On Getting Over Oxy

3.29.2021: I’m having a difficult time, perhaps the consequence of going off oxycodone after my hip-replacement four weeks ago. I can see why people don’t want to leave it. I haven’t taken any doses for four days, but I still feel curiously drained, almost as if my soul is growing older more quickly than my body. I sleep a lot. More often than not, I sleep until after nine and will take a nap or two during the day while I’m reading.

For the first day or two of withdrawal, I mostly felt unease in my stomach. I know that if I take another dose, that unease will go away, even with a low frequency of 2 doses more or less every 24. But in order to get away from it, I have to resist that impulse to take a dose in order to calm my stomach. It’s more than a stomach unease; it might be a broader nerve unease. I feel as if I’m quivering.

I might need two more days to get back to myself. But I recognize that I feel better this afternoon than I have for the last three days. All in all, it’s not too bad, but I can see why people get seduced into addiction. 

You would think people would know better than to get hooked on something like oxycodone when they sense that up and down pattern, the downside as the dose begins to wear off. 

I can get over this withdrawal phase because of my resources. I have my family, my two children, their partners, and my four grandchildren. We all love each other. I have many friends, economic resources, a house paid off in full, things I like to do – once I get my energy back: guitar, pickleball, biking, reading, and writing, let alone a house, yard, and two dogs to care for.

Even with this, I found myself awake in the middle of the night last night and in a state to which I am highly unaccustomed. I might call it depressed, a place I have gone to only two or three times in my life, one time being after Sarah died. I can describe it like this: a sharp awareness of futility, that nothing I do matters. That I get up in the day and wait for it to go away. I spend my days sleeping, reading, petting my dogs. 

Then the better part of my mind takes over: the part that responds to challenge. I can do this, I tell myself. I can overcome ennui. There are many things I can do that might make a small difference to someone other than myself and my two dogs. I know how to do this. I just have to write my way into it. 

I go over to one of my guitars, petting Lola and Sawyer on my way, and play until I think I’m ready to sleep. 

[I hesitate to post this entry on my blog. Like most of my blogposts, they begin in my diary, which is where I write in order to make sense out of what I’m doing, thinking, and feeling. Although I have long been committed to personal writing (making the private public), I am uneasy about showing myself as vulnerable. I prefer that side of myself that takes on challenges, hitching up one’s belt and saying here we are and let’s get on with it.

But I also know that there is value in letting one’s self be seen, that at its deepest level, this is the source of good writing. There might be other people out there who are coping with this struggle to find value in being, that is, beyond just staying alive. We need to see each other.

I have greatly appreciated Martha Woodruff’s posts on Facebook. She seems to face life head-on. I think of myself as glancing.]

Postscript:

It’s been five or six days since I’ve taken an oxy: That puts me entirely over the hump.

I’ve been through this process at least four times before, so I knew what was coming. I can’t imagine it’s too much different for others who take oxycodone as a pain killer after a serious operation. I’ve tried two others: Hydrocodone (developed a rash); and hydromorphone (made me feel more uncomfortable than oxy).

So after a major operation (like when the surgeon cuts through nerves and bones), you can try to get through the first two-three weeks on Tylenol and grin and bear it or take a pain-killer and just suck it up, knowing that after three or four weeks of a pain killer, you’re going to have an uncomfortable two or three days of withdrawal.

It’s not serious withdrawal — no black snakes on the walls, but for me, my stomach and nerves have always felt funny. I just know that in three or four days, I’ll be myself again, which I am now, even though it’s colder here in Harrisonburg today than I would like.I will have to say, undergoing an operation like this in the midst of COVID does throw an additional hiccup into the game.

Other than my son, who was here for two days, my good and oldest friend, Carl, here for another two days, and my daughter and her family, I am still isolated. I’m practiced at solitude, but I am getting tired of this.Two more weeks and I get my second Moderna! Right now, I’m fully focused on healing so that I can play Pickleball again. I’m biking now and that’s cool.

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