Monday, August 29, 2016


I‘ve been a reader of THE PASSIVE VOICE (and occasionally a commenter) for 4 or 5 years. Then, in March, I fell and broke the femur in my left leg and also got a blood clot in my right leg, which put me out of commission for the last four months. But I’m recovered from that now and caught up on all the TPVs I missed due to the fall. Since I‘ve wanted to contribute something that would be helpful to some of your readers, I’m attaching a true story.

This is not about writing, but could be about writers who have fallen into the trap of taking opioids and getting “hooked.” It happened to me almost five years ago. I had a knee transplant and was prescribed a painkiller that was very effective, but which I didn’t know (and no one at the hospital or doctors’ offices told me) that Percocet is very addictive. So, when I ran out, I took the form they gave me to my local Walgreen’s and ordered more.

When I decided I didn’t need it anymore, I discovered the awful truth. When I went to bed the first night I hadn’t had Percocet, I couldn’t sleep. I felt as if bugs were crawling all over me, and I had to turn over every few seconds. Neither my husband nor I could get to sleep until he insisted I take a Percocet.

Unlike today when newspapers and magazines are busy warning people about these drugs, five years ago there was no one telling me about the danger. My husband said I was addicted to it and he fashioned a way to get me free. He cut one of the pills in half and I took that half just before bedtime every night for two months. It worked. I could sleep without constant turning over or feeling as if bugs were all over me. Next he cut the half pill in half and I took that quarter pill every night for another two months. When I finally went “cold turkey,” I was able to sleep without the Percocet.

Yesterday our local daily newspaper ran a cover story about how over 200 people suffered (and some died) from overdoses of opioids that weekend. Officials are busy trying to learn who had provided the drugs and get it stopped.

I don’t know what doctors are advising patients to do, but if my experience getting off Percocet helps someone else get off these drugs, I’m glad I shared my story.

Thanks so much for giving us TPV every day. I never miss it.


 When I’m required to sit for some time with both my legs up on a footstool (doctors orders, among exercises and walking without my walker or wheelchair), I often watch old movies on television. Last week, it was THE INSIDER, about the tobacco-company worker who told the famous TV host of 60 MINUTES that the manufacturer knew smoking cigarettes caused lung cancer, but was keeping it a secret and had fired him.

 The show grew from an article, titled, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, by Marie Brenner, which was published in VANITY FAIR. The story aired in 1964 and this film was made in 1999. It stars Al Pacino as Lowell Bergman, Christopher Plummer as Mike Wallace, and Russell Crowe as Jeffrey Wigand, the whistle-blower. Although telling the truth, which he thought was the right thing to do, Wigand lost his wife and children (she divorced him), in addition to his job. He became a high school teacher, and, after that, he lectured in cities around the world, hoping to stem the use of cigarettes.

 Although the film version didn’t earn as much money as it cost to make, it garnered lots of awards, including nominations and Academy Awards for both Russell Crowe and Christopher Plummer in the U.S., and other awards in other countries.

 I had seen this film when it first came out, but had forgotten lots of it in the years since then. It reminded me of the curent Presidential election, in which people have no great afffection for either Hillary Clinton (the Democratic Party nominee) or Donald Trump (the Republican nominee). But lots of unpleasant words are being tossed around, words we’ve never heard at a time like this before.

 I’m not suggesting you watch the film (unless you want to); however, it intrigued me and offers plenty of opportunities to worry about how this 2016 election managed to become so hostile. And how it will end.