Only got a couple of hours sleep. Could hardly get out of bed this morning my neck was so sore. I had agreed to meet a group at the BBC in Mosman at 630 for an early swim down to the baths. I just couldn’t do it. As I was hosting the end-of-winter Fortitude Plate breakfast, and the New Zealand consul general Ms Billie Moore, was guest of honour, I had to show up. It it nearly killed me. Came to work as I had a luncheon appointment but feeling very sick and sorry for myself came home in the middle of the afternoon. My neck is as sore as it has been in years.
Today’s papers are full of the news that two young South Sydney, Rugby League footballers, Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray, have been taken to hospital after overdosing on Oxycodone which is a prescription painkilling drug. Once this would have been of only passing interest to me. However, broken tibial plateau’s and surgery with the attendant pain, inevitably bring a patient into contact with powerful opiate-based drugs such as Oxycodone. Why is this significant? Oxycodone, and its brothers OxyContin and Endone, are drugs synthesized from thebaine an alkaloid found in the opium poppy. It is an analagesic (pain relieving) drug administered for severe pain (cancer, broken bones etc). Unfortunately, morphine and heroin come from the same source. And therein lies the problem. If you take these drugs for too long you can become addicted and many people have recovered from surgery only to find they have a more enduring problem.
If you take too big a dosage they can kill you. How do I know this? From virtually the moment I woke up following surgery I was taking two Endone tablets every four hours, usually accompanied by one Panadol. Mixed in there also was Oxycodone, although I didn’t take it for long. I found that, despite the strength of the Endone, it was not sufficient to kill the pain completely on about the second and third day of recovery. I have a fairly high tolerance to pain but even so, I needed these extremely strong drugs just to cope. I often woke during the night in indescribable agony. The drugs were given under very close supervision always with two nurses present and always they stayed with me to make sure I swallowed the medications. They left me in no doubt at the Mater Hospital about how dangerous these drugs were. I was given a small supply of them when I left the hospital on Monday 16th February – four days after surgery. Despite my best efforts I could not get off Endone completely until the following Monday. That’s 10 days of taking a synthetic morphine drug every four hours – day and night. At various points I tried to stretch it out to 6 hours, often without success. The drugs made me very sick and I had to take other countermanding drugs just so my insides would work.
Months later the memory of the pain is fading but I have to sit and read how two young idiots decide to walk down this path just for the fun of it. Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray belong to a class of the most privileged, pampered, human beings in our society. They don’t have to work, are excused from educating themselves and get paid a fortune to play a game. They exist in a culture where adherence to social norms such as bashing women, public drunkenness or taking drugs are optional. The privilege society bestows on these creeps by making them role models is repaid by taking hard-core opiate drugs for recreation. The taxpayer is then expected to pick up the bill as they are attended to by fleets of paramedics and then take up space in emergency wards. Society is owed an explanation. Are these guys stupid? Are they ill educated? Are they poorly managed? Do they have brain dead parents? Are all the above applicable to Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray? Possibly. I think they are a disgusting example to their peers and to young children who look up to NRL players in admiration. They should never be allowed to play the game again and should spend the rest of their useless lives washing dishes in a roadside diner in Broken Hill. Maybe then they will learn some humility. They deserve nothing better.