Warning: Adult language ahead.
The Plainfield Health Center prescribed a deadly load of oxycontin and oxycodone simply because they wanted to relieve my pain.
My spinal cord injury and surgery triggered a series of agonizing conditions. My entire nervous system was de-regulating. It was all nightmarish pain. No one doubted my suffering for the first time in my life.
They threw their arsenal at it. About 400 mg a day.
For several years.
Shit made me crazy.
Turned my world dim and gray.
Bad drugs kill magic.
It’s the way they extricated themselves that should shame them for throwing me under the bus. Later I heard they’d been under serious investigation for their generous hillbilly heroin scripts.
I suspect I may have been getting some of the highest amount. At least I fucking hope so. A doc friend told me later that I was lucky to have lived. No one could survive on that dosage for long.
It makes sense that they’d want to cut loose their highest opioid patients. Things are always underhanded with the big guns, aren’t they?
It started subtly: my scripts not getting renewed on time, appointments disappearing. I was accused of stealing files and later questioned about a missing prescription pad. I didn’t get it. I gifted art to appease them, smooth over the rift I didn’t understand. I guess that just gave them more incentive to get me off their hands and label me a looney.
I was abruptly called in for a piss test. With my diabetes completely out of control, pissing was a chore. I couldn’t piss on demand. I was accused of avoiding pissing. Trying to hide something.
Hide what? I was genuinely curious.
I still didn’t get that I was slowly being set up to be let go. I only recognized that shit wasn’t right. They took my blood instead. Weeks went by. My script doesn’t show up. I call and find they’d canceled it. The nurse was terse.
“You have unauthorized opioids in your system.”
“That’s impossible,” I say. “I take what you give me, nothing else.”
“You are terminated as a patient.”
“Why didn’t you call me when you knew?”
“You should have called us.”
“But what am I supposed to do?”
The goddamn tears started. I was days from running out. Withdrawal like hot acid in my blood.
“Not my problem.” The nurse hung up.
I decided the last pills were useless. It’s over.
Bad relationship over.
I found a treatment center that could take me right away. When going over the paperwork they showed me the Health Center reported nothing about additional opioids. The reason listed for my termination is the presence of marijuana in my system.
Marijuana recommended and known fully about by the Health Center Doctor-–a woman who suffered from a chronic disease, used marijuana herself and even had some suggestions for me as to how to acquire it locally.
Once again, those who I trusted to look after me completely betrayed me without concern for my health or my outcome. Once again I was powerless in defending myself.
The place I found turned out to be a processing center for women with court orders and jail time who must complete rehab. I just wanted to get through detox. They weaned me with methadone and in two weeks I was released, safely off the heavy opioids, though I suffered the shakes and sweats for months afterward.
During my time there I discovered these women and I have similar backgrounds: sexual and physical abuse, neglect in all our childhoods.
In some cases, they were a little horrified by my stories.
In some cases I noticed the beginnings of fibromyalgia in their bodily complaints.
I remembered when it wasn’t full blown in me, too.
It grows in bodies with profoundly broken hearts.
But we’d all been discarded, thrown under various buses, trains and trucks. Used. Left holding the bag. Left for dead. All of us robbed of our innocence at the hands of people who were supposed to treasure us. To see us in our glorious strength of heart and hope. Or at least not fucking molest us or smack us around.
Or leave us to tend to a life-threatening physical addiction to the poison they get us dependent on.
The jail-like nature of the rehab set me off and I broke every rule they had. I was the only one there of my own free will. They held no threat when I wanted to stay out and meditate in the snow, or rescue wildlife. Don’t cage me in.
All of these women turned to crime, drugs, often even prostitution.
Somehow I did not walk that path.
The only hard drugs I ever took were state-sponsored, their street-value and reputation unknown to me.
I didn’t think about this shit.
I had work to do.
Pills? Fuck that. Well. Until you need them.
But only until the pain doesn’t make you want to scream anymore.
When I return home I realize my pain is equal with or without opioids.
But the weed helps quite a bit.
My dreams have become real again.
Author: Alexandria Heather
Images: Author’s Own
Editor: Travis May