Citation: Harbonic_Older. "God's Own Medicine: An Experience with Morphine & Meperidine (Demerol) (exp42247)". Erowid.org. Jul 1, 2007. erowid.org/exp/42247
The day before Saint Patrick's Day, I fell while skateboarding. I broke my ankle really badly, an open tibial fracture with lateral dislocation and significant damage to the joint capsule. I still don't know the extent of the damage to the soft tissue; other than the zipper-like scars on both medial and lateral surfaces of my lower extremity I have no documentation. When the EMTs got the door closed behind my gurney, they asked me to rate my pain according to the US Marine Corps scale, 1-10.
I told them, 'Ten means 'gunshot wound,' so I'll say eight.' Then they cut off my pants and sock. The EMT on my left said, 'No, that's an open fracture. That's ten. Give him morphine.'
The EMT on my right stuck a hypo in my right arm and depressed the plunger. Within seconds, I felt a wave flow across my whole CNS, like knocking down a domino-row made of feathers. The EMT said, 'Awesome! Thank God for this medicine.' I could still feel the pain; but like the silliness brought on by nitrous oxide, I didn't care. My spasming muscles relaxed, and I could stop writhing and groaning. The pain had been unbelievably bad; I don't know how I justified it as eight. Now it seems as if I must have imagined it, but I swear they gave me a second shot on the way to the hospital. I remember telling them I could feel it burning the blood vessels all the way to my heart. It disgusted me.
Owing, presumably, to the complexity of the operation I needed, they kept me doped up until the following morning, when I could go into the OR. For half the night they gave me morphine, and the rest of the time I got demerol. I had a tube stuck in my elbow that let in fluids and injections, and the nurses gave me the dope through that. When the dose hit me, I would lie back and close my eyes. The waking world shrank like a faraway bubble. I would sink down away from that bubble, and then I would realize that I had been hearing a conversation 'behind' or 'underneath' the world. When the shot took effect, I would 'realize' that this had been going on all the time, and it was as if a person would shake me by the arm in that dream world and say,
'Hey! Are you all right? You look a little dazed.'
And I would say, 'No, I'm all right.'
And then I would pick up with someone else's life, just as if I had momentarily gotten distracted. But I had always been that other man, and I knew the details of his life. I would just, as they say, pick up as if I had never stopped. We went places, like an elementary or high school. We went to open fields. I saw clear skies and waves of blue and pink. And the sounds and sensations of the real world went far, far into the foreground; and I could hear them like a humdrum drone, just below conscious awareness.
Three hours after the shot, the medicine would wear off. I would have to tough it out for sixty whole minutes before another one would dull the pain. At about the three hour mark, someone would put a hand on me to stop me from thrashing about. Then my eyes opened, and the Other Place faded into the drone and I was back in Hell. My leg hurt like a sonofabitch, just excruciating pain. Worse than anything, felt like torture. While the eyes stayed open, I noticed that the shots had a bad effect on my health. My head swam, literally: when they sat me up, it spun around on its axis like a globe on a spindle. My eyes were fixed and glazed; I didn't look at the people who talked to me, or if I did I didn't blink.
The sweats were the worst. My body felt like it was on fire. My limbs shook with a palsy-like tremor, and my skin burned. I couldn't focus my thoughts, and so my words came out of a delirium. I couldn't see how anyone could possibly jam this stuff in their veins daily. It would destroy me. And how much fun was it? Not much! I made it through the night because I had no choice.
In the early morning, the orderlies took me to OR. I lay there for a while in the bleak, white fluorescent light. The surgeon came and worked the final insult on my body by wrenching my foot back into its socket. He said it would prevent 'sheeting,' meaning massive tissue loss due to necrosis. Well, good! By the time I thought to ask if I would go into OR soon, I was already out. The anesthesiologist was a witch doctor.
Finally, I had bad problems detoxing from even this brief encounter with 'Good Old M.' After I got to a safe place to recuperate. I found that when I shut my eyes to sleep I found myself in the Other Place. Only now, instead of blue skies and friendly companions, the big, big world was full of dead trees and giant rats, Indian ghosts and vampire ghouls. I could not hide, because this horror only existed within my own mind. One night I was menaced by a giant cat-headed creature. I had a night of what I can only call 'whips and jingles,' with crazy music playing in my head and no rest for the wicked. When I felt most wretched and exhausted, all I could think of was frenetic rock guitar, any which way I tried. I wanted sleep, but my body tossed and rolled like a rag doll, all of its own accord. My meds were generic Percocet, but my nerves wanted something stronger, obviously.
In conclusion, I have to say again that I cannot imagine the discomfort and sickness brought on by daily abuse of this drug. Its entertainment value is negative, IMHO. And the limited withdrawals I suffered were ghastly. Just as beautiful as the full-sensory daydream had been, the nightmare was that bad plus more. Fortunately, like a thrill ride at the amusement park, this experiment had a protracted duration and a couple of built-in caretakers. However, all that said, I would have died of shock in the ambulance if not for that dope. Someone once said of morphine, 'It's God's own medicine. If He made anything better, He kept it for the angels.' Too true.
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