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Wait, it’s not what it sounds like. Well, it is, but it isn’t. It was perfectly legal, and it was kind of an accident. Except, I didn’t trip and, oops, ingest something I shouldn’t. I made a choice based off of sound medical advice. The real problem was, I wasn’t prepared for the outcome. 

And what was that, you may ask? I became kinda goofy.

Let me backtrack just a bit before someone knocks on my door to do a wellness check. I deal with a fair bit of chronic pain that comes with having multiple chronic illnesses. I know, I’m lucky like that. My body hates me, and it regularly argues about every little bit of movement.

Are you sure you want to go for a walk? It seems kind of long, those hills are steep, and I’m just going to lock up your knees. It’s for your own good, you know. We can’t risk a slip and fall. Not with our delicate disposition. Now, your legs can’t bend so, let’s turn around and go back to our lumpy sofa. Okay? Great…Wait, what are you doing? Why are you still walking/limping? You look stupid. Stop being so stubborn, or we’ll go after your hip next.

Wow, that makes me sound forty years older than I am. If I call it my ass, does that age me down? Oo, my ass hurts. Or, ouch, my hip. The first one sounds better, right?

Are your mind and body two separate and distinct entities? Do you argue with them, or is that unique to me? The two parts of the whole are supposed to be in harmony and work together to achieve the perfect balance. That’s what I’m told, but I can’t get it right. These two creatures, my mind and body, are constantly at war with each other. The only way to get anything done is with pure, teeth-gritting stubbornness.

I don’t care how stupid it looks! I’m taking my dog for a walk, even if I have to drag my legs behind me. Do I walk like a penguin? Yes, I do, and they are truly proud and noble creatures. All hail the mighty penguin.

Also, painkillers help, and this is where our story begins. 

One pain trigger is stress, and I’ve been under a lot of it for almost a month now. It’s been piling up, and I haven’t had much of a break. There was a hug from a friend I haven’t seen since the start of this pan-doodle (yes, I’m still calling it that, let me be). I’ve forced myself to take a few walks and work out a little. I’ve tried to find ways to release the pressure, but it keeps coming.

The result? A three-week-long migraine that blurs my vision, my shoulders become as tense as boulders, and I can’t walk straight. Why does my body work like this? Why can’t we just get along?

Never fear, I’m not going to spend the entire time complaining about my misbehaving personage. This is a means to an end. Yes, there will indeed be an end because I’m in pain, and I have a bottle of goofy pills.

I’m no stranger to painkillers. I’ve been on one or another for years plus an eternity. My tolerance is stupidly high. No one should be able to swallow this many pills and still be coherent. It’s not natural. I should be drooling into my pillow or playing with my imaginary ghost friends Anna and Stephen (it’s pronounced: Step-hen.) That’s right, my made-up incorporeal pals are very particular about their names, so don’t piss off Step-hen.

When I got these new pills, I thought, no big deal. I’ll feel super chill, and it’ll take the edge off. As long as the throbbing comes down to a manageable level, I’ll be all good. My pain tolerance is also ridiculously so a dull throb is no big thing. 

See, I’m not high maintenance at all, and I’m easily amused. Step-hen? Where the hell did that come from? I should wait until I’ve sobered up to write this, but nah. Let’s keep going and see where this goes. I’m just as curious as you are. Thanks for reading this far. You’re a good egg.

There may have been a slight miscalculation. While it’s true, I usually have a high tolerance for these medications, I have stopped using them as much. A couple of years ago, I realized that I couldn’t tell the difference between physical and emotional pain. All pain felt the same so, I treated them the same way. I started using the painkillers for my anxiety because it caused a headache that tensed up my neck, and then my back went out. 

My emotional pain was manifesting itself in my swollen joints and burning scars. I was treating the physical and completely ignoring the mental. If I didn’t deal with the mental health issues, then the mental illnesses would rule the roost. To know what I was really feeling? I had to let myself feel it so, I gradually weaned off of the medication and working through some of my traumatic baggage.

That tolerance I’d built up has slowly dwindled, and now when I use the medication appropriately, I get a bigger punch from it. For some reason, I failed to take that into consideration this time. My head was pounding, my neck was locked in an upright position, and I wasn’t thinking straight. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

I took the meds as recommended, and they helped a lot. Within a few hours, the pain had eased up, and I felt worlds better. I lay on the couch and watched stupid shows. I had no place to be and nothing to do. I just let the medication do its thing as I slowly drifted along with the current of nothingness.

I didn’t go anywhere or do anything after the first dose so, I didn’t realize how much of an effect it had on me. I lay on my couch, watching an old sci-fi show on Netflix. It was silly, over the top, and kind of a perfect way to shake off some of the stress. Sometimes you just need something stupid to take your mind off of things. There’s no real brainwork involved, and if you zone out for a while? No big deal, it’s too ridiculous to matter.

It wasn’t until the second dose that I started to feel a familiar heaviness. My arms moved slower, dragging themselves around as they reached for something. That’s another sign, by the way. Body parts become disengage from their docking ports, and it felt like I was watching someone else’s hand grab the glass.

Again, it wasn’t that big of a deal. This was my time to rest and hopefully get rid of some pain. I rewatched the season finale of Loki while the disembodied hand fed me dry cereal and a cup of tea. It was perfect. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt that relaxed, and I wanted to hold on to it as long as I could.

It would’ve lasted longer if my dog hadn’t given me that look. The hard stare with squinted eyes. Head tilted to one side, his ear twitched, and he gave three short, gruff barks. The sun was dipping lower, and he needed out. Nature was calling, and he heard her loud and clear.

Damn it, I muttered as I sat up. I looked at the time, and somehow six hours had come and gone. Six whole hours since I took that pill? What? How? Where was I during that time?

Another three barks and I shrugged a shoulder. Why the hell not? It was one little tablet, and it’s been several hours. Odds are it’s out of my system, and I’m just being lazy. This sweet dog deserves a nice walk for putting up with my choice of entertainment. It’ll be fine. It’ll be okay. What could go wrong?

Rookie mistake! I asked the one question you should avoid. Everyone knows that it’s the number one rule of karmic retribution. You don’t tempt the beast with stupid questions. If you do, it’ll answer, and you probably won’t like it. Unless, of course, you get a nifty story to tell your friends. That balances things out in the end.

It was a beautiful evening to be out. The sky was clear, the sun was low enough to take the edge off, and a cool breeze rustled the leaves. I was moving slowly, but at least my knees were bending. Well, they would’ve if my feet touched the ground. These little magic pills, it seemed, had given me the power of levitation.

I floated along as if I was being carried on the wind. Floaty, floaty, I feel so floaty. I hummed along to a tune only I could hear as I drift with the current. It was kind of nice to move with such freedom. I was unencumbered by my mind and body. For once, they were leaving me alone. We were in perfect harmony. 

Floaty, floaty, I feel so floaty.

A sunbeam shone through a leaf, and the cells of the leaf shimmered, rippled, then settled. Wait, I can see through organic material? What the hell is in those pills? Did they turn me into a floating mutant with x-ray vision? And people are worried about a vaccine. Someone should tell them about this medication. It should be on the label. Warning: this drug might give you superpowers.

That’s when I realized that I’d made a bit of a mistake. Six hours was not enough time, and I should not have walked as far as I did. I should’ve stuck closer to home because, and I said this out loud, I’m so f**king high right now.

There’s a section along this particular path that’s popular with drug users, and this is where my realization manifested. I received a few laughs, one enthusiastic, nice, and a sympathetic smile from an older woman. If her face was a storybook, it told a tale of hardship and struggle. Deep set wrinkles, dark circles under her eyes, but those eyes. Her eyes showed a genuine kindness and warmth.

She looked at me, smiled ever so slightly and with concern, said, “Ride safe, little sister.”

There’s a meme going around that says, in a world where you can be anything, be kind. It seemed to me that the world had been anything but kind to this woman. I would understand if that turned her cold, cynical, and maybe even cruel. She could’ve laughed at me or ignored me completely, but she chose kindness.

Maybe it’s the medication talking, but that little interaction meant the world to me. This woman gave me warmth, compassion and wished me well. She didn’t have to do it, but she took the time to be kind. In return, I wished her well and thanked her for her words. Neither one of us had anything to give, but what was given was more than I’ll ever need.

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