Oxycodone was developed in 1917 in Germany, and is a moderately potent opioid analgesic generally indicated for relief of moderate to severe pain. Physicians often prescribe it because it works. This is a personal story about the unintended effects of the drug.
In the summer 2014, I crashed my racing bici at 28-mph and suffered a fractured clavicle, eight fractured ribs, and a partially deflated right lung.
The accident occurred when I was five minutes below my fastest time as the derailleur slipped and I slammed it with the palm of my hand, which catapulted the bicycle chain into the rear tire hub and froze the rear tire movement at twenty-eight miles-an-hour.
Disaster occurs in slow motion. Attempts to break forward speed with the front tire brake destroyed steering–no doubt I would go down.
Fortunately, the desert at the edge of the blacktop was free of cholla cactus. I considered putting out my arm but rejected the idea for I would only break my arm. I wondered if the impact would be worse than college football. I landed very hard, on my right shoulder. Everything seemed okay, and I stood laughing.
I was in shock, the medical condition associated with a fall in blood pressure. This is the human body’s miraculous ability to neutralize pain. Truthfully, I felt no pain, and I was very proud of myself for having survived the fall.
I stood upright, when a voice behind me said, “How badly are you hurt? You’re covered in blood.”
I replied, ”I’m okay,” and I knelt down to study the bicycle damage.
The voice, (Chelseo Felix), asked, “What do you plan to do.”
“I replied, “Fix my bike and ride home.”
Chelseo picked up the bike and placed it in his truck bed. “You have two choices: The first, the one I recommend, is to take you at once to the hospital. The second is to take you home if there is someone there. I chose the second, where after arguing fruitlessly with my wife Helen and Chelseo, I ended up at Tucson Medical Center, and waited my turn at emergency. I was seen long after the effects of shock had disappeared. Relief came with morphine
Continual questions. Was I wearing a helmet? Yes. Could I have suffered a concussion? No, I had a football concussion, lost three-month’s memory, so I would recognize it. A serious concern arose over the partially deflated right lung, and I was transferred to The University of Arizona Medical Trauma Center. There a team of six – ten specialists examined my injuries with specific attention to my partially deflated lung.
The trauma center diagnosis: The deflated right lung was not a problem. If necessary, a syringe could resolve the issue (from my back). The trauma team believed I was in awfully good shape. None of my injuries required medical intervention, and I was sent back to Tucson Medical Center, where I was released the next day with a UMC prescription for 42 Oxycodone 5mg immediate relief Tabs.
It seemed strange to be back home, propped up in bed with a plastic urinal. Movement, coughing or laughing resulted in serious rib-pain. Helen became my nurse, and I had three loyal canine companions: Barney, Fred and Max.
Hospitals are not an anathema. I’ve survived two cancers, three surgeries plus chemo and radiation. Normally, I am a very positive person, but being bedridden at home was awkward. Obviously, being home was preferable to being in the hospital, but homecare provided adverse consequences, such as the complete dependency on my wife for practically everything. Never once, did my wife complain or begrudge her role in my homecare recovery of 2-3 weeks. The prescribed four oxycodone 5 mg. tablets daily were unnecessary sometime after 7-days, when I only required one a.m. pill and one p.m. pill.
I stopped writing novels, and instead read novels in Spanish, which was once a very dependable form of inspiration, except for now. I was living a nightmare of discontent. I began to doubt that I would ever be as I once was, living, dancing and loving life, going to the gym and ridding my bici up and down hills. I began to think it would be preferable to be dead. I began to truly fear my thoughts.
Unexpectedly, I remembered a dear long-ago friend nicknamed Bones: an intelligent, happy, carefree buddy who was always with Sam, Charlie and me. We had a memorable Thunderbird Graduate School of International Business year with international business and language classes, and we frequently commuted to Scottsdale for nightlife. Also, Bones and I were part of the winning InterAd team, and I was an usher in his wedding to his childhood sweetheart.
Several years before my accident, Sam called and said Bones had taken his life in a gruesome manner. This was a man who established a successful company, where his two grown sons also worked. Bones had no problems. All I ever learned was that Bones had a routine surgery, returned home, and then dramatically exited stage left. The M.D. suspected drugs might have contributed to his demise.
The memory of my dear friend occasioned the remaining oxycodone to disappear down the toilet. Soon, I returned to the gym. Helen bought me a new bicycle for my birthday. My first experience was to ride the sinister route where my compulsive drive ended in a serious accident. Admittedly, I was scared, yet I kept ridding that route until my fears left.
I often think how my old friend, Bones, might have reached out from the afterlife and saved my life.
The purpose of this email is to awaken people to the complications of oxycodone that might occur after prolonged use.