Up Your Nose With A Rubber Hose

March 8, 2016 at 10:10 am (Cosmic Encounters, That's not funny...)

Snot Unusual

Snot Unusual

I have gone from thrill-seeker to pill-seeker.

I originally intended this to be a light-hearted, humorous look at getting high with medication. As time has gone on, it’s become a more serious subject for me. One has to pay attention to all those warnings. You can say, “It won’t happen to me,” but it does. Every fucking time. I’ve been through it with alcohol, and watched Rain’s battles with heroin, so I kinda knew what to expect if things got out of hand.

Things didn’t get out of hand, until they did…

It would be simple to blame doctors or dentists, or the local guy on the corner, about why I need pills. Truth is, I doubt I really ever needed them. Since age thirty I have been eating 1200 mgs of ibuprofen every morning to get out of bed. I inherited arthritis, bursitis and probably a couple other ‘itis’es from old parents and foolish choices made early in life. (Don’t jump out of trees and off roofs when you are a 250-lb 12-year-old.) But that took care of me for the longest time, and it still does. Rain spends part of her legal-drug allotment to buy me economy-sized jars at Rite-Aid, as well as Flonase. After fifteen years with a constantly running nose, I have found something that works. Rain was a love and spent the $26 on Flonase, the only reason I’d balked at trying it. (I hate being dependent on drugs, despite what I might brag about here.) It’s been working like a charm, when I don’t have oxy powder up there.

I have bragged about not snorting anything since 1996, when I gave up occasional cocaine and nearly full-time use of crystal meth. I LOVED chopping and snorting lines of meth. I’d line the stainless steel counters in the back room of the store I worked at in the ’90s, huff it up, then drink a six-pack of Olde English 800 “to relax.” I got lots of work done, but it went from one night a week, to two nights a week, to every work night, so I could sleep my weekend away. After a near-death experience I gave it up, the white powders. It took another year or two, and several attempts, but alcohol was soon to follow in retirement. Seeing what meth is like these days, I have no interest in going back. Cocaine? Pfft. I wish I could afford a coke problem.

Opiates are another story. I discovered early on that they mix well with medical marijuana, particularly edibles and drinks. A half-bottle of Vitonic and a couple Vicodin, good for the night. A shot or two of medicated cough syrup and 20 mgs of oxycodone? We’re getting stuff done! Freight day is almost fun!

It was like that for a couple years. The hernia got me started on oxys. The toothaches got me Vicodins. For a couple years I milked the medical system as much as possible, while hitting up friends and acquaintances post-surgery or otherwise boo-boo’ed. I was nice, always throwing in the disclaimer, “Not if you need them…” but the look in my eyes must have said it all. “Come across with the fucking pills or I’m gonna cut your fucking head off.”

Back when Meg and I were still friends, she had neighbors getting morphine pills they didn’t use. They would much rather drink, smoke meth, or cut to the chase and “do the black”, heroin. I developed a couple good business relationships, until one got busted by her doctor for smoking crack, the other disappearing in the middle of the night without a word. (He still owes me $55.) That went on for probably a year. Not going crazy, just one or two pills to get through the second half of the shift, to keep my feet from hurting. It made the walk to the bus downright enjoyable!

Enjoyable might be an understatement. I began planning for it. I couldn’t wait for the fucking clock to get past lunchtime, then lunchtime, then an hour before lunchtime, then work time, then an hour before work time, then ‘hurry up and finish your coffee so you can take a pill so your shower is fun’ time. I would awake, drudging my time in the morning until it was pill time.

I managed to keep this pace for a couple years. I’d read up on addiction, but wasn’t really suffering side-effects. Ibuprofen killed the real pain, after a night on my feet they would throb. The earlier I ate the pills, the better my outlook toward work.

But. Getting through the day became maintenance drugging. I began making foolish choices. Transactions on dimly lit street corners, with heaven knows who watching. I had tiny nightmares about being seen on the news making hand-to-hands on the Ave. The drug world is a seedy place, and sometimes you have to venture into the belly of the beast. I would walk past the hangouts, always good for a $5 or ten. That five or $10 adds up, but not if you aren’t buying groceries. Drugs can be cheaper than food.

One day I was scheduled for a day shift at the Mothership. On deck at 9 AM. We all know how much I love working early in the morning. I decided to make the best of it, and stashed two 15 mg morphine tabs to get through the day. When my break came, and I took off for the bathroom, I couldn’t find the little baggie with the two pills. Oh SHIT! Did I drop it in Grinder’s office? Is it laying on the floor? I went into near panic, not because of these very good reasons, but because I couldn’t find my fucking pills.

After sweating, literally and figuratively all day, I found them at home on my desk, right where I left them. Good news! The panic is over, and I’ve got another day’s dose for work!

That was my wake-up call. I hated that helpless feeling. I have been a pot-smoker my whole life, but have managed (with measured successes) my habits that lead down the wrong path. I kept my dealings as legal as possible, using matching pill bottles with my name etc… Still, I was letting the habit do the driving. I may give up weed some day, but that isn’t my problem. I can go eight ours without a bong hit. But some days I can’t go ten more minutes if my pill guy doesn’t show up.

My consumption, and cravings, stayed steady. It wasn’t easy. It reminded me of when I drank and smoked on a minimum wage salary. You cut back all but the absolute necessities, and learn to manipulate those. I’d been doing it for years with Rain; once she moved out I almost had extra money. Me getting high wasn’t such a challenge!

Then one night, as I sat alone behind the register, crabby as fuck with sore legs, shoulders and most importantly a sore mind, in walks one of my solid connections. “Sorry bud, all I’ve got is an oxy 5. Think that’ll tide you over until tomorrow?”

“It’ll have to.” I gave him five bucks, and waited for lunchtime.

Hot Rails To Hell

Hot Rails To Hell

Knowing a five-milligram oxy would do little to nothing if I ate it, I took it to the bathroom, crushed it and snorted it like the good old days.

Vavoom!

I had been wasting a lot of milligrams by not snorting this shit.

Another upside to snorting? The powder was drying up my overworked sinuses! Plus, anything that didn’t inhale properly got taken down with a couple of gargly-sounding inhales. I started doing this about the time Rain gave me the Flonase. Now, to add to the guilt of snorting shit, I’ve got to fib to Rain as to why I hadn’t started using the Flonase. I wasn’t sure how the two would interact up there.

After a couple of days, I decided to do some internet research on the downside of snorting. Besides the interior nasal damage, it hits the addiction triggers much harder, leading to dependence at a much higher rate. Yeah, well, I been doing this for a couple years now, and I’m managing just fine.

Except I wasn’t. The days the money ran out, or my dealers ran out, were the worst. I would bide time until the next big pill day. I knew the monthly rotations, when to expect dry spells, and how to protect the supply. There’s a twelve-step phrase for ya. I would almost pay ridiculous prices, but common sense and poverty would win out. Barely. I would grin and bear it.

After I started snorting them, it became harder and harder to bear. I began feeling a depression I hadn’t felt since my teen years, or in the darkest days of alcohol withdrawal. How will I get through the day? How will I tolerate scumbag after scumbag as they repeatedly run their scams on me? How will I find the energy to meet the workday and the public with the joy and zeal I felt after some vitamin water and an oxy pink? Are the happy days behind me?

I Googled oxycodone/opiate withdrawal. Symptoms?

Chronic pain conditions
Poor mental and physical health
Depressive disorders
Anxiety disorders
Bipolar disorder
Schizophrenia
Substance abuse disorders
Antisocial personality disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder

Shit. I have most of those. I didn’t used to.

It was time to make hard choices. So I planned for a few days off, and went into hiding. It’s been three days, and the symptoms of withdrawal are fading. I’m getting panicky texts from my dealers. I haven’t given them the bad news yet, but considering the time of the month nothing will be happening for a few days anyway. Sorry, guys. No more easy mark.

And each day I stay away, the easier it is to face the day. So bear with me if I seem a little crabby or out of sorts.

I can’t afford rehab. That’s for real drug addicts. If you’re fantasizing about kiddie porn or practicing necrophilia, get to a doctor. You’re sick. If it involves getting up in the morning and not taking a fucking pill, I can do that. It’s been a few days now, and I’m all right. I don’t feel like I’m gonna die every few minutes. More importantly, I don’t feel like I want to die. It was when I caught myself thinking about suicide that I decided it was time for a change. (If you knew how anti-suicide I am, you would understand. I hate suicide more than Art East hates the lottery.

Again, I am all right. This morning, I’m downright feisty. Tomorrow’s my day off. I’m gonna see if I can get Rain to come over and help me clean my room.

Without scoring some pain pills first.

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