Morphine Withdrawal, The Clash and Hospital Stay etc



It seems I’m waiting for events at the moment. The court date when my ex is taking me to court to try to change the order for him to pay my mortgage! Nightmare! I did take all the debts, it’s not a one way thing. He is being unfair to be polite. If I wasn’t being polite, I would swear quite profusely! The birth of my first grandchild on the 1st October! Absolute joy but a little anxious too 🙂

Anyway, I wanted to write about my hospital experience from last August. Various things have made me think about it. I was doing so well before my operation. I had organised a large exhibition for the Essex County Council as part of the ‘Essex Summer of Art’, ‘A Cinematic Celebration’. I had day surgery booked and an exhibition planned for after the gall bladder removal. ‘Nothing to worry about’ I’d been told, ‘In and out on the same day’ OMG! I had to stay in after and then told I needed another operation. I was in agony and on a constant morphine drip with a button that I was pressing more than I should. After that I had to have drains for 2 weeks and could hardly move from the bed. Those 2 weeks do not seem so bad in comparison to what was to come. I came home and had a zimmer frame to get around! (I’m not that old!) The next day I had a couple of nurses come to help me get dressed etc. They told me I needed to see a doctor. I looked pregnant. I was thinking to myself ‘My gosh I put on weight in hospital, how did that happen?’ The doctor said I needed to go straight back to hospital, which I did and straight back into the operating theatre. This time I was in another ward, the last time I had been in a room of my own with en suite. At first things didn’t seem so bad but I had drains in again, my tummy looks like dot to dot, all the holes where they put them in and pulled them out. I began to get paranoid, totally drugged up on morphine, codeine and diazepam amongst other things. Then I decided I want no more drugs and I’m not having anyone poking around trying to get a cannula into a vein. So I stopped the morphine! Bad move, serious withdrawal. I was so sick. I won’t go into gory details but there are many. All I kept thinking about was the Clash song ‘Bank Robber’. I don’t know all the lyrics so just a repetition of, ‘My daddy was a bank robber, he never hurt nobody, he just loved to live that way, he loved to steal your money.’ To this day I’m sure that must have had some meaning. At the time it was just driving me insane (although I still love the music). That and the smell of the blanket that I couldn’t get out of my nostrils. The spider hallucinations weren’t bothering me. The fact that I couldn’t keep my legs still made it a hell of a night 😦

I didn’t realise until later that I could have died from the complications. Now, these days I really don’t like hospitals. I still have stomach pains but for the time being I have to tolerate them. I do have pethedine to manage the pain. If you have read my other posts you will know this caused quite a problem with my heart rate just the other day. I will do without that now. In fact I’ve also removed my morphine patch. Paranoia back again and pain. Life eh?

At least I have that off my chest. Therapeutic for me if not interesting for anybody else. The painting here was just another piece of therapy for me, I’d never think about selling it.  It demonstrates quite a bit of what I have written here.


About larainbriggs

I'm an artist and have been since I can remember. Being an artist is one thing that has remained constant. At 10 I received my first oil painting set and by the age of 14 I had my first piece of work in a local gallery window. I am not an artist by choice, art chose me but I am extremely happy that it did. It is my path and vocation and the right thing to do for me. As long as I am doing that then I am doing the right thing, there is no question about that for me. It's a spiritual experience that is difficult to explain but I am sure other artists will understand exactly what I am saying. Here is my artist's statement to explain what my art is about:- I am currently a practicing artist living in Dovercourt. I previously taught in London and was a self-employed supply teacher where I live now. I studied Fine Art at Camberwell, and at Goldsmiths in London for a Post Graduate certificate in education. I also studied for a BSc in Computer Aided Visualisation at the Anglia Polytechnic University and Art Therapy at the Institute for Art in Therapy and Education. Unable to work outside of the home due to disability both mental and physical, I now focus on my multi-disciplinary art practice full time. My work has been inspired by Carl Jung for a long time and exploring my unconscious for even longer. I work through painting, assemblage and installation, employing various strategies to access animus, the shadow, and my soul. Through creative expression, I attempt to externalise the inner reality of my psyche. My work acts as a mirror where I try to see my soul - the inner workings of my mind. It transcends persona and barriers to connect with my true self where I hope to reconcile internal conflicts and heal myself. It would be impossible to communicate these aspects of my psyche verbally. The work is full of symbolism and archetypes which I believe are viewed in turn by the viewer in an unconscious manner. I hope that this will also be as therapeutic for the audience as it is for myself. My work is healing, especially to those who have mental health issues. I invite others to have a glimpse of a mind that is often troubled, anxious and depressed and to find empathy and understanding for people who are suffering from mental illness. I hope to touch the soul of anyone viewing my work. Currently, my work is mostly abstract in style but just as I can see archetypal images and symbols within the abstracts that reflect my own soul I hope that the abstract will act as a mirror to the viewer where they will see relevant images that relate to their own psyche. I am diagnosed with bipolar disorder and BPD(Borderline personality disorder) sometimes known as emotional intensity disorder. I believe this latter diagnosis has developed through a number of traumas occurring through my life. I wish to raise awareness of mental illness through my work and hope to one day be able to show to many more people where I will have a forum to discuss the difficulties that these problems bring. View all posts by larainbriggs

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