~ by Howard Eisenberg ~
Well, not exactly. That’s just a teaser headline to get you to read the next few paragraphs.
There’ll be no TV, but plenty of sobriety reality in The Recovery Book revise we’re working on, as readers of the first book become contributors to the second. How will that work? Here’s a for-instance.
Jennifer B., fresh out of recovery at Willingway and a long stay at its women’s halfway house, needed surgery on both hips and her spine. What she – and Dr. Al – feared most was that an anesthesiologist (or hospital RNs) unfamiliar with addiction recovery would inadvertently throw her into relapse by administering the very drugs that had addicted her in the first place.
As Dr. Al tells people in recovery, "No matter how far along in recovery you are, having surgery means you are back in the Red Zone, and that means you need to be extra careful that you don't relapse. A completely innocent use of mood-altering anesthesia drugs could send you back to square one in your recovery."
Jen found herself teetering on the edge of that anesthesiological cliff. First hip: no problem. All went smoothly. Second hip? Well, let Jen tell the story:
The anesthesiologist ordered that the epidural be kept in longer than usual in order to avoid using mood-altering drugs for my pain. Great idea, but it caused an allergic reaction and plenty of pain. As the nurse was about to follow the doctor’s latest order, I asked her what she was about to administer. “Benadryl,” she said.
“Uh-uh!” I said. “I’ve used that one in ERs and I loved it. It gives a wonderful warm short rush, but I sure don’t want it anymore. Please call Dr. Al Mooney at this number and connect him to the doc who wrote the order.” She called. Dr. Al made a recommendation. The doctor accepted it -- and the beginning of a possible relapse was averted.
There’s a lot more to the story of how, time after time, a recovering Jen (who had paid long and short visits to a half-dozen hospitals and their ERs 200 or more times in her drug-using years) held off her mood-altering narcotic enemies at hospital gates. She’ll be telling her story to help others prepare for surgery – and she’ll include her thoughtful and successful six point plan – in our revised The Recovery Book.