29 October 2023

21 years ago I had a tumor yanked out from the underside of my brain via my sinuses. Yes, it was painful. I spent the 3 days following surgery on morphine, then Percoset, and they sent me home with a prescription for Vicodin, and stressed that I needed to fill it.

So, fill it I did, with the Spouse Thingy's help because I couldn't stand there long enough to hand it over to the pharmacy tech. When it was ready, they handed me two huge bottles--300 tablets. Of Vicodin.


When we got home, I wanted to go to bed, and I wanted Percoset. I don't know why, I just did, and we had two tablets left over from something else. I took one, napped, took another before bedtime, and after that managed it on Tylenol.

I never took any of the Vicodin, and we carted those pills around for YEARS.

Thing is, no one blinked at the amount I had been prescribed. It's just what they did back then. Controls weren't as tight; if your surgery had been painful enough, you took home a chitload of pills.

But, you can imagine what might have happened if I had taken them all, even as directed.

Floating around online, I'm seeing *a lot* of blame heaped on Matthew Perry for his own death. "Well, yeah, what did he expect?" "Drugs will do that to you." "No sympathy, he was a druggie."

I'm going out on a limb and presuming most of those people are too young to remember how his addictions began. And it started with surgery and post-op Vicodin. He got on it, and struggled to get off of it.

It was not a personal failing. He took the meds he was prescribed, and the meds got their hooks into him. It could happen to anyone...and back then it did, more often that it does now, I think.

They sent us home with insane amounts of pain relief. That was a kindness, right? Don't make the patient suffer, make sure they have relief at home.

What never seemed to come with those meds was a tapering plan.

Yes, he wound up horribly addicted, was in and out of rehab more than 20 times, but he tried. And he owned it. And the most likely scenario of his death is that after playing Pickleball for a couple hours, he went home, got in the hot tub for a soak when he was already overheated, and those years of struggle caught up with him. He likely had a heart attack, or even just passed out and drowned.

Don't blame him.

What happened to him was something no one deserved.

I keep thinking of those 300 tablets of Vicodin, and, damn...there but for the grace... y'know?