Saturday, 4 August 2012

Ode to Narcotic Relief (ONR 20)

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One of the downsides of chronic pain is the need to use powerful pain killers which bring with them risks of unpleasant side effects and even death. Sufferers who have been taught pain management techniques usually try to minimise the amount of drugs that they use. That said even the best of us occasionally need to use drugs.

The type and dosages of drugs differ dependant on the individual and factors such as; the current state of pain, activity levels, state of mind and even something as mundane as the weather or barometric pressure.

I have recently taken a short holiday with my family which involved considerably more movement than I would normally undertake. During the break I had to significantly increase the quantity of painkillers I was using.

Whilst consuming the drugs I became acutely aware of the importance of getting both the dosage and the timing of each dose correct. Making such calculations is extremely difficult when every brain cell is screaming in agony. As if that was not hard enough the added temptation to take follow up dosages early is extremely hard to control.

On completion of my holiday I had to perform a vital task, namely work out a plan to safely come off the increased dosages, without going into cold turkey. Whilst doing this I became aware of just how dangerous these drugs could be in the hands of a sufferer of Chronic pain during a flare up or setback, this inspired me to write the following poem;

Ode to Narcotic Relief (ONR 20)

They bear a mark
ONR 20
and look so innocent
so tiny, so dainty.
Just knock back a couple
sit back, wait a while.
Twenty minutes later
I’m on the junk pile.
For perhaps half an hour
I can raise a smile,
Then the pain’ll be back
and I’ll taste the bile
and start to clock watch
whilst reeling in pain
waiting for the next dose
to relieve me again.
I’ll crave for more
But I have to take care
For these tiny capsules
could answer my prayer
and help me find peace
either up or downstairs.
They bear a mark
ONR Twenty
and as demon or friend
they could help or kill me.

John Carré Buchanan
03 August 2012


  1. Hi John. Thanks for that and for pointing out the hazards as well as the benefits of narcotics. After 15 years on shedloads of morphine - fentanyl, oxycontins, oxycodones, MST, oramorph etc - I have come to thank God for them. That may sound strange given that a.I am a Christian Pastor who is acutely aware of the problems of addiction etc and b. following surgery for implantation of a neuro-stimulator I am now opiate free, but I mean what I say. All the best gifts to mankind - sex and narcotics among them - have been abused and prostituted by evil people and the powers of darkness BUT they were given to man for comfort, joy and in the case of narcotics, pain relief. I pray you will not need them soon! Till then, receive God's provision with thanksgiving and give guilt the boot! All the best. Eric

    1. Eric, Thank you for your kind comment. Hopefully I too will be able to get a stimulator some day. All the best John

  2. Hi JB, just sent a comment but not sure it went, so am redoing - if you get two decide which you prefer! just wanted to say thank you of your postings, not sure I can always say I enjoy them but I find them extremely helpful for me to understand something of the rough journey you at times have to endure. It is hard to comprehend what it must be like having to use such heavy doses of this and that but I have another friend who takes as Eric says 'shedloads of Morphine' and it helps one understand you both. So I have to sign off like Eric. I pray you will not need them soon! Till then, receive God's provision with thanksgiving and give guilt the boot! Blessings from the south, Bryan. Looks like again although posted form Chad this time you will only get a French flag!

    1. Bryan, Thank you for your kind comment. I am glad that I am able to give you some sort of understanding about what people with Chronic Pain endure as improving understanding is one of my reasons for writing. Perhaps more importantly though; I am grateful to people like you and Eric for showing a genuine interest in understanding, and supporting me and others like me. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you Fly with MAF in support of those less fortunate in Chad.


I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.