Let me begin by telling you that I am not a drug person. Though I’m sure drugs were rampant in my private girls’ high school or at the “party hard” college I attended, I never saw them. We drank Sun Country Wine Coolers and thought we were cool; we never really felt the need to search out anything stronger.
Except, in fact, I once mentioned to my mom that we were going to try “ex” on a college spring break trip. I knew nothing more about it than that name and that it gave you energy and you could probably lose weight because you’d be dancing all night.
(The mom in me now knows I was probably actually referring to Ritalin. Which still sounds tempting.)
My mother, perfectly suited to manage five children, said, “For the love of God, you have enough energy as is. Don’t waste your money.” And that was that.
For the past (how old is that giant baby I carried?) nine and a half years (no coincidence), I have had problems with my back. I like to run and bike and hike and lift weights and take exercise classes and a long time ago, my lower back gave me the finger and told me to stay in bed. I didn’t, so it retaliates every now and then.
It retaliated hard over the weekend.
Actual conversation with my doctor Monday:
Me: What do you see on the MRI? The devil?
Dr. F, laughing: Yes, Julie, I see Satan on your MRI.
Me: Hey, don’t knock it. People see Jesus on a piece of toast.
Dr. F, squinting at the MRI: Well, actually, it does look pretty bad…
“Pretty bad” translates to me, in the emergency room, on Saturday. Crying. Begging them to hit me over the head with a baseball bat so the pain would stop for five minutes. (Ignoring my husband’s curiously enthusiastic request to be the one holding the bat.) Accepting a dose of Percocet, even as I acknowledged that upon ingesting it, I would likely never poop again.
Nothing worked. All I could do was pace, because if I stood still/sat down/lay down/sneezed/laughed/breathed I would be in even more pain, and it was already excruciating. So I paced. And paced. And cried because it hurt and I had been pacing for seven hours and I just wanted to sit down.
Then along came Nurse Tony. And his little IV.
And oh my God, if I could abuse whatever was in that IV, I would recklessly abuse it. The moment he pressed down the plunger, I felt it start in my arms and move all the way to my feet. My back went from a 10(0000) on a scale of 1 to 10 to a .5. My hip stopped throbbing instantly. I sat down. I actually laid down. He asked why I was still crying and I had to explain the relief I felt.
After a little while, my leg got shooting pains in it.
There was Nurse Tony, with another dose.
No more pain. Practically no more consciousness. But I didn't care.
If insurance people weren’t so picky, I would have checked myself into that hospital and kept that drug flowing until they could fix the problem.
It. Was. Awesome.
I told my doctor about it, and his eyes lit up. He had kidney stones, he told me, and the same drug worked miracles.
“In fact,” he said, “I’ve been told the feeling it gives you mimics the way heroin makes you feel.”
I raised my eyebrows.
I’ve watched Weeds and I’m halfway through Breaking Bad.
Mama might just have found herself a new career. And a happy back.
(I'll ignore how thrilled my husband looks at the thought of a second paycheck, regardless of its origins.)