Monday, August 20, 2007

On Codeine

This was a weekend out of time for yours truly, as I spent most of it being laid out on our too-short-be-really-comfortable Ikea Klippan loveseat with "walking pneumonia." If you've never had the chance to experience this lovely ailment, here are some highlights:
  • hacking cough that produces gobs and gobs of white lung mucilage
  • weakness to the point where walking to the kitchen makes you break into a sweat
  • the desire to sleep for twenty out of twenty-four hours
  • no fever, so you think maybe it's all just hangover effects from your wild weekend
When my glands got swollen and sore on Wednesday I figured it was finally time to go see the doc, though I'm sure my work colleagues wished I had gone earlier just so they didn't have to listen to me wheezing and barking around the office, spreading my plague. When the doc saw me on Thursday morning he listened to my chest, felt my glands, and said "what you've got there is a little walking pneumonia." He wrote me a scrip for some antibiotics, and another for codeine cough syrup. As much fun as that might sound, let me tell you, I've never been so glad to be done with something as I am with not having to take that stuff anymore.

My tastes in intoxicants run toward the stimulating and psychedelic rather than the dissassociative - thus, while I have flirted with things white and powdery, and have indulged more heavily in things that make my eyes wobble and put hieroglyphs on my jeans, I've never really been into K, for example, or been tempted by the morphine family. When I got the codeine prescription I thought, "all right, maybe this will be kind of interesting," but what it mostly did was make me super spacey and really, really irritable. Against my doctor's advice I drove on Friday afternoon, undertaking what should have been a ten minute trip to pick up a patio table I bought on craigslist, but which turned into an hour-long excursion in the vicinity of Balboa park as I missed turns, got stuck on the freeway in the wrong direction, and generally cursed the sad state of San Francisco's street engineering (my being on a disorienting drug having nothing to do with any of this). On Saturday the boyfriend and I undertook a trip to Ikea, and when we returned around dinner time I was totally, completely exhausted, not just from the usual Ikea madness, but from having to endure it when I could barely focus on what I was doing there. I had really wanted to make it out to hear The Juan Maclean at The Transfer, but the thought of just getting there, much less hanging out, was more than I could bear.

Sunday I decided to stop taking the stuff entirely, or at least until I was ready for bed. As a result, my spirits improved noticibly. It was an intersting experience; something that makes you feel better, in a way, but which you're glad to be done with at the first opportunity. I had a similar experience last summer when I was given a prescription for Vicodin to help manage my pain after some minor (but painful, oh so painful) surgery. Sure, the pain was tolerable, just as my cough was under control, but the actual effect of the drug was such that I just wanted to be done with it.

I wonder if ther's some aspect of the drug formulations that is designed to do this; to provide the analgesic effect, on the one hand, but to also provide an effect that you are capable of recognizing as deleterious to your overall feeling of well-being, such that you are ready to be done with the drug as soon as you no longer need the analgesic effect. In any case, I can say that after these experiences I feel pretty certain that my individual neurochemistry is not particularly amenable to the disassociative effects of morphine. Given my brain's receptiveness to other molecular combinations, I suppose this is something to be grateful for.

No comments: