Wow. I've been mentioning the fuck out of THE FIFTH HEART by Dan Simmons lately, and while it's a good book (not great), it's been a learning experience. I'm probably going to do a HEY FUCKERS piece on it tomorrow. But the thing that concerns me right now is something else. If you've known me for a while, you're already aware of it. However, if you're new (and I see a lot of new faces around here lately), you have no idea.
A few years ago, I was plagued with a mystery illness, and a year and a month ago, I suffered from organ failure that nearly killed me. In the case of the former, I learned that I had a digestive system that ran a quarter of the speed of everyone else's. In the latter, my pancreas stopped working and nearly killed me.
Because of these two things, I've spent a lot of time in the ER. In addition to that, I've been hospitalized several times. While both issues are unrelated, they have very similar symptoms: constipation, constant pain and constant puking. While being treated for the pain, I was given Vicodin, and I discovered that I'm immune to the recommended dose. I have to triple up on it for it to have any effect on me. Similarly, morphine doesn't even touch the pain I've suffered through. Dilaudid, on the other hand . . .
Dilaudid is very close to heroin. There's heroin, then there's Oxy's, and then there is Dilaudid. I cannot tell you how much I love Dilaudid. When I'm shot up with it . . . wow. As soon as I'm injected, I feel the soothing cloud fill up my heart and lungs, almost burning. It moves on to my head, and then I'm in utter bliss. It's a wonderful feeling. One of the best feelings I've ever had.
Which is why I know I would be an utter junkie if given the opportunity. The first time I learned of Dilaudid's pleasures was a learning experience. I've known junkies in my time, and I never understood them until that moment. Dilaudid took my pain away. It made me feel wonderful. It helped me sleep when I couldn't sleep otherwise. It's my absolute favorite substance ever.
After a while, I healed. The pain went away. But . . . well . . . I fell in love with Dilaudid. I felt compelled to lie about my pain to get my next injection. As soon as I realized what I was doing, I stopped myself. I did not ask for the next injection. Instead, I continued on the healing path until I was back to normal. But all too often, I regretted not asking for one more injection.
Until the next time. And the next time. And the next. Until my organ failure from last year. It still surprises me to realize that since my last injection, I've been fantasizing about my pancreas failing again, just so I can get more Dilaudid. How fucked up is that?
Before I continue, I should note that I've never had heroin. I've had methadone, but it was a complete accident. I was with a woman who was a recovering junkie (at the time). She took her methadone tablets and dissolved them in orange juice. After a long night of passion, I lost track of whose drink belonged to whom, and I accidentally drank her orange juice instead of mine. I found myself on the fast track to hell. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. I'm told that I missed the good part because after I drank the OJ, I went to sleep. When I woke up, I went through the worst sensation of my life, and I hope to never experience it again.
But there I was, reading THE FIFTH HEART, and Sherlock Holmes goes through the process of shooting up heroin. The way Simmons explained it? I'll be damned if it wasn't the same as what I felt when the nurses shot me up with Dilaudid. I'm certain that Simmons went through something similar in his own life, his description was that good. It brought back an instant craving. I almost convinced myself that I felt that cloud building up in my torso.
I wanted to go back to the ER, to tell them that I was in pain, just to get a shot of Dilaudid. My insurance would cover it. Easy-peasy. But . . . for $10, I could get a bag of dope in the city. I could probably do it on my own, but if I couldn't, I know people who could help me out. I even know people who could shoot me up, so I wouldn't have to figure out how to do it myself.
It would be so easy that it scared me. I'm very sensible, and I know that such thoughts would eventually lead to my destruction. I knew enough to stop myself. Don't worry. I'm not actually going to seek the shit out. But at the same time, it's shocking how much I crave it.
I recently went through dental surgery, and I have a full bottle of Vicodin. When I convinced myself not to try for the other shit, I realized that if I tripled up on the recommended dose of Vicodin, I could feel something similar. But no, I didn't do that, either.
I think that's proof that I'm not a junkie. The argument could be made that I am, if only because I feel that craving, but I think I've got myself under control, at least in that area. Fast food and caffeine, on the other hand? I still can't see myself living without that shit. I've got to work on that. But opiates? No. I don't think I have a problem. Although . . . I COULD have a problem in the future. I've just got to be wary.
I've been known to say that I'd rather deal with an addiction later than pain now. That's still true. But I've seen junkies, and I'd rather not be like that. It's frightening. The woman I mentioned earlier? I remember waking up in the same bed as her, and it would be shaking like a cheap motel vibrating mattress because she hadn't had her fix.
I don't want to be like that. But I know I could be like that. So . . . maybe I should stay away from ER's . . .