It's never a good sign when your husband wakes you up at 4:45 in the morning and asks you to go fill a prescription for Dilaudid. It is even more disturbing when said husband has been up since 2 a.m. popping Percocet at double the rate of what is generally considered a standard dosage.
Before I continue with the story of my husband and powerful opiates, let me tell you that he is a runner. Actually, let's make that a RUNNER. He has a very high pain threshold, eats ridiculously well, and is very well-versed in all sorts of ways to live a healthy lifestyle. He is also a physician who has turned his traditional psychiatry practice into one where he relies on homeopathy and other energetic healing methods. He is not a pill popper.
So when he woke me up, I knew exactly what it was-- a kidney stone. When I returned with the prescription an hour or so after he woke me, he was crawling on the floor, unable to speak, and was shaking uncontrollably. He also had intermittent vomiting. It was bad. We've lived through a couple of kidney stones already but this was by far the worst I have ever seen him.
My husband was not interested in going to the emergency room. He did not feel that they would be able to do anything beyond what he was already doing at home. I disagreed and called my husband's colleague (a family friend who is also a family doctor) who also thought it was a good idea to get him to the hospital. At the very least, we figured, they could give him some anti-nausea meds and some IV fluids.
We live about four blocks from a hospital and in one of the small miracles of the day, none of the children had woken up by this point. I left the front door open, asked the neighbor to keep an ear out, and I drove my husband to the ER and dropped him off.
When I arrived an hour and a half later, I found my husband on a heart monitor, doped up on even more narcotics, and calling his patients to reschedule. While it was pretty entertaining watching my stoned husband drunk dial, I was a little unnerved by the constant beeping of the heart monitor. Apparently, when the nurse in triage took my husband's pulse, they (rightfully) freaked out that it was 35. It was only after an EKG and hooking him up to the heart monitor did anyone think to ask if he was a runner. His heart is fine.
With his pain well under control and eager to get the heck out of there, my husband dutifully peed in his cup and took out his own IV. He joked with the nurse that if his urine wasn't positive for creatine, they "could charge him double." Then he corrected himself and said, "Oh wait, you already are!" He thought this was hilarious.
At 9:45 in the morning, they released him and he insisted on going to work. My friend dropped him at his office and we checked on him at around noon. He told me that he didn't think the stone had passed and he was feeling a little loopy from all the drugs.
So what is a guy like him to do? See more patients, of course.