As I type this blog post my son is at the oral surgeon's office getting two wisdom teeth pulled. Not that big of a deal, really, for a 24-year-old man. Or for his parents. Unless that 24-year-old man is a recovering addict.
This is the first time in my son's nearly 19 months of sobriety that he's going to be faced with a decision regarding pain medication. I'm guessing that the standard procedure following the extraction of a couple of wisdom teeth is for the doctor to send the patient home with a prescription for Vicodin, or some other prescription opioid pain killer.
But as the father of an addict in recovery, I'm worried about that possibility. To his credit, so is my son. He talked to the doctor openly about his addiction before the actual surgery started. The doctor said the teeth looked like they'd come out pretty easily and that the pain might not be that bad. Here's hoping he's right and that my son can get by with some 800mg Motrin.
If the pain is terrible, my son told my wife that he's thought about getting the prescription pain killers and having his girlfriend keep them and dispense them to him only as needed and prescribed. I'd be lying if I said that idea didn't concern me. At this point, putting any opioid into my son's body doesn't seem smart to me; even if it's prescribed by a doctor.
I'm hoping the pain isn't too severe and that my son can suck it up and get by with a non-opioid pain reliever. But I also know it's not my life and it's not my decision. That said, I will say a little prayer asking that my son's higher power helps get him through this.
Addiction changes lives forever. Things "normal" people don't think twice about--like getting pain meds after having some teeth pulled--aren't so simple for addicts in recovery. Or their parents. And that's the tooth. (Sorry...I couldn't resist.)