Back in 2007, before I had my big cancer surgery, I was taking morphine tablets a couple of times a day. As of yesterday, I am again—quite possibly indefinitely. It's because of that pain I've been having in my torso, which so far has no obvious source, but which I'm guessing is simply the result of my ever-growing tumours. In recent weeks it's been keeping me from going to sleep easily, or waking me up in the night. I was taking too many Tylenol 3 and Advil pills. For someone like me, morphine is a better and safer painkiller.
The drug is pretty amazing stuff, really. When I had my last partial bowel blockage in 2008, it was excruciating. But a single injection of morphine abated the pain within minutes, and was able to keep it at bay in hospital while I waited for my body to clear the obstruction. So far the low-dose, twice-daily pills are working well against my current pain, and I have shorter-acting tablets I can take if things act up in between.
The team at the Pain Clinic yesterday also prescribed me Zopiclone, a sleeping pill, in case I needed it. Last night I tried half a tablet because the morphine hadn't fully kicked in by bedtime, but so far I'm not a fan. I've been in a zombie-like state most of the day, much more so than my usual chemo-recovery Thursday. I'm certainly in no shape to drive or operate heavy machinery. Or light machinery, for that matter. I'll keep the sleeping pills in reserve in case I really need them. But I think I'll sleep fine just reducing the pain first.