break, can you??

    Can your husband help you with your pills? Maybe put them somewhere and not tell you where they're hidden? He could just leave some out for the day and then you wouldn't feel tempted to take too many.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  3. Sara: I wa actually pretty good at not abusing the codeine while I was sick, probably because they made me feel so sick and gave me wicked bad side effects. It's more the knowledge that I now have that I really really like the feeling an opiate gives me. It's like the first time I had valium, on a plane, and I realised that if I ever ever in my life got a chance to have a valium 'just because' then I totally would because the feeling was awesome. So far I've been pretty good at not taking any of the ones I have left (stopped taking them four days after posting this because in the RIDICULOUS FUCKING UP SOAP OPERA THAT IS MY LIFE, I got stomach bug and the pills make me nauseated) but I'm keeping them around, so far with the except that 'Well my chest still hurts so it makes sense that I might need them again.' but there's always the voice in my head that says 'Oh yeah? *really*? That's why? Ok, buddy, if that's your story...' Time will tell...

    V: my main drinking problem (apart from that I *had* one) was that I went from dead-sober to black-out-drunk really fast. I could drink 15 drinks and be fine, talking normally, feeling a bit bored, rolling cigarettes and texting, and then I'd have drink 16 and I'd be vomiting black down my dress and passing out upside down on staircases. It was like there was a switch inside me that was either 'sober' or 'FUCKED'. No tipsy, no merry, no happily-toasted, just dead sober, or unconscious. Bad times. 'Luckily' my tolerance seems to have disappeared somewhat since being teetotal for over 2 years and now when I drink I get tipsy, but as long as I stop after 1 drink, I sober up really really quick.