Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Morphine - Kind of a Disappointment

You can imagine how excited I was as the nurse held up the full syringe of morphine, doing the little tap-tap on the tip to produce that dribble from the needle, preparing to inject the whole, sweet draught directly into my feverish bloodstream.

Yes, the part of me that was still thinking clearly had only one word in mind: awesome.

The backstory is that I've been suffering from a gradually worsening case of tonsillitis. I had started a course of penicillin, but the doc was afraid the bug was too nasty and switched me to a more powerful antibiotic called Augmentin. But the drug didn't help. I had fever, chronic headache, fatigue, dizziness whenever I stood, a hacking cough and a killer sore throat. To say nothing of the tongue thrush, sour stomach, the shakes, and diarrhea with the consistency of chocolate in those kit kat commercials where they show how they make the kit kat.

I was in bad shape. I was rapidly using up my sick days, and the antibiotics weren't working. Last saturday night, the fever and headache got so bad that I thought I might as well go to the emergency room before I was no longer capable of doing so.

One very reassuring thing about the emergency room is that you can immediately see 5 other people that are worse off than you. "Well at least I'm not that guy." you can say to yourself. I found myself, after a bit of a wait, on a gurney on one of the main thoroughfares of the hospital. The doctor would see me shortly. I immediately conked out into a semi-stupor. When the doctor arrived and I had given him a rasping version of the story, he said he was going to stabilize me with an enormous IV dose of antibiotics, and a shot of morphine for the pain.

And now, readers, is when I perked up. Morphine. Not advil. Not Bufferin. Not even codine, which a doctor in England had given me once. Morphine. The real shit. The most powerful pain killing opiate ever devised by man and science. A narcotic with unrivaled potency. And when I say there was a full syringe of it, I'm talking about a fat, old-time syringe.

I'd never been high before. Tried pot a few times but never felt much. Booze just makes me sleepy. I was ready for a trip. An experience. As the nurse prepped my IV there in the corridor, I envisioned a white stallion trotting up alongside my gurney. He would whinny and snort and motion for me to get on. Feeling nothing but euphoria, I would climb on his strong back, gripping his mane in my fingers - and he would take off at a gallop, down the long, long hallway. Together we'd ride, right out of the hospital, and up into the sky, up up and away, the wind in my face - my hospital gown flapping freely in the rear - and we'd take to the clouds, never looking back.

That, at least, was the plan. Though in a lot of pain and with a sickening fever, I still had a giddy optimism about me as the nurse now was ready to apply the morphine shot to the newly inserted IV. This was it. I had my passport. I was ready to trip. As the morphine entered my body I waited calmly for the first few bars of Jimi Hendrix playing the national anthem. I figured that's how it would start. Then... a warming sensation in the belly. Here we go.... I waited....

And nothing. Zip. Nada. The "morphine", if that's really what it was, very quickly took the edge off the headache and the sore throat. Not "killed" the sore throat and headache. No. It just took the edge off. So I still had a bit of a sore throat and a headache. After a friggin SHOT OF MORPHINE. And the trip? Where was the trip? I was sober, man. I could have struck up a conversation about the flagging Las Vegas housing market. I had no buzz.

Morphine! Morphine for God's sakes! Isn't this what they give soldiers on the battlefield when they've had a leg blown off? Wasn't there that scene in Saving Private Ryan when the one dude (the medic) has had his stomach blown open and he's dying, and they jab him with a morphine dose? Remember that scene? That was just a tiny dose of morphine, and the guy instantly goes passive. I had a huge syringe of morphine! And I had no mood altering experience, and I still had a headache! How's that for luck!

Well, the fever's down now. It's a few days later. The tonsils are feeling better. The sore throat is gone. Still a little feverish. Still fatigued. But on the mend. What have I learned from this experience? I've learned that morphine just isn't all that great. It's essentially no different than tylenol PM. Unless the hospital was pulling some placebo shit with me and didn't actually give me the real thing. Which maybe is possible. I'll have to look at the bill.

Monday, April 14, 2008

220 Annoyances

201. Movies that have adult characters puffing away on asthma inhalers as a cheap way of making them interesting.

202. Restaurants that refill their ketchup bottles. Do they at least rinse them?

203. Someone doing an English accent just to be cute.

204. I don't like not knowing whether or not I'm going to get the whole coke can on the plane. Will it be the whole can, or just that little plastic cup? I can actually handle not getting the whole can, so long as I'm prepared. But there's no standard. There's no universal policy. Sometimes, seemingly at random, you get the whole can. Other times, just the very small cupful of coke and a wan smile. How am I expected to manage my thirst?

205. Old couples at restaurants who sit in total silence for the whole meal.

206. When you mis-enter one line on a long, tedious online form, and you submit it, and then the site points out your error in red, but then - surprise! Every line has been erased and you have to retype the whole damn form from scratch.

207. These "people" who "submit reviews" to the Zagat Survey, who use the same "annoying quotation mark style" that Zagat does in its capsule review, "not seeming to realize" that there is "no need" to do this, as they themselves "are not summarizing" fifty other reviews.

208. A guy in front of you at Starbucks unfolding a list.

209. Friends, family and coworkers: Do not email me things that require me to sign up for some bullshit in order to view whatever it is you're sending. I have to register with some site to see your photo album? I have to give my name and email to view your party invite? I have to create an account and password to open your animated holiday card? I ain't doing it. Why are you trying to get me to invite even more junk mail and spam into my existence? Why are you trying to put me on yet another marketing database? Why do you even need the help of a third party website to show me some photos anyway? Just zip them and send them for Gods sakes.

210. Slot machines that are programmed to give you a lot of close calls.

211. Thomas Friedman's incessant attempts to coin phrases.

212. No sugar added ice cream.

213. I am now officially tired of seeing the lower case "i" and "e" in front of products, services and companies. I give Apple a pass, because it's a market leader, and it already had that reputation for whimsical names. But every crappy tech product being called the iThis or the eThat - it's starting to get on my nerves big time. I was recently on a website where I could buy an eFridge, and if I clicked on it it would go in my eBasket. Look I understand that new words and concepts arrive naturally in the language. I accept that we need an abbreviation like I-Banking to refer to internet banking. But I don't see any reason why we have to spell it iBanking. What worries me is that run of the mill shitty companies are using the iSpelling technique as code for "Please have confidence in this product. Clearly it is on the cutting edge." This is a recipe for trouble, people.

214. When you enter a restaurant with one half clearly empty, and you're told there's a wait.

215. Deaf people who want their children to be deaf.

216. Failing, for the millionth time, to match that two-digit number at the end of the pinball game. Has anyone ever won the match game?

217. Websites that rely on spelling mistakes to get your traffic.

218. People on the left side of the moving walkway who aren't walking.

219. You know what I don't like? The first time you go skydiving, you have to be harnessed to another dude. The instructor. This is terrible. The very first time you skydive is probably the most exhilarating. The most emotional and crazy and adrenalin fueled. No jump will probably ever give you the rush that the first one will. And the first jump has to be the one where a leathery old skydiving instructor is mounted on you. Isn't there some skydiving instructional school somewhere that can train you so well that you don't need a guy on your back on the first jump? I don't mind the dude on the 10th or 20th jump. By then it's old hat. It's just another jump. But the first time - give me some freedom!

220. You know, when I use my hands to illustrate a concept to someone I'm talking to, I always defer to the listener's perspective. Like, if I wave my hand when I say "from beginning to end", I'll wave it right to left. If I'm describing a headline or a marquee title, I'll sweep my hand right to left. If I say "to the left" or "to the west", I'll point right. Basically, if there's any kind of timeline, or directional significance to whatever I'm explaining, I defer to the perspective of the person I'm talking to. And I apparently AM THE ONLY ONE ON EARTH WHO DOES THIS. Just saying.