Pubdate: Mon, 20 Oct 2003
Source: Columbia Daily Herald (TN)
Copyright: 2003 Columbia Daily Herald
Author: Phil Stack


Letter to the Editor:

I had a neck operation, having a plate inserted to repair two damaged
discs. My doctor prescribed the pain medication, Hydrocodone. I had
the option to take one or two tablets every four to six hours. My
choice was to take a minimum dose, one tablet per day. This I
continued for a period of three or four weeks.

Approaching the five-week period I began skipping the pain pill since
I had been using it mainly for sleep. Suddenly, I begun feeling a
nerve discomfort. After two days of mild restlessness I took a pill.
But the sleep the pill provided was not sufficient. Besides, it was a
strange sleep. I felt totally knocked out, as close to being dead as I
could imagine. I awoke several hours later sensing I hadn't slept at

We drove to North Carolina the next day. Arriving at our destination,
I noticed I misplaced the Hydrocodone. Soon I began to pace the floor,
flailing my arms vigorously. My body felt like a moving mass of worms
as it sought any kind of movement to placate the nervous system. I was
addicted. I know how Rush Limbaugh would feel if he stopped his pain
medications. He could never never do a show shaking ants off his arms
or running in circles.

I now knew how a person can be addicted and stay addicted. You just
take the next pill, on and on, until you needed more. Many Hollywood
stars, noteworthy celebrities, such as Rush and ordinary people choose
to take that next pill and the next until the willpower is sucked out
of you.

I could have taken the course of more and more Hydrocodone. I could
have easily faked a pain and use any device you could imagine to get a

But I chose a different course: cold turkey.

Let me describe the experience:

You are in a room with several doors. You have used these doors before
as exits or entrances. Suddenly the doors which allowed you to move in
and out freely are locked. You are inside and there is but one door
open to you. The pill door. You decide to wait for the other doors to
open to let you out. But you pay a price. You will squirm, groan, run
in circles and climb the wall. Your identity is smashed. You want to
be yourself and, at the same time you want to run away from yourself.
You wait and suffer, hopefully in the arms of a loved one.

If I knew what I know now about the drug Hydrocodone, I would never
have taken it. The pain of withdrawal was a thousand times worse than
any pain resulting from the operation. Having been there, I know how
the drug-addicted person feels in withdrawal. I can understand also,
how an addict, under the power of the pill, will resort to any measure
to get another fix.

Phil Stack,

Spring Hill
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