Reader experiences - Pain edition

Two new stories for y'all:

I just finished reading William Gibson's new novel "Spook Country", and one of the main characters is addicted to anti-anxiety drugs, specifically Ativan (lorazepam) and Rize (clotiazepam). He seems to like Rize better. It's not available in the U.S. apparently due to some adverse effects. There's an interesting theme there: unusual drugs in famous literature.

I only have one quasi-interesting personal drug story: I once had a serious toothache and the dentist gave me a prescription for a narcotic painkiller -- don't remember the precise one any more. I also suffered from migraine-type headaches at that time. While the painkiller was effective for the toothache pain, it wasn't effective for the headache pain. I had to use Excedrin for that. All pains are not pharmacologically alike.

- Dean


I had a perianal abscess which started to hurt so damn much I went to the ER at 5 in the morning. Filled out the charts and wrote in big capital letters all over the "Current medications" and at the top : NO DEMEROL -- TAKING AN MAOI (Explanation!).

Lucky for me the the head of colorectal happened to be in the hospital (This was San Francisco and he'd been called in for the removal of a 'foreign rectal body' -- never found out what it was, but the guy had to go to surgery to get it out; but I digress....). He and the green resident show
up, and like a good tutor asked the resident for his opinions. Seeing how much pain I was in, and believe me, it hurt, he recommended -- wait for it -- some Demerol.

I literally screamed at the guy, "Can't you read the charts! I'm taking an MAOI!!!" He shut up, the old guy glared at him, and they gave me some morphine instead. Talk about a miracle drug! They ended up draining the abscess, and that hurt, but I didn't care. Cleared up just fine.

The whole ER episode ended up costing like $1100 or something. It flared up again on a trip to India a few years later. Had that one lanced at a grand total of 2000 rupees, which was about $45 at the time.

I liked the Indian guy better. He asked, can you stand a little pain? I said sure, if you can stand a little scream. So he sprayed some ethyl chloride (do they still use that anymore?) on the damn thing and lanced it. In and out in 15 minutes...

Finally had a fistulotomy, or I'd have more stories to tell. :p

- Jim

4 chemically inspired comments:

milkshake said...

ER experience: My friend with 10+ years of experience in surgery came to US so he had to repeat the residency in US. He spent 3 years in ER in a public hospital in a poor area in Phoenix, AZ: Lots of homeless patients with the intoxication related-emergencies and lots of gunshot victims. He said that some of the fresh medical residents working there were quite scary - they remembered just one thing from classes and they were going to do it on the patient no matter what. For example, giving two Tylenols to a guy who looked like a textbook advanced cirrhosis case and who came in with the abdominal pain and jaundice...

My friend also said that the rectal foreign bodies were very common, at least one case a week, and it was all kind of bizzare stuff - and even the patients with the most rediculous objects up there in the wazoo were never straightforward about what they did - always shyly explained "an accident" happened to them: Like a guy who walked in with a bottle of conditioner in hand and said he slipped and fell in the shower and the entire bottle of shampoo got vedged up in there and disappeared into his anus. So my friend asked the patient about the conditioner bottle and the patient said thoughtfully: "This is for you, doc - to see how the shampoo bottle looked like."

Chris said...

Great story, milkshake. The Tylenol treatment bit is a fearful thing indeed. Kiss your liver goodbye, buddy.

The whole rectal foreign bodies thing always makes me think of that Appalachian Emergency Room sketch on SNL in which Chris Parnell's character always comes in with something up his butt and comes up with a wildly implausible explanation for how it got there.

Chris said...

RE: Dean's post - The character Milgrim in Gibson's book liked Rize better because it has a few more "bonus features" than your typical benzo... one of which being a muscle relaxant. There is not much info on Rize that I have found, but didn't dig ever deep in the net. Not even sure if you can get it in the states.


Chris said...

Note: not the same Chris has the posting above me, but I'm sure he's a fine fellow.