On the way home from surgery Monday, I needed to stop at my pharmacy and pick up some pain medication.
And two days after my surgery, the pain medication is still in its little prescription bottle.
I won’t take the pills.
Let me explain why.
The pain pills are in the pharmacological classification known as opioids. And I’ve heard of many stories of people taking prescription opioids – and eventually abusing the opioids to the point of addiction. You know the names – Oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin, etc.
And the last thing I need in my life right now is to be hooked on pain pills.
I’ve told some people of my decision, and I’ve heard responses like, “Unless you have an addictive personality, you shouldn’t have a problem.” Or, “Just cut the pills in half and only take half the prescription.” Or, “The doctor wouldn’t have prescribed the pain pills if he didn’t feel that you could handle them. You just went through major surgery, Chuck, of course you’re supposed to be in pain.”
Well, maybe I don’t have an addictive personality, but I do have addiction in my family – including alcoholics, smokers, and the like. I’ve seen this in my life, I don’t want it to attach to me. And even cutting these pills in half isn’t going to mean I’m immune to the addictive powers of opioids.
You want proof? Allow me to introduce a spokesperson for the dangers of opioids.
And if you can’t trust John Oliver, then who in blue blazes CAN you trust?
With that in mind, I made an executive decision. So long as I could handle the post-surgical aches and pains as they stood, I would not take the opioids.
Day one post-surgery. I could feel the aches in my foot… but, in all honesty, it didn’t feel any worse than the worst pain I went through when my foot was broken pre-surgery. And yeah, right now it’s in a splint, wrapped up with medical tape and cotton and gauze. My little toes are peeking out of the wrapping, and I can wiggle them whenever I want to. That’s cool. Heck, I think I can even feel the stitches in the bottom of my foot. Maybe I feel four or five of them. I’ll have to ask the doctor how many he put in.
The doctor told me to make sure to not put any weight on my left foot right now. Don’t walk, don’t stand. Use the crutches that the hospital provided. I’ve done that. Heck, on occasion I’ve even foregone the crutches and crawled on my hands and knees to the kitchen or to the bathroom. No, I don’t have a picture of me doing that. No, even if I did, I’m not going to post it here.
And I’m still taking all my other prescription medications – you know, the ones for diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, them and those. But the pain pills are still in the pill bottle. My thought of “If I feel that the pain is manageable, I won’t take these pills” is holding true.
This morning, I woke up… I wiggled my toes on my left foot, and about the only thing I really felt was the discomfort of having my foot wrapped up like a mummy. That’s it. I made it through two days without the pain pills. And if by next Thursday, when I go back to the orthopedic surgeon, and he says I can transition back to the walking boot, then I won’t have any use or need for the pain pills. And if worse comes to worse… I’ll take an over-the-counter pain remedy like aspirin or Tylenol or Aleve or something like that. With the doctor’s consent, of course.
And as for the little silver miracles … what do I do about them?
I don’t know yet. I’m sure there are options – some shadier than others. But in all honesty, I’ll probably return the pills to the pharmacy, or have the pills destroyed in one of those “bring in your old medicine” drives.
In other words, I’m going to manage my injury and recovery with positive thought and lots of Netflix.
That’s really the only way, in my mind and in my heart, that I think I can safely manage it.
What say you, my loyal blog readers? Do you think I’m doing the right thing by avoiding these prescription painkillers? Or do you think I’m causing more damage to my body by not taking them? Let me know in the comments section below.
And no, I’m not offering these pain pills as a “prize” for the best answer. Nice try… 😀