It was a Sunday night. Perched on my bed, I went through my ritual and took a swig of water and swallowed the two small white pills in my orange prescription bottle. “This is it,” I told myself, “back to normal life.” After a successful spinal fusion surgery, I was ready to rid myself of the last of the oxycodone I had been taking for six weeks to manage the pain in my back.
“Sales of painkillers reached about $8.5 billion last year, compared with $4.4 billion in 2001, according to the consulting firm IMS Health.”
The next morning, I skipped all of my daily doses. Nausea and weakness slowly started to creep into my body. I lay on my couch and flipped through the cable channels on TV, intent on not letting it get to me. But by Monday night, I lay in bed practically twitching, as an intense jittery feeling spread through my upper torso. I tossed and turned until dawn, breaking a sweat as I repeatedly stretched one arm, then the other, as something akin to having consumed several cans of Red Bull continued to wreak an internal havoc inside of me.
So on Tuesday night, after taking the day off from my part-time, work-from-home status, I gave up. I reached back into that bottle and swallowed two more pills. Within minutes, I started to feel more normal again.
This is what withdrawal feels like. Continue reading