Upon being stoned for two weeks

After praising the pain-killing and mood-elevating qualities of marijuana in my last post, I cut my Naproxen (an anti-inflammatory) by half and my Neurontin (a painkiller) by two-thirds. I also doubled the intensity of my twice a day workout. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the pain came roaring back, and the marijuana couldn’t stop it. Why do I never see these things coming? As soon as I feel even a little better, I go overboard and lay myself low for days or even weeks.

So then, have I stopped the pot? No because it still helps. One hit will leave me stoned for hours, so I take eight during the course of a night, and am stoned all the next day. As with narcotics, the principal benefit of marijuana isn’t that it has the power to eliminate any and all pain, but that it has the power to make the pain easier to bear (lying awake high all night is definitely preferable to lying awake sober). Alongside the pain, I’m working on attitude, and the pot is helping with that too. How? I’ll enumerate.

Peggy. Peggy is not a person to complain until a situation is really bad, and she recently told one of my doctors that my unhappiness was making things very hard for her. Now that I’m smoking pot, she’s okay, I think—with Peggy, it’s often hard to tell. In any event, she seems happy, and we haven’t had a fight since my first puff. Marijuana undeniably softens me… I should mention that there have been two things in our 39-year marriage that nearly sunk the ship as far as Peggy was concerned. One was my womanizing, and the other was marijuana. Yet, if I stopped smoking today, she would no doubt tie me to a chair and force the smoke down my throat with a leafblower.

Music. I want to listen to it—I ordered Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Dan Fogelberg just today. Instead of walking into a room and finding me listening to the latest news of Syria or to talk about the Republican contenders for the presidential election a year and a half from now, Peggy walked in today to find me crying over Shakira (Donde estas Corazon). I simply don’t want to hear up to the minute news regarding horrible things that I can do absolutely nothing about except feel depressed and powerless. The question is, why did I ever?

Other people. I’ve become suddenly fascinated by the stories that others have to tell—and I will approach almost anyone. Before pot, my conversations were usually short with me doing much of the talking. Now, they’re long, and I hardly open my mouth. I’m quite amazed by how voluble people are once I stop talking about myself, and ask them about themselves. People who I never even liked simply won’t shut up, and, surprisingly, I’m okay with that.

Anger and depression. I spend a lot more time angry than depressed, but much of both have dropped away. I’m finally having to admit that I will probably suffer from some degree of pain and disability for the rest of my life, and I have concluded that (a) I can live with that, and (b) there are no magic bullets; there are simply various things that are useful to various degrees. Pain and disability are only half the problem. Railing against life’s unfairness is the other half, and I’m so tired of being angry that I simply can’t continue. I’ve done the best I could, and I respect myself for it, but now I am finding the strength to believe that I can do better, and I thank pot for that because I was wound too tight to unwind myself.

Directness. It’s scary, the things I say. The pot makes me too open, too willing to risk rejection. Yet, there is something frighteningly beautiful about that. It’s like art, music, and visiting the woods, in that I love it so much I had rather die prematurely than to live without it. Pot used to close doors for me because it made me so paranoid that I couldn’t function around other people—and I don’t just mean appropriately; I mean at all. Now, pot that is far stronger than what I smoked in the old days is opening doors. Go figure.

*The illustration for this post is by Maf04. One way that such art captures the psydelic experience is by inducing a sense of disequilibrium. Of course, with art, all one has to do is to look away.


Kay Dennison said...

Wow!!!! This is amazing!!! I liked the curmudgeon you were but I like your changes, too. It's really interesting how all this has changed you and your perspective!!! Peggy is probably in shock! Two of the hardest things about catastrophic illness are acceptance and anger and it sure looks like the pot really helped with both. I am glad you're doing okay these days!

The Elephant's Child said...

Really happy for you that you are still getting some relief from the pain, and that Peggy is getting some relief too. Long may both continue.

The Tusk said...

Dan Fogelberg one of my first albums, saw him live in New Haven, with one of my first girlfriends. There was an opening band if I recall correctly it was fools gold. Then I bought Frank Zappa One Size Fits All and Joan Baez. Blessed Are, A double album must if you can find it,

Also my keepsake namesake Fleetwood Mac Double Album "Tusk". Are you going to stay or are you going away. I believe these are the words asked by a famous american news commentator to the pope on a parade route, when he had met him for the first time. The pope was newly elected. I don't know the correlation of the two but the album came out the same time the question was asked.

Yessongs not to bad either.

Beau's Mom said...

Is marijuana like narcotics? Do you have to take more and more as time passes?

How I wish I could join you in an evening of lessening pain.

I could welcome some mellowness...pain makes one VERY angry and VERY depressed with a total lack of patience thrown in)

By your post, it would "seem" better to take advantage of your marijuana situation and come down slowly from the meds. There is such a backlash when you cut down on pain meds as dramatically as you did.

So, you're suffering backlash, but the marijuana is helping. Maybe spread the narcotics out between marijuana hits to extend the pain relief. Then wean yourself.

Pain makes us "all or nothing" people doesn't it.

Uh...is Peggy adverse to trying some? I mean, living with you - she could use some mellow time too!

(joking, but we all have to think of Peggy too!)

love you, mean or mellow.

ellen abbott said...

all reasons I continue to smoke pot to this day. people who don't smoke pot, have never and believe all the mis-information put out there by the war on drugs just don't get how beneficial it really is. those of who smoke are not puffing on humongous joints all day long. one, two, three hits along the course of a day or in the evening is all you need. I'm glad it is helping you.

now, when you start feeling better, just enjoy the freedom from pain and don't push yourself into it again by being overactive. increase your activity a little bit at a time.

Natalie said...

Welcome to the beauty of humanity my friend.xx

nollyposh said...

But i've always seen you like this Snow... Perhaps the computer screen is a filter of some kind?
Have you heard of this: "DMSO"? (For pain relief) i just received an email about it...
i'm sure the truth is that Peggy loves you warts and all, cranky or not so... Just like we all do X:-)

Mim said...

I'm putting my husband on pot - if nothing else than to NOT listen to the TV fools.

Keep on keepin on Snow

Putz said...

i am such a namby pamby mormon and here i am pen pal to a druggie<>><<>well one that has to be drugged to be somewhat painless which in my mind is purly medical and ok by me and i am thinking my church would allow just medicinal purposes as this as ok<><><>now for the womanizing,.><<>ifin you could convince me that that was also for medicinal purposes then you will have me won over for good<>either that or you could come over to my side and convert

Marion said...

Do me a big favor and send a copy of this email to all legislators and doctors in Louisiana so they'll legalize medical MJ. I'm so glad to hear you're doing better, Snow. I get a contact high, still, just listening to Pink Floyd. Great stuff!

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

You certainly "sound" a lot better!

WHY did you double your workout intensity!!! Take it easy... GRADUAL increases!!

The Bipolar Diva said...

You sound wonderful, I'm happy for that. I wonder if pot helps bipolar? hmmmm....

Snowbrush said...

Nollyposh asked: "Have you heard of this: "DMSO"? (For pain relief)..."

It's an industrial solvent that some equestrians favor as a liniment for horses. I tried it on at least one of my shoulders but got no relief, and was too put off by reports of toxic effects to experiment extensively.

Diva asked: "I wonder if pot helps bipolar?"

A brief Google search turned up opposing views. Maybe you should try it.

River said...

I overdo the working too. (not working out, just working. at work)
Sometimes I double up on the codeine so I'm feeling no pain, so of course I work too hard and too fast, then when I'm home and the codeine wears off, I really feel like I've been hit by a truck. I'm probably better off taking the regular dose so I can still feel the aching which makes me work slower and more carefully. But I really love the "no pain" days I sometimes give myself.

The Blog Fodder said...

Dana is right about cutting back too fast on drugs causing a backlash. Hope you get it sorted out. Glad to hear the MJ is working for you and that Peggy is getting a break too.
Anger and depression are part and parcel of the same. My anti-depressants don't do a thing for me but when I take them other people don't act like complete assholes all the time.

rhymeswithplague said...

I'm not doctor and I'm not giving medical advice, but it seems to me that what you need to do to get back to your happy place is the reverse of what you said in the first paragraph of this post:

1. Double your Naproxen.
2. Triple your Neurontin.
3. Cut the intensity of your workout by half.
4. Quit "going overboard" from now on.

This will put you back where you were unless you haven't told us something.

kj said...

snow, did your doctor know you were planning to cut down your meds so quickly and so dramatically? moderation, my friend, followed by temperance :^)

i never have the lasting effects you describe, snow, those that spill over to my next day. some potency. but to see the world in a different way: to have your senses react and appreciate differently, to feel light: all good.

i hope you have more and more enjoyment. i can't think of anything--nothing--more important.


Teresa said...

Hi Snow,
So glad that you have found some relief! And that Peggy is happy! I never smoked pot. I went to a party when I was a teenager, where everyone was just sitting around stoned. They thought they were having a good time, but mostly they were just sitting there. I got bored of them and left. I suppose with drugs, the party goes on in your mind. However, most of our reality goes on in our mind anyhow. I think.
(((HUGS))) T

Snowbrush said...

KJ asked: "snow, did your doctor know you were planning to cut down your meds so quickly and so dramatically?"

No. KJ, I've found that doctors rarely have much to offer for pain relief. If you can't tolerate narcotics (or, as in my case, they've quit working after years of being on them), then you're just screwed as far as doctors are concerned (I know that people who lack my experience will have trouble believing how bad doctors are at pain control). I did see one pain specialist, and he did put me on Neurontin, which is pretty good stuff, actually, but not nearly good enough since I built up a rapid tolerance to it, and soon ended up taking massive doses. Thanks to the pot, I can now get by on a lesser dosage. I am really the only authority about what works for pain, how much exercise is enough, etc., and, yes, I do screw things up a lot, but it's not because I'm reckless. If I didn't increase my workout, I wouldn't make progress, but sometimes I do increase it too much. Maybe another person would see the problem coming far enough in advance to avoid it. I often don't. Believe me, if I did, I would cut back in time because when I overdo, the result is not just a day or two of soreness, but weeks of significant pain.

All Consuming said...

"the problem. Railing against life’s unfairness is the other half, and I’m so tired of being angry that I simply can’t continue. I’ve done the best I could, and I respect myself for it, but now I am finding the strength to believe that I can do better, and I thank pot for that because I was simply wound too tight to unwind myself." And that's what happened to me. That's why I'm not so angry about things that used to drive me nuts. I'm glad you feel better and it's very good for Peggy that you're able to chill out. Putz you kill me - ">now for the womanizing,.><<>ifin you could convince me that that was also for medicinal purposes then you will have me won over for good>>" Hahaha. xxx

Saracide said...

I am glad that you are finding some relief with the MJ. It is such a wonderful thing! I have seen so many people benefit from it.

Unfortunately, it is not legal here. But I do know from experience that it does help alleviate a lot of my anxiety, depression, and anger. I can actually relax and enjoy life. I do miss it, and I love hearing about your experience with it.

Snowbrush said...

Natalie said: "Welcome to the beauty of humanity my friend."

Bah, humbug!

Beau's Mom asked: "Is marijuana like narcotics? Do you have to take more and more as time passes? "

Not that I've heard, but of course if you did, at least you wouldn't find yourself lying in bed wondering if you were about to die--I just hate doing that.

Rhymes said: "This will put you back where you were unless you haven't told us something."

You heard about the bungee jumping, I assume.

Saracide said: "Unfortunately, it is not legal here."

Has it been decriminalized though, and are the cops bullish about enforcing the marijuana laws? I only care about the law for two reasons: one is that illegal marijuana is damn expensive and often of dubious origin; the second is that Peggy is a nurse, and I'm hesitant to have any illegal drug anywhere near her for fear that she might get caught up in something that she had nothing to do with.

Linda said...

Wednesday I went to see the physical therapist for the first time. I was astounded at how much better my knee was when I left. I attribute much of this to the good kind energy of the entire department. The people were kind, smiling, caring, and knew what they were doing--healing. This is my first experience with real pain, and I couldn't believe how uncaring, unsensitive, and sometimes plain old mean the doctors and staff were in the rest of the hospital.
I think when doctors don't know how to treat pain, they might show some compassion and if they are incapable of caring, they should know someone to send you to who can care.
I apologize for the tirade here but this entire experience left me in a bit of shock thinking of what the future may hold.
MJ is illegal here in Oklahoma of course, but when my health becomes worse, I will smoke it regardless.
Okay. After all that, Snow, I am happy to hear the MJ still helps, and btw, Peggy sounds like a pretty darn good woman. You are lucky to have her!

kj said...

not to have the last word, snow, but some meds should be tapered off slowly, for safety reasons.

i agree with you about doctors and inability to help with pain. they're not too good with nutrition either.

have a good weekend, my friend.


Snowbrush said...

Linda said: "I couldn't believe how uncaring, unsensitive, and sometimes plain old mean the doctors and staff were...

I know! It's like everything you've been told to believe about how caring and highly trained professionals are deeply concerned with keeping you alive, was a lie. Linda, I'm sure you suspect as much, but physical therapists aren't exempt. You just lucked out.

KJ said: "not to have the last word, snow..."

Go ahead, try it! Ha.

KJ said: "some meds should be tapered off slowly..."

Yeah, been there, done that. Experienced every withdrawal symptom but thrashing about the floor while trying to crush hallucinatory piranha with my nose.

rhymeswithplague said...

I would pay good money to see you try to crush hallucinatory piranha with your nose. Have you heard of America's Got Talent?

Marion said...

Wow! What an awesome post! I'm so happy for you, Snow...you've struggled for so long.

When I have a really good day, with less pain, I go hell bent for leather, knowing full well I will pay for it the next day. It doesn't matter...it still feels so good to work without howling pain.

I received a comment from you, Snow, which made no sense...the letters were every which way. But I believe you had a question in it regarding inhalers, but I don't know what it might have been, as I couldn't read all of it. Please email me at mysteahag@gmail.com if it was something important.

I love this sentence.."(b) there are no magic bullets; there are simply various things that are useful to various degrees." xx

annell said...

Very interesting. I think you have it right. Hope you are feeling better...

Saracide said...

It has not been decriminalized here, unfortunately. And really, I do not care about that fact either - I am sure I could easily get it, as I know plenty of tokers - but my fiance is a nurse as well, and I am a CNA. Neither of us are willing to risk our jobs for it.
I just wish Idaho would get with it and legalize it for medical purposes! Ron has gastroparesis and Crohn's. This was not diagnosed until after he stopped smoking MJ, and even the doctors told him that was why - because it alleviates the symptoms.

Gaston Studio said...

Peggy should be glad that your reaction to MJ is a mellowness instead of something less desirable. Cool, snow!

Joe Todd said...

Sounds good Snow.. Got a link for you on one of your favorite subjects.. http://bustergammons.blogspot.com/2011/06/buster-gammons-history-of-religion.html

Robert the Skeptic said...

You and I are of the same generation but honestly, I've never smoked pot in my life. Used anything not given to me by prescription. Always afraid to put something in my body obtained from someone who would be arrested if caught.

I hope you get a handle on that pain. Now asy to live.

Just_because_today said...

Damn, Snow! I'll buy it, I'll buy it! Just look at what I have been missing! Actually, I've never smoked pot and never did drugs, there is a reason behind that conscious decision, and it will make it to my blog one day. But I am sure my friends and family would like me ten times better (or at least a bit) if I could derive all of these benefits from it.
Hey, if it makes you feel good and you don't hurt anyone, go for it.

Phoenix said...

It's fascinating to read all these changes that are going on with you, and as long as a majority of them stay positive, I am all for it. And, hell, I can't listen to the news sober anymore either.

julie said...

Pink Floyd Pulse

I love the image of you, Peggy and a leaf-blower...lol