Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Paean to Pholcodine

It's been nearly a week since I last blogged, and the cyber-silence got to my brother so much he even phoned me tonight! Those who know me know that when I shut up there's usually something wrong, and I guess the same is true of blogging (although I have been blogging under an alias here).

But why have I been incommunicado? Well, shortly after my last blog post I got sent home from work because I had difficulty breathing. My dear Dad who'd been visiting us at the weekend had somehow passed on his cough which had taken a virulent turn for the worse en route to me and had left me very short of breath. Now I'm used to being out of breath from exercise - in fact, that's one reason I don't exercise, but this was shortness of breath because I couldn't breathe in.

My doc proscribed me an inhaler and I spent the rest of the week under a blanket on the sofa, only really emerging at the weekend. Meanwhile at work, the final stages of the big shake up happened and some of my close compadres lost their jobs, which was unexpected and obviously occupied my thoughts more than blogging. Then I had a writing project over the weekend to do as a favour for the friend, plus bowling with the youth on Sunday evening, and then, oh I don't know, just stuff happening like a staff carol concert yesterday and things, and now I'm here telling you about it.

But on the plus side, I get to neck Pholcodine, which has to be my poison of choice. Ah, the warm rush as it hits the back of your throat. When we were kids my mum apparently used to have to hide the bottle so we wouldn't drink it like pop.

Pholcodine is a liquid opiate - basically opium can be split into two main drugs: codeine and morphine. Codeine's what you get in Co-codamol and drugs of that ilk, and morphine is morphine, named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, one of the sons of Hypnos, the god of sleep. (Morpheus is often depicted asleep on a bed surrounded by poppies and opium comes from poppies - coincidence? I think not!)

One of the best feelings I've ever had was after my appendix operation when I was mega-dosed with morphine and the pain just melted away into the night. When I woke up the next day I insisted the room had been painted pink when I went to sleep - but I was reliably told by the nurse that they hadn't repainted the ward in the night; my colour confusion was down to the morphine.

I even wrote a (very poor) rhyme about it. All I can remember is the refrain:
Oh let me sleep, Oh sweet morphine
Oh let me sleep, Oh sweet morphine
Oh, let me sleep, and dream sweet dreams
Bid me never wake
Hmmm, morphine, codiene... the bottom line is at heart I'm an opium junkie. Now if only I'd been born 150 years ago when it was quite acceptable to get out of your head on poppy power.

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