Monday, April 13, 2015

How Many Tablets in the Bottle?

“I came back to the room, and my Vicodin was gone.  The maid threw it out when she cleaned.”

“And how many tablets in the bottle?”

“Almost two hundred. I’ve had four back operations.”

“That’s a lot of Vicodin.”

“Check me out. I’ll show you the scars. I need your help.”

Plenty of drug abusers lead productive lives although it depends on the drug. You can’t do this for long with speed. Amphetamines and cocaine poison tissues, the brain most of all. Alcohol is also a toxin; alcoholics wreck their health. This doesn’t seem true for narcotics (Vicodin, Percodan, morphine, heroin, etc). One can consume high doses for a lifetime with no noticeable harm except chronic constipation. Street addicts die from overdoses, contaminated drugs, disease, and violence. In countries that provide clean narcotics to addicts, they have a normal life expectancy.

Narcotics are probably OK for selected patients with chronic pain and a competent doctor. But there’s no denying that too many people are taking more narcotics than they need. Good doctors object because there are better ways of treating chronic pain. Moralists object on the grounds that doctors should make patients feel normal but never happier than normal.

“As a hotel doctor, I encounter this problem now and then...”

“I swear I’m not a junkie, Doctor Oppenheim. I have chronic spinal pain, and I’m under a doctor’s care.”

“I’m glad to hear that, because I’ll have to speak to him.”

“He’s in New York. It’s midnight in New York.”

“I know. So I’m going to phone ten Toradol to the Walgreen’s at Santa Monica and Lincoln. Tell your doctor to call me tomorrow.”
“The damn hotel threw out two hundred pills! They said you’d replace them!”

“I don’t work for the hotel. It sounds like the Toradol is unacceptable to you. So…”

“I’ll take the ten.”

This would satisfy him temporarily, but the odds were one hundred percent that his doctor wouldn’t call, but he would. There was a small chance he’d be in another hotel and pester another doctor. There was a large chance he’d behave in a sufficiently obnoxious manner that the staff would take any complaint about me with a grain of salt.

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