This summer, a family member discovered he would need surgery for an Umbilical Hernia. This “occurs when part of your intestine sticks out through the opening in your abdominal muscles through which your umbilical cord passed before you were born. Umbilical hernias are common and typically harmless. They are most common in infants, but they can affect adults as well. In an infant, an umbilical hernia may be especially evident when the infant cries, causing the bellybutton to protrude. This is a classic sign of an umbilical hernia.” (Mayo Clinic, n.d.)
His surgery went well but it was his return home from the hospital that had us worried. It seemed that his mother was concerned about him taking the opioids that he was prescribed for after surgery, which in turn made him concerned about the medication and the necessity for needing them at all.
Couldn’t he just take Tylenol?
But it was clear that after my husband spoke to him on the phone that this was more than just take some Tylenol and call me in the morning, type of pain. He was unable to speak a few words without wincing in pain and he was breathing heavy and he was having difficulty just moving around in a recliner, unable to even get in a bed. This was alarming. I’ve had enough surgeries to know that if you aren’t able to sleep, you are unable to heal. My husband told me I needed to call him and find out what was wrong.
I called up him up and gently prodded for answers.
Was he just being stubborn?
I know how some men could get. I was married to one. After a long silence on the phone he said no. The nurse at the hospital had warned him about addiction and he said he knew he had an addictive personality. He could binge on coke and bad foods. He isn’t married and he’s been trying to get a better handle on his diet, eating better and taking better care of himself. He’s never learned to cook and had been watching cooking shows and has been trying to educate himself on things to do that will be better for himself in the long run. It sort of clicked one day he wouldn’t be 21 forever. Maybe he’s got an addictive personality, maybe not, but not taking opioids because you drink a lot of coke seems a little ridiculous to me and I told him as much. I didn’t beat around the bush. He does a lot of manual labor for work, and if he didn’t heal up right, he wouldn’t be able to do his job properly. His meds were only ten days’ worth. He needed to follow instructions and take them as prescribed and when he felt better, he could stop. I promised he would be fine. He called me a week later and told me he did as I instructed, and he felt better and now had begun the Tylenol course and was doing much better, but the opioids had helped him heal and sleep.
“You’re Welcome, I said. As long as you don’t abuse them, you are going to be fine. And I had told him, if you felt like you were going to abuse them felt like you needed them more often, call me. We’d get you to the doctor ASAP.”
I don’t like what they did to him in the hospital. Maybe they had to, I get that. They have to cover their bums, lawsuits all over the place. But the way they’re pushing NSAID’s these days, without so much as a precaution? Or the way they are pushing steroids for inflammation, the same way, without so much as a warning label? I have an issue with that, because you have thousands of people being steered away from opioids because of the fears of the addictions, when the NSAID’s are doing damage to the stomach that can lead to ulcers, GERD, gastritis and other serious damage that can include death. Many people treat their arthritis for years before it becomes a serious enough problem where they go to a doctor with over the counter drugs, or treat injuries or headaches with things like Aleve and Ibuprofen nearly every day, without even a thought or care for what it might be doing to their stomach. (Davis, n.d.)
Because it’s not prescription and because you buy it in a drug store and because opioids are the big story; the big scare. But listen, I’m not here not to tell you to stop worrying about opioids. There’s a lot to worry about if you aren’t careful. Addiction is real. What I am saying, is you should be careful about everything you are putting in your mouth, and just because you got it from a drug store without a prescription, doesn’t mean it’s safer.
(n.d.). Retrieved from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/umbilical-hernia/symptoms-causes/syc-20378685
(n.d.). Retrieved from webmd: https://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/features/anti-inflammatory-drugs-rheumatoid-arthritis#1
(n.d.). Davis, J. L. Taking NSAIDs? Protect Your Tummy. Retrieved from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/features/anti-inflammatory-drugs-rheumatoid-arthritis#1