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Why I don’t like taking pills

This was my original post in a ‘Medication’ section of the site. I’ve retired that section and will replace it with a ‘Health & Fitness’ section as I have very little to say on Meds that I can’t put in the blog.

Do I speak German?

It had started off lovely. A few pints and a bite to eat in the Bollo House Pub in Chiswick then back over to my mate Nick’s house across the road. I was knackered and as one of my other mates who shared the house with Nick was away on business I decided to crash out in his room and have an early night.

It was a fine Sunday morning in 2004 and I awoke to the sound of birds singing, the clatter of the tube going by and people shouting at each other in the street (it was the border of Chiswick so not quite in the posh part).

I decided to grab a quick shower and head off to home via Waitrose and have a lazy Sunday in the garden of my flat in Acton. It wouldn’t be quiet – it was Acton for god’s sake, but at least it was a beautiful day.

That was until I took a shower. It was a posh walk-in shower Nick and Brett had (I am still in Chiswick at this point and not Acton) so I walked up the steps and into a drench shower to start the day off.

I remember turning around to see what shower gel there was on the posh rack at the side of the shower entrance, and then I was falling out of the entrance of the shower and landing smack bang in the middle of the bathroom floor.

Great – I was butt arsed naked in the middle of the bathroom and more or less paralysed.

I was pragmatic – my discs had gone before so all I had to do was make it back to a bed and rest up for a couple of days. Given my state of undress, I managed to flick open the bathroom lock with my feet as I crawled towards the toilet which I was going to use to level myself up to the sink height so I could knock on Nick’s bedroom wall to request a dressing gown.

Nick wasn’t happy at all. He had stayed up until the wee hours of the morning catching up with an old buddy who had called round after I had already gone to bed. Eventually, when I got his attention he opened the door and chucked a dressing gown over me.

Then with the speed of a sloth I made my way out of the bathroom and back to Brett’s bedroom so I could lay low for a few days. To exit the bathroom and make it down the hall took an hour, but I then happily crawled into bed and into a ball.

I was comfortable for about two or three nanoseconds before I had a spasm which threw me up in the air, jettisoned the dressing gown and left me with my butt sticking up in the air, my head on the floor and completely unable to move.

“Nick”…

“Nick”…

“Nick”…

I called

“What!” he replied

“Call a fucking ambulance”

sloth, cute, hanging-1531577.jpg

It was Sunday so most of the ambulances were out dealing with broken bodies at sporting events, I therefore got a paramedic who turned up after about twenty minutes or so. Nick (now out of bed having been rudely awakened by the idiot falling out of the shower) was a policeman and knew most of the local emergency services workers.

“Hello Nick” went the paramedic “Hello whatever your name was paramedic” replied Nick.

“He’s up here”, said Nick

On entering the room the paramedic reassuringly said she could give me some Entonox and get me back on my feet in no time. At this point I should mention that my mate Nick is very funny and cracks a lot of jokes. Sods law, so was the paramedic.

“Sir, I can see the light bulb is missing from this room. Before I go any further, can you let me know if I might find it somewhere upon your person?”

Nick laughed at this.

I think I said “Fuck off” in a comedic sort of way.

After a whole cannister of Entonox, although I had professed my love to everyone in the room (more people had gathered), I was still sans clothes, arse in air and head (now purple) on floor. The paramedic called for ambulance number one to help get me right side up and then off to hospital as it was now quite evident that I was in a bit of trouble. I remember the first two chaps who turned up as being absolutely lovely. Of course they were – I’d necked an entire cannister of Entonox so everyone was lovely. I was pretty sure I momentarily hated the pair of them when they flipped me back up onto the bed; but at least I started to get blood to other parts of my body rather than my head. I can then remember them (the collective of paramedics and ambulance crew) stating two things:

  1. They did not have an orthopaedic stretcher in the ambulance so they would have to call for another one
  2. They might need to call the Fire Brigade to take me through the bedroom window as it would be a bit tight to get me out of the room on a stretcher

Queue ambulance number two. Ambulance number two arrived and the paramedics soon realised that they could not flip me on to the stretcher they’d arrived with because of the amount of pain I was in. Bring on a doctor to pump me full of a large dosage of morphine. Before the doctor plied me full of morphine he checked my pain level relative to when my arse was stuck up in the air – and might I add without a lightbulb hidden upon my person as insinuated by the funny ha ha paramedic, I replied about a seven or eight. “As the morphine takes effect, count down the pain level and we’ll flip you onto the stretcher when we get down to one” said the lying bastard of a doctor. And what was this “when we get down to one” – as far as I could tell I was the only one hooked up to a heart monitor and in a state of distress. He turned on the morphine tap and I counted down. I go to three and they flipped me over onto the stretcher. “Nine, nine, nine” I shouted at the top of my voice. “Fuck me, I didn’t realise you spoke German” said the doctor. Ha, bloody ha.

Because so many members of the emergency services were now on the scene they no longer required the Fire Brigade – I was told they could form a chain and pass me vertically out of the bedroom and then down the staircase. I closed my eyes for some time oblivious to my state given the shit load of morphine pumping around me.

I remember arriving at the hospital and the doctor who had plied me with morphine telling me to insist I had a spinal injury and not a “bad back” otherwise they would try and discharge me.

I won’t knock the NHS as they are generally brilliant, but the treatment I had for the first 4 hours was shocking; including trying to discharge me whilst I was clinging onto the arm of a light attached to the wall in a cubicle as it was the only way to make the pain go away (morphine long since gone).

I spent around 48 hours in the ward before I was discharged as I was too bent over in two for them to operate on.

If you are wondering where I am going with this there are two points of relevance:

  • In the A&E ward was the first time I came across (or rather listened to) someone who had just tried to commit suicide
  • From the time I was released from hospital until I had spinal surgery several months later I had to consume the mother load of pills every day and I hated it. Tramadol in particular made me feel like shit and I tried as much as possible to limit the amount I took

That particular period of my life made me hate taking pills and I vowed never to be dependent on them again. I will also never forget the guilt and shame that the particular lady who had tried to take her life seemed to have after someone had pulled her out of the Thames in West London. She was more worried about what her family would think of her for having done such a thing than the damage she had done to herself in the attempt.

I am now in a situation where I will likely have to take medication for the rest of my life in order to keep my brain working properly and it scares me to death.

I will write another post about why I think I would never commit suicide at another time. That’s a little too serious for a blog in it’s infancy; but a lot of people with bipolar do commit suicide so I think I should give my thoughts at some point.

Scully

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