Age 48…..Circa 1998

I was working as a Supervisor on the Psychiatric Unit of a hospital as an RN, BSN. There was a wide range of mental health issues among our patients. Schizophrenia, BiPolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and so forth. We also had the occasional patient detoxing from heroin.

One morning while getting ready for work my Doberman Pincher had urinated in a very unacceptable location and I was not happy about it. As she paraded past me in the hallway I attempted to give her a swipe on her hind quarters, but I missed.

Instantly I knew I was in serious trouble as the pain in my lower back was excruciating. No matter how I moved the pain was horrifically constant. I climbed onto the couch and assumed every imaginable position possible without a hint of relief. I called a close friend who came immediately and helped get my 3 youngest children off to school. And then we headed to the Emergency Room at Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach Florida.

The nurse gave me a couple of injections…Morphine for the pain and an anti inflammatory. Within 20 minutes I was high as a kite and ready to head back home. The pain was gone.

All tests were back. Labs, x-rays, Cat Scan. Diagnosis: a full-blown herniated disc. The following day the pain began to run down my right leg. Shortly thereafter I was numb from my butt down to my knee. Surgery was scheduled.

It was in the late 90’s that Big Pharma sent out their troops to train 25,000 physicians on the miracles of opioids for chronic and long-term pain.

After surgery, and at the time of my discharge, I was prescribed 7.5mg of Hydrocodone. After I took the first one I thought to myself: “Holy shit. Everyone should be prescribed this!” I felt elated and was ready to get down with the vacuum cleaner.

And so in 1998 my love affair with opioids began.

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