Fentanyl

So, I go to the doc, and I say, doc, I want a prescription for Fentanyl, and he says, okay, since your life won't ever contain anything but misery anyway, you’ve got it. Then I say that I don’t want some candy-ass dose, I want enough to know that I’ve taken something, and he says I needn't worry my pretty little head about that.

I pick up my Fentanyl—which I’ve never had—and I stick one those 50 microgram per hour patches (Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine, and is measured in micrograms rather than milligrams) onto my belly, and sit down to read the directions. Shit, I discover, this dosage is the equivalent of 68-112 mgs of oxycodone, an amount that I should think would almost certainly kill me. Reading on down, I find that, yes indeed, if I haven’t been taking that much oxycodone day and night for at least a week, Fentanyl will hit me about as hard as a ten pound horseshoe (this was underlined and in bold letters, only without the part about the horseshoe). Whoa! I hardly ever take oxycodone or any other narcotic anymore simply because I’m unwilling to keep piling ever higher doses of dangerous drugs into my body, yet here I am with enough Fentanyl on my belly to, to, what? –kill a horse. Yeah, that’s it; kill a horse. I consider ripping that patch off right then and there, but I first run what I had read by Peggy (my resident nurse who was doing a Sudoku at the time); she doesn’t seem alarmed.

Okay, I remind myelf, I told the doctor what drugs I take, and Peggy knows what drugs I take, yet neither of them are worried, so, unless they’re trying to kill me so they can run away together, maybe I shouldn’t be worried either. I am though. I’m real worried, but I don’t want to take the patch off because the first commandment of my religion forbids the waste of good dope. Since it takes up to 24 hours to achieve maximum absorption, I figure that, well, I’ll just see how I’m feeling as the night passes, and with that happy thought, I go to bed. After five minutes, I can’t handle the fear anymore, so I get back up and use some pointed scissors to cut the patch in half while it’s still glued to my belly (carefully saving the half I removed). It looks solid—like a little sheet of plastic—so I figure what could be the harm since there’s nothing to leak out?

I go back to bed and congratulate myself on my sagacity, my perspicacity, and even my pederasty, but I don’t go to sleep because I’m way too happy to waste the night sleeping. Life has gone from ho-hum to highest heaven in less than an hour because of that little bity patch. Oh, but do I ever love Fentanyl! Forget sex, fame, money, power, luxury, and even food; all I will ever want and need from this day forward is Fentanyl. Take ten years off my life (or whatever I have left), but don’t take my Fentanyl. Yeah baby! I lie in bed certain that, having found such joy, I’ll never lose it—I’ve been down that road a few times by now.

I woke up around noon (I did sleep some) feeling sort of ground down, and, as Peggy and I had our morning cuddle, I told her about cutting the patch in half, more or less expecting her to praise me for my prudence. Instead, she flipped out, which pissed me off since she didn’t have a word to say the previous night when I told her I was wearing a drug patch strong enough to kill 50 Navy Seals. I then called the pharmacy to prove to my wife that she was wrong (that’s important in a marriage even when the issue isn’t anywhere near as important as a drug overdose). To my horror, the pharmacist—who was also a woman—flipped out too, and said I was lucky to be alive—dumbass that I am—because, although the patch looks solid, it’s not, and this means that I was still at risk of dumping three day’s worth of Fetanyl into my bloodstream all at once. Upon hearing this, I ripped that patch off like it was a rabid rhino, and then I sat down to finish reading the directions. They informed me that, in case of an overdose, I could be at risk of respiratory failure for 24-hours (this isn’t a drug that comes on all at once, so I didn’t trust myself to know if I had overdosed or not), and that I should be under intense observation. So, I observed myself, intensely. As bad as that marijuana trip was two weeks ago, I now looked back upon it with a certain nostalgia because never once during that long night did I worry about being dead before the sun came up again.

43 comments:

kylie said...

snow i love the way you are so careful with meds but are you sure you were in mortal danger from the beginning?

Snowbrush said...

I don't know, but what's your problem anyway? You read my last and extremely heart-rending post, and you said it was funny. So, okay, I think that since Kylie likes to laugh, I'll write a funny post this time, so she won't get a hernia trying to force a laugh at a non-funny post. And now all you can think about is whether I might have died from the outset, or if I would needed to have waited a day or so. You're a very bad sheila.

kylie said...

my problem? well if you wanna know....

i got a hernia and now i'm gonna sue ya

The Elephant's Child said...

Oops. A quandry. It sounds like a lovely, lovely drug, and I want some. Not sure about the overdosing risk though. All digits crossed that you don't have a respiratory arrest (or any other sort).

TICKLEBEAR said...

how do you manage to make a serious situation into a funny story? tampering with the membrane of the patch is an insult to the patent on that thing. years of research went into this to control the release of any drug served in a patch...

silly you!!
glad you survived the ordeal.
you forgot to blame the pharmacist and that is a crucial error. she should have made sure with you that you knew how to use this and answer any question you might have about the product.

but reading this, i had a vivid image in my mind of the doctor and the nurse marrying literally over your grave, the arch covered with flowers, butterflies and birds in abundance, the bride holding a bouquet of forget-me-nots...

that'll be for some other time now, i guess...
:D~
HUGZ

Snowbrush said...

Child said: " It sounds like a lovely, lovely drug, and I want some. Not sure about the overdosing risk though."

Would it be worth a plane ticket from Australia to pick up mine?

Ticklebear said: "you forgot to blame the pharmacist and that is a crucial error. she should have made sure with you that you knew how to use this and answer any question you might have about the product."

That could have taken a day and a half considering how long the written directions, dire warnings, and equivalency tables are. No, I don't blame the pharmacist. Now, if I had actually read the directions up front, I still wouldn't have gotten any idea from them that the patch couldn't be cut by me (as opposed to arriving damaged by who knows what, when, and how), and that would have really pissed me off if I had ended up in the hospital. What you said about the years behind creating that film is true, I suppose, but how sad it seems that a committee of writers can foul up the work of all those scientists and engineers by not giving explicit directions.

Ranch Chimp said...

Well SB ... it was an interesting read, because I dont know a thing about these drug's the oxycotin (spelling?) thing I have heard of only on the street's because it's so much in high demand, but for getting high, never heard of the fentanyl (spelling?). I used drug's quite frequently when I was younger as I stated before, but it was recreational and addiction. Other than that, I dont have any, or any prescription's or whatever, I dont do too much of anything these day's and been year's since I smoked pot even (I'm 55 year's old) What kind of "illness" do you have that require's all the drug use?

Marion said...

Snow, I did the same thing once before I quit the Fentanyl because it just wasn't helping me. The doctor had a cow when I told him I'd cut it in half. There are lawyers getting rich from class action suits against these patches, people OD'ing from cutting them. I'm glad you and I both didn't leave for never-never land. xo

Linda said...

Sadly, I don't normally find much to laugh at since my sense of humor is so warped, but this post is so funny that I actually laughed out loud a few times.

So much for common sense. I would have done the same thing--cut it in half, like cutting a pill in half when you're unsure what it's going to do to you. You would think they would say not to tamper with the patch or cut it up in the warning things. Anyway, Fentanyl is nice but god, what a price you would pay if you kept taking it.

Stafford Ray said...

Send the other half.

Beau's Mom said...

Well, Snow: Ask and ye shall receive. You asked for the strongest...

As for reading the accompanying literature, go to the internet so you don't have to read the chemical structure, and all the other boring details, etc. And you can always hit CTRL and the "+" sign to make the words larger on the computer.

And IF your marijuana is making you paranoid...please don't read what it does to breast milk. I wouldn't want you cutting off a nipple or two.

I'm just wondering, after double-dosing yourself with different pain killers and assortments of pain killers, why you happened to fear this one in particular? They all have dire warnings.

Snowbrush said...

Ranch Chimp asked: What kind of "illness" do you have that require's all the drug use?

Intense pain in both shoulders that three surgeries hasn't helped.

Beau's Mom asked: after double-dosing yourself with different pain killers and assortments of pain killers, why you happened to fear this one in particular? They all have dire warnings.

The only painkiller I ever overdosed on was Demerol, but that was because the wrong dosage was ordered (by another doctor). I have taken more than the prescribed dose of oxycodone but only after being sure it was safe to do so (the prescribed dose was a starting dose of 5-10 mgs, and I had built up too much of a tolerance to even notice I had taken anything). I actually consider myself to be cautious in regard to drugs that can kill me. This post reports my only serious departure from my usual prudence.

rhymeswithplague said...

My problem, Snow, is that I don't know any more whether a post of yours is supposed to be funny or extremely heart-rending.

Can it be both simultaneously?

All Consuming said...

The moral of the tale is...always ask your wife before you take any important decisions. She probably knows when it'd be better for you to have a shit.

" so, unless they’re trying to kill me so they can marry one another, maybe I shouldn’t be worried either. I am though. I’m real worried, but I don’t want to take the patch off because the first commandment of my religion forbids the waste of good dope." - HAHAHAHAHA, this has me falling about. Send me some of your drugs right now.

Snowbrush said...

Rhymes asked: I don't know any more whether a post of yours is supposed to be funny or extremely heart-rending. Can it be both simultaneously?

Yes, my friend. It worries me that people might become confused about what's real and what's not. Except for the words that I put into people's mouths, this post was nearly all real. It's supposed to be funny, yet I might very well have died. The last post was serious all the way through, yet Kylie, at least, found humor in it, and I can see how she could. I'm happy for people to laugh at what I write no matter what my intention was. I'm more concerned when I'm knocking myself out to be funny, and people just don't get. That's the price of humor, though, no matter who the humorist is. Humor is like everything else in that people's tastes differ dramatically.

Mim said...

Maybe go back to the pot in a more controlled manner?

The Bipolar Diva said...

Thank goodness you're ok. That is some potent stuff!

Saracide said...

I'm glad you are okay.

On that note, I was reading this last night and had to share it with my nurse fiance, and we both were laughing hysterically. Laughing... not at you, of course, but.. well yes. You're quite the interesting person, I must say! And I love your writing. Love it.

Lorraina said...

What i've observed is the trouble with mj is that very quickly it's not good enough and users move on to something more dangerous (usually cocaine)which gets the user into trouble and then mj gets all the flack which makes it harder to find for those who might really appreciate it.
Ditto these pain patches which once the users cut 'em, heat 'em suck on 'em or otherwise abuse them and they die of an o'd; soon they won't be available to those who really need them and who wouldn't abuse the priviledge. Round and round it goes and i didn't find your post funny in the least.
Hers something i googled:

Fentanyl overdose can occur from using a patch that has been cut, damaged or tampered with in any way. Discard a patch with a broken covering pouch. Overdose will present predominately as respiratory depression, which is life-threatening. Respiratory depression is characterized by a reduction in breathing as well as long deep breaths accompanied by periods of no breathing. When this happens, the body does not get enough oxygen, causing the patient to go into deep sedation, and possible death.

Do you really want to do this to your Peggy? Are you trying to kill yourself? Obviously she'd be the one who finds you. Have you thought about what such a death would do to your wife? Maybe it would be undetermined if it had been an accidental o'd or suicide. Think about it if she found you like this; she'd be going over all that was said while she sedoko'd thinking it was her fault for not listening; the bit about 50 navy seals etc.....man, you don't want to send her on a guilt trip by doing that to her and causing her to have to think of what they'll do to you during the autopsy. Please Snow,stop all the nonsense of drug tampering and od'ing and realize it affects more than just you.Everybody now-a-days knows Drs. are too busy and some not even aware of whats going on or the stuff people will do with their prescribed med. It's up to the patient to research all this stuff, as much as we don't want to. Be smart, be responsible, be cool and live long until there really is no longer any point to.

patsy said...

The truth is it isn't peggy's fault or the doctor's fault it is your fault. i hope you are still with us after the cut it down the middle trip.

patsy said...

sorry if I sounded flip, i know pain is a terrible thing and i am glad you can get some relief. be of good cheer and get another patch.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

"So, I observed myself, intensely."

Snow... you always make me chuckle!!!
Be safe, my friend! And keep up the good watch!

Snowbrush said...

To those who feel critical and even angry toward me over this post, I would say two things.

First, thank you. I believe you reacted as you did because you care. I am touched by your comments.

Second, the fact that I wrote this piece with what I intended to be humor doesn't mean that I'm dismissive of the danger I was in (perhaps, at some level, I even wrote it as a way to relieve the stress I felt because of the danger). Neither does the fact that I might have died mean that I'm suicidal or that I'm generally reckless about my safety. I very much want to live.

Zuzana said...

Oh, this wonderful and entertaining piece just proves you are human.;) Man, I have done my share of stupid things, mostly related to different procedures to make myself look beuatiful when I was younger (hair coloring), and I almost lost all my hair in that process.;) Hehe.;)
In any case, I agree with you that a disaster is usually a product of several critical events gone wrong. Glad you survived the patch.;))
xoxo

Marion said...

And I very much want you to live. So glad you're alive. So very glad for Peggy's sake, as well. It would have been horrible for her to find you.

I know you're careful with drugs, and I appreciate your warnings and successes and experiences. You're a great teacher, Snow, for those of us with chronic pain...and as a great teacher, I really do want you to stick around.xx

The Tusk said...

Snow,
briefly you didn't want my forewarning of you being Socrates and killing your self with hemlock to become true. Because as warned you were acting out on misleading the youth of today with your inability to lead a group or unwillingness because of your unassuredness(this is not a word) of your ability to lead.

I certainly never suggested subliminally to cut the patch.

Some of your readers suggested going back to the MJ. I suggested in so many words to not be so introverted when you are on the dope. Don't over analyze the need to please, with your commentary, mislead the conversation to the beauty you are experiencing, and by all means when slurring your words defer to your youth and simply state how when you were younger a speech impediment you had you overcame and how on occasion it sneaks up on you and bites you in the ass.

Now if you need a Kick in the ass from Peggy, I giver her my permission to do it, because what you did was stupid, and only you are responsible for your action don't put this shit on any one else.

When was the last time you played Steely Dan AJA for peggy, you owe her for giving her a scare, you better make it up to her. I suggest a nice outdoor flower to remind her what an idiot you were, everyday you come home she can water it and you can be reminded of your actions good and bad.

I'm feeling full of myself, because my outdoor pond Goldfish had babies, estimated count up from 35, could be back to a hundred.

PhilipH said...

One certainly lives and learns by this blogging lark. Aint if the troof! Yep, innit so.
I'd never heard of this painkiller patch. Always thought and assumed that morphine was the daddy of all drugs but thanks to you Snowy I now know better.
Hope you do extremely well and keep on keeping on.
Cheers, Phil

Snowbrush said...

Zuzana said: this wonderful and entertaining piece just proves you are human.;)

That was my intent. I exaggerated the dialogue for humor, but the actual incidents were for real.

Marion said: I know you're careful with drugs...

This was my one serious slip in that regard, and I got lucky. Given that I've been on heavy narcotics and sleeping pills for years and years, I would say that I'm doing pretty good.

Oh, Tusk, I'm okay with an occasional suggestion, but not a whole lot of advice. Maybe you misunderstand my reason for blogging. It's not because I want people to pitch and make suggestions about how I might better run my life, but simply because I enjoy writing and because I enjoy feeling that I'm part of a blogging community.

rhymeswithplague said...

I recommend a natural high and a nice relaxing bike ride (see my last two posts)...

Snowbrush said...

Rhymes said: I recommend a natural high and a nice relaxing bike ride

I take one or more bike rides everyday, mostly on errands. I have seen your two posts, by the way, and also Putz's story and his son's photos. When my knees made hiking too difficult, Peggy and I bought two folding bikes that we could put in our van. We would go the woods and bike logging trails while the dogs ran alongside. Now, one of them is dead, and the other is old and blind, so that's out, but I am lucky to live in one of the most bike-friendly cities in America.

The Tusk said...

Snow,
your last post I had so much to say, quite a little made sense to anyone I'm sure, it was a bit rambling, I was attempting a long Network of thought.

This post I began with briefly, but I couldn't keep it short. I seem to be a bit rambling, needless to say I was not tongue tied.

Snow says "Oh, Tusk, I'm okay with an occasional suggestion, but not a whole lot of advice."

I never really asked you your reason for blogging. At first I was afraid to read your blogs, because I thought it was simply to be Anti-American.

I found it curious many found you humorous, and I wanted a better understanding why, I found a small amount of George Carlin Humor in you, and most of my advice to you was always meant to be done with some comedy.

I'm so sorry you took me seriously, but you really should buy peggy flowers. And thats given on good advice.

Snowbrush said...

Thanks, Tusk. I could have worded my thoughts better had I taken more time.

Tusk said: "At first I was afraid to read your blogs, because I thought it was simply to be Anti-American."

Yes, I'm anti-American and anti-religion, but as you discovered, I don' write about just one thing but rather about whatever has my attention on a given day or in a given period of my life. My question to you would be how can anyone not be anti-American considering how we, as a country, live? We're pretty much our only fans as far as I can tell. Everyone else looks at us with their mouths agape.

rhymeswithplague said...

As we say in Atlanta, "Delta has planes leaving every ten minutes."
:)

Sonia ;) said...

Snow, I am very happy you are ok. And honestly I would have reacted the same way and took the same steps in worry. Too many things can happen with a drug reaction, I have known a few who were told by doctor and pharmcist it would be fine and was not. I would rather take a marijuana trip anytime then worry some patch could kill me..lol

Love you Snow.....Thank you for always being here for me and checking on me....i need a smack from you every so often not constant you make take pleasure in it too much LOL

xoxoxoxxo

Myrna R. said...

I love how you depict life - sadness, humor, fear all wrapped up in humanity. Snowbrush you're such a good writer and obviously your life gives you a lot of good material. Thanks for making me smile.

Vagabonde said...

I hope you are still OK. It’s good that you can joke about it all but I think that it is just to hide the fact that you were quite concerned as you should be. I read that some medicine cannot be cut, halved or otherwise tempered with. I hope you can find some relief without trying any more of these super strong medicines. Take care.

Chrisy said...

I had no idea that cutting a patch in half could lead to an overdose...I would have done the same as you Snow thinking that I was doing the right thing...as always your honesty and way of writing enrich the blogging experience....

Phoenix said...

Well, Snow, I'm glad you're still here to write some pretty damn funny (and simultaneously slightly horrifying) posts about drug OD's. I have to admit I spent a majority of reading your post with my hand covered over my mouth from the horror/comedy of it all. But hey, if you can't laugh at life, you might as well not be alive in the first place, eh?

And don't you hate it when women are right?!

nollyposh said...

As you know Snow i am on the Fentanyl patches and love 'em but, i am only on 4.2mg (Releases 25mcg/hr)... i hate to think what 50mg did to you!?! i would be in a coma i should think! (Is that what you meant by your little nap!?!

khelsaoe said...

1. Glad you survived.
2. You have a wonderful way with words.
C. Shame on your doctor for starting you on such a high dose.
4. Shame on the pharmacist who didn't counsel you properly on the medication (I know, you already went over that, and maybe you declined counseling.)
5. Never, ever cut patches in half....fentanyl, nicotine, anything. (I know, too late for that! Ha ha)
6. When you dispose of this or any patch, fold it onto itself so that it won't accidentally stick to kids or pets.

The pharmacist in me made me say it.

Have a great night

nollyposh said...

(Ps) Snow, i have discovered 12mg patches, so you can up your dosage slowly or gradually if needed... (ie) i am on 25mg + 12mg at the moment

Snowbrush said...

Nollyposh, the downside of the Fentanyl is that it works 24 hours a day, which is more than I usually need. I only asked the doctor for it because I was desperate for night-time relief.

KleinsteMotte said...

Yup, one should read all the info first. Luv your humour here:)