Opioids And Me

It definitely put me in an “I don’t give a shit” mood. It was too stony — like marijuana on steroids. I wanted the relief without being incapacitated. With the Dilaudid all I could do was lie on the couch and consider using the remote control sometime in the distant future.


Did you see “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver’s HBO show, this past Sunday? The main topic was prescription painkillers, specifically opioids.

I’ve thought about this topic a great deal as someone who anticipated (and endured) loads of pain from my surgery. I still have 18 staples holding my belly together.

The first few days following my Whipple are a blur. I know there was a button to push for pain relief delivered IV. I’m told there’s a fifteen minute lockout between presses, but basically any time I saw it I pressed it!

How can you tell if it works or not? I was so wracked with pain at that point it’s tough to say.

A few days later I went off the pump but had Ativan and Dilaudid available on-demand. I used an Ativan to sleep one night. I’m not sure if I used the Dilaudid or not. Probably not.

I have been conditioned to be scared of narcotics.

Dilaudid may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Take this medicine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Never share the medicine with another person. MISUSE OF NARCOTIC PAIN MEDICATION CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH

It seemed OK to persevere some pain to avoid them. I’m not that much of a stoic. Judgement call. My intention was to err on the side of caution.

The pain was pretty bad my first night home. A gas bubble was trapped under my rib cage. I popped a Dialudid.

It definitely put me in an “I don’t give a shit” mood. It was too stony — like marijuana on steroids. I wanted the relief without being incapacitated. With the Dilaudid all I could do was lie on the couch and consider using the remote control sometime in the distant future.


We have medical marijuana here in California. I have a doctor’s recommendation as required. I switched and began treating my pain with pot.

Hurt still hurts. Neither pot nor narcotics insulate you from pain. It is just easier for me to control my dose by deciding if I want a few more puffs at any given moment. And I can still function — even write this blog entry.

Over time the pain has gotten less and less. It is now mainly a continuous background feature. It’s there, but you mostly don’t think about it.

My recovery is coming along really well and very quickly. I am astounded.

4 thoughts on “Opioids And Me”

  1. After seeing the reaction my Mom had to them, Ativan and Dilaudid are two drugs that scare me, too. Ativan made her loopy and slightly agitated; Dilaudid put her into such a state of unconsciousness that Branford Hospice called us in to say our goodbyes. Several hours later, she slowly opened her eyes to see us all surrounding her bedside and asked, “what’s everyone doing here?” Anyway, I’m so glad you have access to the use of medical marijuana and that it helps you function and feel a sense of control. Hope you continue to heal quickly!

  2. Hi ya Geoff! Great entry! dilaudid is the King Kong of pain meds but the Ativan is not a bad drug if used accordingly. As an “old” nurse, I’m a big fan of medical marijuana. It has such beneficial properties and of course getting the munchies will help you regain weights and strength! Keep up the great recovery! I am in awe of you being back to work after a Whipple in such record time! (It’s a big deal when nurses say “wow!). My love to Helaine, Stef, all the gang and of course, Mr. Harold! We need a new home from him! It’s overdue! Evi

  3. Hi Geoff, hope your feeling a little better each day. This issue with opids is serious stuff. I have been in and out of the hospital since 92,starting from a broken neck, and it’s become progressively worse since then. At this point 3/4 of my spine is fused with rods, bars, brackets, bailing wire, nuts and bolts, both hips replaced, the left one 4 times because they couldn’t get it right. There have been many opids in my life since 89 when th einjury first occurred. They put me in the ER multiple times. Not because they’re were abused but because my drs office neglected to call refills in so I went through withdrawals. Never doing this before, I scared me to death. Immediately the dr on the other side of the curtain automatically assumed I was a junkie needing a fix. That was with OxyContin. The morphine gave me such hallucinations, when we finally realized what that was, it was stopped. Then they put me on fentanyl patch, kept increasing the dosage, added lortab to my regiment for break through pain. After years finally got off the pain patches, still on the lortab. Only use it when the pain is so back can’t function at all. When we asked about medical marijuana, it was an emphatic NO! Alabama doesn’t support this treatment. Back in early ninetys Danbury hospital recommended it to me! Down here they test us every time we see the dr. If we show up hot, we’re thrown out of pain management program, to fend for ourselves, go through withdrawals , and admit ourselves to rehab floor of hospital to get clean. So far , I have managed to get off these meds on my own. Until this is legal in Alabama there’s no choice but to continue on the opiads .

  4. Every pain patient should have access to medical marijuana, hands down. And an assistance program to pay for it. My late mom had several surgeries and was allergic to percocet and oxy (nausea and vomiting) so they put her on Dilaudid. Poor woman! We ended up calling 911 for her since the hallucinations were uncontrollable. She saw spiders hanging from the ceiling, the floor was rippling like a fur coat in the wind, birds were flying around the room, and someone was in need of blankets due to a car accident, which compelled her to get out of bed and hurry down the hall to them and fall — fortunately she was recuperating at my brother’s house, and he has carpeting. Pain control is a very, very inexact science and too many doctors either won’t deal with it or give up. I had almost zero help when I had abdominal surgery in 2002 — tore up inside and the doctor said “800mg of ibuprofen.” Come on now. Anyway, you just keep getting better. And don’t blow it! (No pun intended.)

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