Monday, January 20, 2003

My first day on the patch, I put it on as soon as I woke up at 7 am. I resolved to pack as many hours of analgesia into my day as possible. I got ready for work, ever alert for the first signs of the drug’s effects. In 45 minutes, the first subtle waves of warmth spread throughout my body. When I arrived for work at 8:30 am., I was getting quite stoned. It had been one-and-a-half hours since I applied the patch, and the effects were equal to about two Percodans. By 9:30 am., I was getting a little concerned – the high was increasing dramatically and an unavoidable somnolence was taking hold of me. By 10:30 am., the high has lost some of its euphoria and became sinisterly heavy and stuporous. My co-workers were giving me suspicious glances as my movements became exaggerated and simple tasks like hanging up the phone became a real challenge. My desk, with its usual office accoutrements, became an obstacle course that required a dexterity that I was rapidly losing. By 11:00 am., it felt like I had four Percodans coursing through my bloodstream. Visions of an unwelcome coma coming to claim me became evident and I’d decided I’d better attempt the unsteady expedition to the bathroom to remove the now job-threatening patch. Just then, my supervisor burst in, telling me I was late for the department meeting going on down the hall. I looked in the direction of his voice but found it difficult to focus on his face. I told him I needed to go to the bathroom first and he replied that was out of the question. The president of the company was in attendance at this meeting, and arriving any later would qualify as a serious faux-pas. I lurched to my feet, my head felt like it was full of wet cement, and my body anesthetized. I steadied myself along the desks toward the door, and my supervisor, noticing the difficulty I was having with the simple task of walking, asked me what the hell was wrong.

Will Beifuss, “Sailing the Fentanyl Seas,” in Pills-A-Go-Go, edited by Jim Hogshire (139)

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