Fentanyl?! That seems a bit of a stretch. I haven't broken my back. I need an addiction like I need another broken arm. My wailing obviates the need for a siren as the ambulance speeds over bumpy streets to the ER (I turn down the offer). There, I’m told Fentanyl is all EMTs are allowed to give me. Not morphine (50% less potent, but also less dangerous), not Ibuprofen, not Tylenol - not even an aspirin (not that that would have helped much).
Clearly, there's money in opioids, and it's turned the entire medical profession into pushers - even the lifeguards! There's money in prescribing opioids, and there's even more money in getting people off them. A whole industry in fact, of rehabs (when the 12-step programs were always meant to be free). But guess where else there's money?
OK, it's not the same, but a couple of days after leaving the ER, (with a prescription of Oxy I never asked for), I opt for a more holistic approach. I go online, talk to to a doctor, and get a prescription for medical marijuana.
A veteran of New York's Blue Laws, I'm unschooled in the ways of cannabis, and quickly encounter a learning curve. Active ingredients, I’m told, can generally be divided into CBD (no associated high) and THC (join Weight Watchers now). CBD is used as a mild painkiller, often for people with arthritis, and also as a sleep aid. Since the pain from my broken arm has been keeping me awake at night, CBD sounds like a good idea.
I find a dispensary nearby.
Before I can ponder what to do next, The receptionist tells me that it is possible to order for delivery. He gives me the number of his sales rep: “Tell him you are a friend of Sonny who's a friend of James, Sarah’s boyfriend, who...” This “Rep” is sounding more and more like a dealer. Do I really want to go down this road?
But it turns out I don't need to. A quick call to a friend as I am leaving, reveals I never needed a prescription to begin with. In California, recreational pot is just as legal as medical! Will wonders never cease? Next stop: MedMen.
I emerge with 2 salvs for my sore shoulder (one with THC), and a bubble bath ball. Oddly, these come in both CBD as well as THC versions (seniors bring your Life Alert pendant with you into the tub). Oh, and a bottle of drops for sleeping.
The sleeping drops are lovely, the salvs only go so far. Broken bones are too much of a challenge for marijuana it seems, and I wind up resorting to Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and the strategic application of cold packs.
I am lucky my pain is manageable with just these. I pass no judgement on anyone who needs more powerful pain relief. There are meds for that.
But to my knowledge, no pain killer has ever been invented for the pain of a broken heart. As I'm leaving MedMen, I spy this.
I still believe in cycling, and I will always love it. I will always admire the riders: working cyclists, commuters, day-trippers and racers. They are road warriors extraordinaire. But in three years, I've visited three different ERs. The best I can do now is to continue to advocate for cyclists, help keep them safe, and on the road - out of the ER and off painkillers.