As you read this post my body will be processing the last bit of “Special K” I had yesterday. Ever since the “Special K” entered my body I felt different, as a matter of fact I immediately felt drowsy. Slowly I have been coming around, starting to feel more and more like myself but truth be told “Special K” causes me to experience the world in a totally different way. I don’t have “Special K” often but I do have it regularly, this is life for me two days every six months. Sometimes we overlook what has become ordinary.
This is not a blog on cereal or my digestive system.
“Special K” is the street name for the drug they will once again use to sedate me during my bi-annual neck surgeries. I am put under 4 times each year so that the doctor can use radiofrequency to disconnect (burn) the pain nerves in my neck. For a surgery that is supposed to stop pain this one hurts, but it’s worth it! Once the damage done by the procedure has healed the intolerable and almost untreatable pain caused by the narrowing nerve passages in my neck can be controlled with acceptable dosages of opioids. Sometimes we overlook what has become ordinary.
We hear about it every day.
There is an opioid crisis. People, either because of pre-existing mental health/addiction issues or because of acquired drug dependency after surgery, cancer or injury are unable to break their opioid addiction spiraling deeper and deeper out of control. Don’t think for one minute this doesn’t cross my mind on a regular basis. I have even asked my wife if she thinks my brain could be making up the pain just so I can justify using my painkillers; if it is possible that I have no pain but rather I am so addicted that my mind tricks me so I can get a fix. Sometimes we overlook what has become ordinary.
It was the day after the first COVID case in Ontario, Canada was announced.
I sat in the ER waiting room, it was almost empty. Unlike the previous trip, the regular “I’m dying from a bad case of the sniffles,” mixed with the real cases: breaks, dislocations and trauma were nowhere to be found. People were scared of this new virus. Even the pill poppers weren’t crazy enough to go to the hospital.
After signing in I waited for the triage nurse to call my name. There was no one at the desk so I figured they were on break. It wasn’t long before I was called up to the desk. I handed over my list of medications and in return got a lecture on opioid use and addiction. I found it interesting that the nurse whose clothes were releasing the smell of the cigarette she had just smoked was instructing me on the finer points of addiction. Sometimes we overlook what has become ordinary.
It has been 6 months since I was harshly scolded for using painkillers.
It has been 9 months since I started using high dosages of opioids. It has been close to a year since my body started to produce inflammation that my medications could no longer control. Joints are damaged and torn. Inflammation presses against the nerves causing incredible pain. Range of motion becomes limited and stability questionable. A new medication may work, I won’t know for another month. The neck surgery will lessen some pain so I can focus on the other affected joints. I am stuck taking strong painkillers at least for now, something I had kept to a minimum before this all started. Sometimes we overlook what has become ordinary.
In the middle of all this is something I have overlooked.
I had been able to avoid the use of opioids for years something that many who have my neck and other issues have not. I have no signs of addiction. There are days I wake up in minor pain and miss a dose without issues. There are other days after the painkillers wear off that I feel no desire to take them. My body does not crave them at all. I have even been able to move to a lower dose although I haven’t been able to lower it as much I as I would like. I know I still have what I have with no end in sight but what I don’t have is an opioid addiction which, judging by what the doctors say, is not the normal after continuous use. I missed it! I missed the miracle! No I am not all better but I am not worse either. I am not the addict that I could have become. I find it hard to praise God in this pain but the truth is I need to. His miracles don’t always turn out the way I think they should and pray they will and because of that I missed the fact that I am not in the throes of an out of control opioid addiction.
Sometimes we overlook what has become ordinary missing the fact that what we view as ordinary is actually extraordinary.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10