What Frank doesn't comprehend is that I've been keeping those medications "just in case." In case it all happens again. In case my brain implodes. In case I want to kill myself. Mostly, I was holding onto all of those medications in case I decided to kill myself.
Last night, Frank asked me what I was going to get rid of. I told him that I had to think about it. At about 11:00 last night, I held a meeting with The Cabinet of Pharmaceutical Delights. I lined up all of the bottles (about 35 total) and explained that not everyone was going to be able to stay.
All combined, the medications would have made a fabulously lethal cocktail guaranteed to grant me a painless exit from this world. My plan has always been to wait for a night with sub-zero temperatures, heavily overdose myself on everything on hand, and then go and lie down outside (out front, in front of the porch, so my body would be convenient and easy to move), and just die from either the drugs or hypothermia. My stash includes an anti-emetic to help guarantee a successful exit.
When I saw all of the bottles lined up along the counter, it brought a sad realization about how hard I have tried to find relief from my brain, from my thoughts, and from my physical discomfort. So much money, so much science, so much disappointment.
It was time to cull the stash, at least enough so Frank would feel I was sincere about getting rid of "dangerous" drugs. I started.
- Lyrica: gone. It made me fat and stupid. I estimate I had about $800 worth of pills.
- Lexapro: gone. It made me live in a severe mixed state.
- Wellbutrin: gone. It made me super-manic and sent me into the stratosphere.
- Trazadone. Hmmm. I never took it. It was prescribed for sleep, actually, but when I read it was an anti-psychotic for schizophrenics, I was so embarrassed and frightened, I refused to take it. I heard it could be lethal in an overdose, though, so I kept refilling the prescription anyway. I decided to keep it. I'm not convinced I won't need it some day.
- Vicodin: gone. Makes me throw up relentlessly.
- Baclofen. Keep.
- Ambien. gone. Mostly, it made me hypno-shop online. It also made me cry relentlessly.
- Lamictal. gone. Unnecessary.
- Hydroxyzine. Keep. Prescribed to alter nerve activity, it failed at that but it does wonders when my allergies don't respond to anything else.
- DriTuss. gone. It was old, and if I get pneumonia gain, I'll get something current.
- DuraTuss. gone. See above.
- Bextra. gone. Useless.
- Celebrex. gone. Useless.
- Diclofenac. Keep. A fabulous NSAID when ibuprofen can't get it done.
- Oxycodone: gone. It was, like, 10 years old.
- Lithium. gone. I do not have bipolar disorder. It also made me fat and screwed up my thyroid, so it deserves the incinerator.
- Xanax, four different types. I kept all of it. I like it for when I can't sleep. It's out of my system quickly and doesn't seem to have side-effects.
- Lunesta. gone. I swear it's a placebo.
- Valium. Seriously? Keep.
- Elmiron. gone. It did not cure my bladder of bad behavior.
There were others, nothing very interesting, most just way past their prime. I had forgotten they were in the house.
I dropped off my medications at a local hospital. That was the designated spot for my area. As I approached the drop-off area, I could see a couple dozen pharmacy students trying to prevent reams of pamphlets from blowing off a long row of tables. Ahead of me, a large group of police officers and DEA agents waited at the curb. I hadn't thought about this. I mean, I knew the DEA was sponsoring the event, but I thought the students would be greeting us as we pulled up. That was a benign image in my head throughout the process. It hadn't occurred to me I would have to be around cops. I took a deep breath and waited my turn in the drive-by drop-off.
I had a fairly large plastic bag of drugs on the seat next to me. I pulled it into my lap. When I was first in line, a smiling cop came to the window, extended a bright green nylon bag to take the deposit, and asked, "Do you have any questions? Would you like to talk to a pharmacist today?" I told him that, no, I was pretty up-to-date on my medication knowledge.
Before I could pull away, a young Asian man in a starched, white lab coat leaned in and handed me a pamphlet. He said, "Here's some information for you."
I glanced at the title, "Talking to your doctor about pain." I didn't know whether to laugh or throw it at him. Instead, I said, "That's timely. I'm in excruciating pain, but trust me, there is no pharmaceutical way to address it."
He insisted I talk to a pharmacist. Right then. I pulled over to the curb and waited a second. A man in his sixties approached my car. He shook my hand and introduced himself as the dean of the pharmacy program at the local university. Wow.
We chatted about my options--how I think I don't have any and how he believes I just haven't found the right doctor (yeah, no kidding). He suggested opioids, and I thought, "Buddy, that is the last thing I should have in my possession. That would make exit way too easy."
I smiled and thanked him for the information, while shingles neuralgia made it impossible for me to lean back in the driver's seat. As I pulled away, tears started coursing down my cheeks. I immediately regretted getting rid of the drugs I had hoped would help me, and then had kept on hand so they could kill me. I had just committed myself to a harder way out, if out was what I eventually chose. I had finally admitted that there was no better living through chemistry. My moods and brain blips were going to be all mine to bear, as were my physical pain and nervous system malfunctions.
I cried the whole way home. Ten point two miles.