I slept no more than five hours last night, partly because I rarely sleep well anyway and partly because I was nervous about having cataract surgery today (I'm posting this two days after I started writing it, so the surgery is over), but mostly because I'm euphoric over the prospect of receiving my first Ketamine infusion next week. The pain that I've lived with for years has various causes and afflicts me in various parts of my body, but the worst of it consists of soft tissue back pain that started when I broke my back in 2016. J___, my pain specialist, has done everything he knows to do, but nothing has worked, and I've often thought about seeing a pain specialist named L___ who gives Lidocaine infusions, something that J___ isn't set up to do. I didn't because I had little confidence that Lidocaine would work, but mostly because I feared losing my monthly oxycodone allowance. When I heard that L___ is offering Ketamine infusions, I ran not walked to make an appointment. I saw him yesterday, and he agreed to start me on Ketamine next week. The treatment will take two hours, and will have to be repeated every month or so. I figure that even if it doesn't relieve the pain, it will surely diminish the severe depression, and anything that helps with the one helps with the other.
Ketamine is sold illegally as Special K. The common term for the high is falling into the K-Hole, but it's also called, and I kid you not, God. It got these names because it takes users out of their bodies (some people even forget that they have a body) and causes hallucinations. Because such things can lead to panic, L___ adds a benzodiazepine (a family of downers that includes Valium and Ativan) to the IV. He said that, even with the downer, those who enjoy Ketamine most benefit most, and that some of them drop from a chronic pain level of seven all the way down to zero.
I anticipate a lovely trip, but Peggy doesn't see it that way. Peggy says there's something wrong with people who enjoy drug trips. Peggy says I shouldn't even talk about such things, even with her, and this inspired me to chant, "I'm going to get wasted in the doctor's office; I'm going to get wasted in the doctor's office!" Peggy then complimented me on my emotional maturity, and I complimented her on hers. Ours was a veritable love-fest of respect and affection.
I reminded Peggy of what L___ said about Ketamine's efficacy being enhanced by enjoyment, but she wasn't swayed. L___ said I'll need her to drive me home. L___ said that she can be at my side during the infusion as long as she's supportive, but I worry that such support as she is able to offer will ring false, and that I'll be too vulnerable to shrug it off.
Many years ago when I took every hallucinogenic that I could find, I discovered that if I took them on a sunny day amid beautiful surroundings, and was either alone or with a trusted friend, I would have a good trip; but if I took them at night, at a party, among people I didn't know or trust, and in an unfamiliar place from which I couldn't easily escape, the result was so frightening that I couldn't move or speak. When people noticed my distress, they would stop talking and stare at me, causing me to feel like an insect upon which the sun was being directed by a a magnifying glass. An infusion lab means strangers, strangeness, clinical sterility, and the expectation of decorum, but L___ suggested that I bring peaceful music (I anticipate Bach or Vivaldi), and I anticipate sitting with my eyes closed.
But why did I take drugs that cause hallucinations and dissociation in the first place? Three reasons: curiosity; a desire to test my psychological strength; and the hope of seeing God. I failed the mental toughness test, and God never came, but the visual manifestation of creatures more frightening than a Bosch painting did, but only when my surroundings were wrong. When my surroundings were right, the universe became physically beautiful and morally benevolent. On the night that I went on my worst trip, I eventually founding myself alone in a completely darkened room, where I spent the next several hours enthralled by an ethereally beautiful kaleidoscope of light, safety, and color. When dawn came, I watched water oaks do a joy dance across the Louisiana Delta. On another occasion, my mind created the wildest and most beautiful electric guitar music I had ever heard, and the music lifted me into the air while I sat in a chair. These unreal experiences rank among the most joyful, memorable, and enriching experiences I've ever known.
Next week, I take a drug that will hopefully cause my spirit to soar, both in the short-term and the long-term. "Some people walk into the clinic with a pain level of seven, and walk out with a zero," L___ said, and I am happy to think that it might be so.