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.


  1. Phyllis - you have a very smart husband. Many people have to go into rehab and usually go off cold turkey and with more drugs to counteract the side effects. Not too long ago newer opioids, like Hydrocodone, were marketed by the manufacturers as nonaddictive. They were dead (no pun intended) wrong.
    And this is a problem that can affect anyone, not just the much-maligned inner city. After 40+ years of being a nurse, I have major structural issues with my back. My drugs of choice: the demonized aspirin (enteric coated) or ibuprofen (one or two tablets once a day). Now that I'm retired, I spent a lot of time sitting at the computer to write, but luckily I have a dopey dog that must be walked and that also helps.
    In many ways medicine has advanced but it hasn't advanced enough to manage pain and educate professionals and patients.
    Again - you've got a very smart husband.

    1. Mitzi:
      Thanks for your comment. It was very helpful for me to learn what you know. Sorry it's taken me so long to reply, but I'm still visiting doctors because of a sore that's "weeping" down my leg.


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