Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cheap Date

My family has certain genetic tendencies. We have strong bones because we are “pioneer stock” as my 
dad used to say. Much to my dismay I never got to wear those cool casts that all the other kids had at school and asked everyone to sign. In fact in the 3rd grade I spent an entire semester trying to break my arm so that I could get that coveted fashion accessory. There wasn’t a tree I didn’t fall out of, a fence I didn’t jump off of, or a bike I didn’t crash. No dice. The closest I ever got was a cracked nose when I got punched in the face for calling a red-headed sixth grader “tomato head."

To offset our unusually hardy skeletal system, providence blessed us with long ligaments which cause all kinds of dislocations, strains, and generally obnoxious but never really exciting injuries. "Why are you limping Brenda?" Never do I have an awesome “I fell out of a high rise” or was “I was snowmobiling in the x-games” story to tell. It is always “well, I tripped over a sock in the laundry room” kind of thing. Seriously lame.

Another of our traits is that most of us cannot hold our pain medicine. If you give any of us a narcotic pain pill, even the lowest dose, strange things are going to happen.

Take for instance my son David. Several months ago he and a friend decided that it would be fun to run a foot race in the pitch black dark down a little road next to the school. What was unknown to them was that for the first time in a millennium the school officials had closed the sturdy metal gate at the end of the lane. David won the race and for his 1st prize award ended up with a broken back.

In the emergency room he was a trooper and refused any medicine until the test results came back with the diagnosis and he had to admit it wasn’t just a pulled muscle. The doctor gave him a shot of morphine and he immediately got a look on his face I had never seen before. “Whoa mom, this is crazy.” Giggling then ensued. Not the manly “bwahaha” that normally emanates from this 6 foot 200 pound kid. It sounded very much like he had been possessed by a 6 year old girl who had just been presented with a rainbow colored unicorn and told that she got to be princess of Wonderland for a day. He then closed his eyes and upon opening them just a few seconds later told me about the puppies he could see that were shooting little lasers at each other.

Dave isn’t the only one like this. My mom has been in the hospital several times and my sister and I carry a list if the types of pain medicine she cannot have. If she gets the wrong stuff she enters a whole other dimension. One night I came to her hospital room as she was in the process of climbing out of bed so that she could go “get on the tractor” she was convinced was in the closet. Apparently the ground in that closet was in desperate need of being cultivated and they only way to keep her from her chores was to tell her the bed was farm truck that needed to be worked on.

I knew these facts about my family members but never dreamed I was in the same league. Several years ago my back suddenly decided it was going to walk out, contract negotiations with its daily grind coming to a standstill. Unexpectedly I woke up one morning and it had gone on strike. After coming to the conclusion that I couldn’t crawl to work or take care of my babies from a fetal position on the floor my sister talked me into going to the ER to get checked out.

When we arrived a couple of nice nurses peeled me out of the car and wheeled my groaning and moaning invalid carcass into an examination room. I heard a lady in the hall say “oh that poor thing is she very far into her labor?” Insult added to injury I managed to get myself up on the table so a doctor could come tell me the obvious.

“Your back is out” was his professional opinion. Dang it, I could have told myself that and spent the $300 I paid him on shoes. He then told me that they were going to give me a shot to “take the edge off.” I was looking for more than the edge of that agony to disappear but beggars can’t be choosers.

The nurse came back in and gave me an injection which immediately made me feel like my face was melting off. “Whoa, this is crazy” I said to my sister. I lay there on my back in a state of euphoria mixed with macaroni and cheese, or something like that. As I contemplated the ceiling tiles directly in my gaze I noticed that they began to move. Much like train tracks going by they increased in speed until they were just a blur. I could even hear the train whistle calling to me from time to time.

“Do you see that?” I asked my bemused sis. “And another thing Evonne, I love you. I really, really, love you like a whole lot. Like, I never knew how much I just really love you. And I love this table, it is such a nice and beautiful table.”

I’m not sure how long that all lasted but eventually my trip to the 1960’s ended and they sent me home. After that experience I found that I could understand how people might be tempted to re-enact that type of thing for fun in their living rooms and become addicted to it.

As temporarily amusing as it was there was something very troubling about not being able to control my thoughts and actions. I was very grateful for the wisdom of my parents and church leaders who warned me in my youth of the dangers of illegal drug consumption. Without them I could have very possibly made some decisions early on that would have seriously altered my life course and caused me and my family untold heartache.

People in my family are lightweights when it comes to chemicals. It’s good to know our weaknesses and even better to know how to avoid falling into actions that exploit those weaknesses. Pain killers are a blessing as long as they are used under the direction of a doctor. I believe that God gives us access to things like that to help us when truly needed, but as with all things there can be too much of a good thing and that is just as destructive as the really bad stuff in life.

So will I take the meds the next time my back deserts me? Yes, but carefully and only as little as will do the job. My closet can wait for it’s next cultivation.



1 comment:

  1. How do you do this??? I am crying. CRYING! On a side note, Benedryl makes me do stuff like that. It's hysterical to everyone but me.


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