Saturday, May 03, 2014

Constipated hangover

One of the least pleasant aspects of taking codeine for knee pain, aside from its failure to fully ameliorate the pain, is the constipation that follows in its wake. Usually I can tolerate it. However, one day this week the constipation doubled down with a wicked codeine hangover, and I was truly miserable.

This happened because the day before, I took more codeine than I usually do. I'd like to think it was just because the weather has been so up and down, wreaking havoc on my knee joints. But truth be told, I had a very stressful week. I thought that after I left this job I'd feel unadulterated joy. Instead, it's hitting me that I'm really going to miss some of my counselors and patients, especially one patient that just made a very difficult decision with my encouragement. I want to see how that plays out, but I can't. I'm leaving.

So even though I took some codeine in the morning, I also took some in the evening, hoping for stress relief and a little boost of joy as well as pain relief. The next day, I had a horrendous headache, nausea, and general shakiness. My knees were killing me, but I was afraid to take more codeine. I spent a dreadful day in the clinic and was grateful for quitting time.

After several days of constipation, I felt like I was going to explode. Commuting home from work on the subway and bus was torture. The lights were too bright. Voices and noises too loud. Lurching in my seat, I was afraid I'd vomit. And pressure was building in a very delicate area of my anatomy.

The walk home from the train station is about two blocks. Every step jarred. I focused on my breathing, which was labored after painfully walking up the subway stairs to street level. Breathe in, breathe out, I thought. Almost home.

Things came to a head in the head, so to speak. When I finally sat on the toilet... nothing came out. Despite rocking back and forth, squeezing, straining, pushing, grunting, groaning, panting, etc. I started to feel like I was in labor. There was a tremendous need to expel a large mass, but nothing was moving.

My forehead was sweating. My legs, braced on the bathroom floor, were trembling. The pain waxed and waxed; it didn't wane. "Urggggghhhhh!" Another push. "AAAAAAAAAAAAkh!" Dammit. Hesitantly, desperately, I reached down to check on my progress. Nothing. It felt like a large kettleball had been installed inside me, and I couldn't push it out. I leaned back, shaking.

There was only one thing I could do. If Bobby Brown could do it for Whitney Houston, so could I. Clawing desperately inside myself, I managed to break up the mass. After a few more painful pushes, releasing a pitiful few little scraps, I finally shoved out what felt like 15 pounds of crap of varying textures and densities that clogged the toilet decisively. My hands were covered with blood and shit. I washed them and then lay down for a few hours.

So I don't think I'll ever take codeine twice in a day again. I can't imagine taking this stuff every day. Taking drugs really is a sickness, if this is one of the consequences.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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