Thursday, January 06, 2011

All Dolled Up

"You don't have a history of addiction, do you?" the nurse asked offhandedly as she phoned in two more narcotic prescriptions. "Not that it really matters."

There's a long list of things I don't have to worry about anymore, and apparently it's still growing. ALS freed me years ago from any fear of cancer, which killed both of my father's parents, or heart disease, which claimed both of my mother's. Early on, when I was put on an anabolic steroid to counter the muscle wasting, my cholesterol shot up 100 points. This might have been a serious concern for someone else, but as my doctor cheerfully put it: "I don't think you're gonna be around long enough to develop congestive heart failure."

When I enrolled in hospice, my original nurse (who soon thereafter vanished mysteriously) pushed the idea of keeping a stash of morphine on hand "just in case." In case of what, I wondered. A dirty bomb? President Palin? For shortness of breath, she explained. "It'll calm you." I finally gave in just to shut her up, then forgot about it until last month's trial, which made a believer out of me.

I'd already been on an antidepressant* and a elephant tranquilizer muscle relaxant for eons, and now I have the morphine for brief episodes and Ativan for longer ones. My medicine cabinet is starting to look like Judy Garland's.

*A chirpy physician's assistant once said, "You've been on the SSRI for a while now. Have you thought of stopping?"

"Are you
insane?" I snapped. "Have you looked at my file?"


Anonymous said...

Ok I'm officially jealous of your stash. Don't you think Members of Congress would benefit more from what you have access to, pharmacologically speaking? BD

Michael Kearns said...

I love the notion (put in practice by the nurse on the phone) that anyone with an actual history of addiction would answer truthfully to someone who is about to supply them with drugs.

Kay said...

I dearly love Ativan but Erika has become paranoid according to Karel as a result of her morphine addiction...