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Around The Sun: Getting Really Stoned

Steve Harrison recalls a night of acute pain.

I don’t believe in taking pain killers - paracetamol, aspirin, Sudafed, whatever. I’ve come to the conclusion that the drugs they put in you are more likely to kill you than the disease itself. I’ve also chosen Eastern herbs, herbal medicine and green things over western pharmaceuticals.

So when I found myself in agony one night it was a no brainer I just lay there and suffered.

It had been a long strenuous day at the computer and I was eager for sleep. But sleep escaped me. I couldn’t settle or get even remotely comfortable. I tossed and turned but each turn was excruciatingly painful. I was in a foetal position, but even that was uncomfortable.

So at about 2 am I bit the bullet, Despite my better judgement I decided to get in my car, drive to the petrol station, buy some aspirin and put this pain to bed.

At the time I was living in Rockdale and a gas station and drug store was only about a mile away. Luckily I owned a Volkswagon Beetle. They drive themselves.

It took me at least 45 minutes to get to the station. I was doubled up over the steering wheel. The pain was almost unbearable. I was on the point of passing out.

I couldn’t get out of the car. Couldn’t stand up straight. Couldn’t speak.

I stared at the steering wheel, thinking I was going to die - and here I am at a petrol station, trying to buy asprin.

By now it was almost 3 am. I knew there was a hospital at Kogarah, a couple of kilometers away. Driving in first gear I somehow managed to get there. I crawled into the hospital’s reception area, leaving my car door open and the key in the ignition.

I crawled on all fours along a hallway.

I saw nusrses, chit-chatting, playing cards. One said “Hey this guy has renal cholic.’’

That was the day I learned about kidney stones.

They laid me on a trolley. Dosed me with morphine and Pethadine.

They sent me to a blissful place.

I eventually passed a stone. And learned that western drugs can be very good.

Every four or five years another stone manifests itself. I permanently carry the strongest painkillers available. And thank God for western medicine.

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