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I never understood that whole addicted to painkillers thing. I only really heard about it when I first moved here and I couldn?t really imagine that it referred to your standard Walgreen stuff. How could you get any kind of high from those? And wouldn?t alcohol mixed with ibuprofen just prevent a morning hangover, rather than kill you?

Prescription painkillers, big dummy. I first got to try them when I had my wisdom teeth out. I was prescribed with Vicodin, which I?d heard of and thought would be pretty cool but really it just made me a bit disoriented and stupid. Plus I slept a lot but I?ve never really needed any help with that. But since injuring my back, I?ve discovered a whole new level of painkiller.

Last week I went to my doctor to get something stronger than namby-pamby ibuprofen. I don?t know why they sell that stuff in such measly dosages. Do not exceed 6 tablets in any 24 hour period. Pah.

So my doctor precribes Vioxx which sounds serious and worthy of my injury. Plus I?ve seen it advertised on TV so I?m feeling pretty hip and fresh in the world of pain. But then her voice lowers to a whisper and she asks if I want to try something else, something stronger. Steroids! I conceal a gasp and listen attentively as she gives me the lowdown on cortisone and then writes the script for a two week supply. Don?t worry about all the side-effects listed, she says, in fact it?s probably best not to read them. Five minutes later I?m racing to the HEB pharmacy to get my first fix.

Actually Prednisone is quite boring on the dangerous narcs front. It?s used for treating all kinds of stuff — asthma, earaches, skin diseases, arthritis and other fairly dull illnesses that require some form of anti-inflammatory. But its effects are pretty amazing. The doctor mentioned that I might get ?jazzed on it? — a medical term — and she wasn?t kidding. I’ve been hyper. This has been particularly apparent in my sudden lust for organizing the house — cleaning out junk, changing around furniture, doing chores left over from the past year or so. Of course all this extra activity is killing my back, which I suppose is a little ironic. But it?s seemed a small price to pay for only needing 5 hours of sleep a night and being so busy doing stuff that my to-do list is now down to about 40 items.

So, side-effects. Well of course I did read the list that came with the prescription. But only one really caught my eye, which was a caution that if you vomited anything that looked like used coffee grounds, it would probably be best to stop taking the medication.

?Put the kettle on love, I think I?ve coughed up enough for a brew?.

The side-effects I?d been experiencing seemed more like advantages to me, until I weighed myself today. Up five pounds in 5 days. Sure, it could be all the chocolate, popcorn and chips I?ve been eating in lieu of running but I prefer denial. In fact I was still balancing the pros and cons of hyper-mania versus fat when I did a bit of web surfing about Prednisone. Weight gain was one of the most common complaints, plus insomnia. Irritability was also mentioned, but with me it’d be impossible to tell. But then I got to the bit (and the photos) about facial hair growth, acne and the development of a fatty hump on the back of the neck. Wow.

Maybe sleeping in and slobbing out isn’t so bad after all.