My first Tracker

sayarsan's picture

was in my head after returning from surgery and there was no way i could maintain my daily intake of ~750mg of morphine base. I had mentioned to the emergency doctor about this complication and had said "if i can't get any help for this (the morph) i'll go home" and was only half joking. He probably assumed i was serious. Anyway i was ordered 50mg Morphine 6th hourly but it was a weekend so i expected that come Monday some senior doctor would show up from the real world demanding "what in god's name is going on?". As it turned out i was in the real world where a doctor won't dump a junk sick patient on their anaesthetist or surgeon colleague but still, this wasn't going to last beyond my next trip to theater in 4 days. So i had short term goals; to deal with the problem adaptively, and to prove that this junky could exercise some control over its intake without coercion plus a long term goal; to stop shooting up all the gear and make lots of money later which i truly believed in at the time. What i did was watch the clock and when 6 hours were up i asked for an injection and next time i waited at least 7 hours and so on. I also waited until there was some sign instead of succumbing to the desire alone and the first sign was usually a runny nose.
Fortunately i was able to walk although i had a drip sited in my external jugular and i had an oz. of very good pot which i received from Adelaide in exchange for a gram of morph so when i felt it was time for a shot i would roll a joint then go for a walk looking for a place to smoke it. Since the smell advertised me and the pot i had to wander further and further to smoke it. My friend who had the same affliction as me but was smart enough to get antibiotic treatment before surgery became necessary would visit every coupla days bringing enough pot for a few joints and we would usually go for a stroll in the cool evening through the grounds which were nice and quiet, almost deserted. It was after one of these strolls and i was alone in bed that a security guard who had decided to play detective showed up at the ward sister's desk and she came and asked me if i had been taking drugs. I instantly decided that under these circumstances pot didn't constitute drugs and answered with an honest "no i'm trying really hard not to" that would have fooled a lie detector. They both left satisfied, him that all people who take drugs are liars, and her that no further action was necessary. After all she could read my chart.
The next day i was approached by the man from a few beds down. An unfortunate looking fellow tall, thin, dark grey, with a prominent scar across his throat. Being a smoker i had two packs of Camel Filter on my table, some matches, pen and paper, a book, and the odds and ends that accumulate in a day's work being a patient. As he approached he gave a cursory greeting and i held his gaze with a supercilious smile as he selected a pack from the two on my table and tried to be casual as he looked inside. It was then i knew that God is on my side as he looked at a half full pack of fags both of us knowing that he only had one chance. I asked "would you like a cigarette?" and he of course declined then i made a caustic remark about him looking like Frankenstein's monster and he made a feeble reply that the doctor had assured him it would disappear. It is mute whether or not the guard and frankenstein were allies but i still wonder who or what apart from the ward sister was mine
Some years later while i was studying i learned about the idea of a Usage Tracker in Clinical Psychology and realised what i had invented in my hospital bed. The description i learned included goals both long term and short term but i don't think these are necessary unless the aim is to reduce consumption. The Tracker is an interesting exercise in itself to someone taking lots of drugs and curious about their own behaviour and this is enhanced by a computer that enables us to easily sort the entries in various ways. I wonder, had i kept doing it after i was discharged how wealthy i might be now.

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