Archive for the ‘Drugs/health/life’ Category

addiction

You wake up early with a burning desire for your addiction, as if you hadn’t spent most of the night previous hopelessly devoted to it.  Every waking second you spend with it, if not in action then in thought.  How have you allowed it to conquer your life so?  How have you allowed all your other interests to fall by the wayside and to let this infection inundate your very being?

Your life is now an empty shell of itself.  Was there a time before this beast took the reins of your life?  You wish to talk with others about this but they simply wouldn’t understand.  They couldn’t understand unless they too have fallen under such a spell as this.  You procrastinate from your duties; allow others to pick up your slack while your mind prepares itself for the next fix.  A fix with the inevitable reprieve that cycles endlessly until you become little more than a shell of your former self.

The symptoms are the worst part, insomnia being the forerunner in your collection of ailments.  You don’t know if it’s the direct cause or caused by your mind running wild for it, but lying awake there at night you hardly breath, trying to convince yourself sleep is better than your drug.  An hour spent resisting, then two.  You know that just a taste would instigate the inevitable shaking, heart palpitations and chilling sweats that cause sleep to be little more than the dreams it would attempt to incite.

This drug is beyond the potency of any you’ve indulged in before.  At the time of consumption, you cycle through a racing heartbeat, chills, highs so high and lows bringing you to the edge of despair.  They never warned you of this obsession.  The one-sided account on the topic dealt with goodness and wholeness, purity that exalted the user to be on level with philosophers and kings.  If only they could see your thirst for it now.

It’s not a waist but a gain you say: the time that your addiction has appropriated from your life.  If not but the pleasure that pursuing it brings to your existence.  It’s not as if you need an intervention but that others just don’t understand the strength and satisfaction of such a pull.

It’s close you say, you can feel yourself coming to the unavoidable and humbling end to this epoch of your life.  The euphoric conclusion and a very real satisfaction that you have finally overcome your desire to continue.  And then you turn the final page on the addiction for the last time.

The literal page.  The novel that has engrossed your being, daylight to long past sundown has been conquered.  The satisfaction is bittersweet as your very being yearns for another such world to consume the void the previous has vacated.

Happy reading.

Okay, so I know that post was somewhat backwards but I’ve honestly had more of the aforementioned thoughts while reading a book than I’d care to admit.  I’ve endured the panic of not being able to engage the world for more than the length of the book I’m reading.  That is the sort of book I want to write some day; a book that completely captivates and grips the reader, allowing them to disengage from the world and become immersed in another.  I wonder, how many others have felt that way about a book?

SCD

Pain.  Acute, harsh, and without relief.  Beginning from one mutation in the genome and setting the cadence of life for the rest of your existence.  Hemoglobin, the protein that is supposed to transport oxygen throughout the body has revealed an abnormal configuration, redefining itself and bending your red blood cells to its own design.  Like an osteoporotic man who, far from being full of life is bent, curved over a cane.  Perhaps it foreshadows your future with the pain bending your body to its will.

It’s not supposed to be like this.  Blood cells are designed to flow through vessels with ease.  They aren’t supposed to become stuck in the periphery, jolting and scraping you from the inside out like a relentless animal clawing to be released.  There is no release from the grip the animal has because even if you were to drain every last drop of blood from your veins, your marrow would produce even more of these devious and defective cells.

Hereditary.  Incurable, except for the life-threatening bone marrow transplant procedure that renders your body’s defenses completely unprotected for a time.  Only by the skill and diligence of the medical team will your life not end by a misdirected cough.  Then if you make it through the months of treatment, there is the very real risk of graft versus host disease that could kill you before your disease ever would.

And without the transplant comes the crisis.  Sickle cell crisis.  Perhaps once a year, perhaps once a week.  A fire burning harsher than before with crippling pain that you try and eradicate from your voice as you speak with the 911 operator.  Problem?  Pain.  Scale on 1-10?  10.  Yes I’m being skinned alive.  Ten minutes?  Thank you.

To quell the pain you inundate your system with meds simply to function.  When the 5, 10, 15 pills a day don’t suppress the beast, you clamor for something stronger.  IV morphine, dilaudid, whatever the flavor of the month is.  Whatever pushes back the gut-wrenching, mind-dulling agony back to the depths from whence it came.  And if a nurse’s needle isn’t enough will you turn to something else?  One joint?  One line?  Will there ever be an end if you travel down that dark path?

Maybe you’ll succumb to it, but not now.  One positive urine and it’s a wrist slap, but more and the only relief will be of the illicit nature.  Until then you pray, hope, yearn for the day that a brilliant mind solves the case.  To provide hope would be brilliant.  To provide a cure would be freedom.

Each inhale; every breath of thickened, sickly air passing through your mouth brings that smile of satisfaction to your pursed lips. Or is it a grimace? Knowing that each breath brings a chemist’s concoction of compounds into your mouth, down your throat and finding a resting place in your lungs. All three regions welcoming whatever carcinogenic particles happen to spin off and wreak havoc on the cells they encounter.

Some cells, of course, will simply die: overwhelmed by the chemical load, deprived of oxygen or by some other way, eliminated. For you, that must be the best-case scenario since these cells will not resurrect as something else, something that will continue its carnage long after it should have expired. When spontaneous apoptosis due to an overwhelming number of toxins is the most favorable outcome of an encounter with your nicotine vice, what is least favored?

There are those cells with an insatiable urge to reproduce: to copy themselves and divide until they are noticed by the body’s defenses. With luck you have a first-rate immune system and the soldiers in your blood defeat this attack, losing ranks with every successive puff. 100 cells, 1000 cells? Whatever sacrifice is needed to keep you alive, only to wrap your lips around that moistened filter and puff on that cigarette again. How many puffs a day? How many cigarettes? How many packs? How much can your defenses take before their numbers are depleted faster than they can reproduce? What if they miss a lesion? What if one cancerous cell in the lungs is all it takes for the intruder to take hold and grow? Nurtured by recruiting your own blood vessels, sending out their alien messengers that tell your body, “It’s fine, normal growth here. Just be a dear and send some more nutrients. I do, after all, share your DNA. For the most part.” But what part? And your body, recognizing a semblance of itself in the bulbous node, accommodates the request.

This relationship, a slowly growing tumor within the pleural tissue of your lung can only last so long. After a short time, the tumor begins its subjugation and your body didn’t realize it would become such an ungracious houseguest. Maybe it starts with a pain in the chest, the ball of alien cells compressing sensitive nerves. Or maybe the cough that lingers just a bit too long produced a speck of blood on that last tissue. Too bad that it’s probably too late. Not much of a warning.

But then there was that one warning. Or several. The surgeon general has become a dull hammering in the background. The gruesome but true effects of smoking printed on the cartons will become something else to look over.  I suspect it will desensitize the consumer even more.

I truly hope you enjoyed that final drag on you cigarette because it may not be your last but it could very well be the beginning of the end.