October 20, 2014

And just like that.... I was gone.

Last week I disappeared. I had a general anesthetic on Tuesday morning, was home by Tuesday afternoon, and was completely stoned on Endone until Thursday evening. I lay in bed for forty eight hours, dozing and staring at the ceiling and doing absolutely nothing else.

Endone is a morphine derivative and even the tiny doses I took had a profound effect on me. I couldn't think. I didn't want to think. I didn't want to do anything but stare at the ceiling. I had no interest in watching TV or reading a magazine or eating or chatting to a loved one. I was perfectly content to lay on my back and just BE. It was probably the first time in my life I have experienced that kind of serenity, and - if I stay healthy - hopefully the last.

It is a weird thing, not thinking. Can you imagine not thinking? I don't stop thinking for a moment. Even now, writing this post, I have worried about the article I just wrote and whether my editor will like it, the piece of toast I just ate and how I'd really like another, how the makeup I'm still wearing after my TV appearance  is making my skin crawl and I need to take it off, and that I can't keep on procrastinating with my taxes. I hate doing my taxes. I was thinking that, too.

Since finishing that sentence I thought of the party I was at last night, and how I told one of my close friends that his daughter used to be 'funny looking'. I was a little drunk at the time, but it's really no excuse and I am quite mortified by my behaviour. I am thinking about a chart on introverts I saw this morning, and how it was a revelation because I am not at all introverted. I am thinking about my best friend and why she hasn't returned my message. I am thinking about the mess in my apartment and how I plan to clean it soon. And I am really thinking about that second piece of toast.

"We become what we think about all day long," wrote Emerson, and he has to be right, because really, what else could we be? We are not our bodies, we are not our jobs, we are not our status; we are our thoughts, and our thoughts dictate who we are. I am me because I worry about the things I worry about, because I care about the things I care about, and because I contemplate the things I contemplate. No-one else has my thoughts, hence, I am unique in this world.

Last week I was nothing. I had no thoughts, so I wasn't me. I was a generic body, lying in a bed, staring at the ceiling. I occasionally rallied enough strength to be a simulacrum of me. When my children came in to kiss me goodnight I said the things I knew Real Kerri would have said. But I didn't feel it. I felt nothing. Just air and ceiling and a deep, deep peace.

Now I'm back to me. And with all the worries and petty concerns and ruminations, I wouldn't go back to the serenity. Without my thoughts I am nothing. Without your thoughts, neither are you.


  1. i had endone after my gallbladder operation. it wiped my brain as clear as a reformatted harddrive and, as a chronic overthinker, it was heaven. i have every understanding why people become addicted to it. xt

  2. You know what? Thank for this! I spend so much time trying to shut down the chatter that I forget that chatter ... it's what makes me me!

  3. I was EXACTLY like that in the day or so after I had my baby. He was premature and I had a c-section and piles of medication - and I was really very ill with PE.

    I sent text messages, replied to emails and did what I was supposed to do. But I simply wasn't quite there. I saw my baby from a distance, in his humidicrib, and I just felt strange.

    But I remember talking to you, Kerri, on the email, and saying how upset I was that my legs had swollen to ten times their size (I also had bad oedema) and you said "Oh forget all that, you've had a BABY!" and I just thought: "A baby? Why can't I feel the joy?"

    I did feel the joy though. Eventually. Once the drugs and meds and all the worry about baby's health had lessened. And all was joyous. It really was.

    Goodness, I'm a bit teary now...

  4. What_Sarah_Did_NextOctober 20, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    I had endone when I was in hospital last year (for a hysterectomy). Can't say I'm a fan at all. I am a total lightweight when it comes to anything like that - alcohol, pain killers, anything. So with endone, I was totally off my chops, with waves of bad nausea to top it off. I barely remember much of the post-surgery drug induced rest but suffice to say, I hope I never have to do it again! Would much rather BE in the moment, than waft around on the fringes of it. :)

  5. I think one of the biggest changes in my life over the past year is that I've learnt not to think all the time... there are long moments in my days now — especially on my lunchtime walks — where I manage to completely zone-out and think of nothing.

    It's a nice feeling — I feel my muscles relax, especially my diaphragm — it feels good.

    Now, when I do get into "thinking mode" I'm more focussed on the important things — I barely think about all the inconsequential things anymore. I've simplified my "thinking" in a similar way to how I've simplified a lot of areas in my life recently.

    I'm not for a moment suggesting that you need to achieve some kind of "zen-nirvana" as I have — this has just been my experience. We're all different, and as Kelly Exeter said in her comment, her thinking is what defines her. I just thought I'd share a different experience. :)

  6. Yep. I had a similar thing after my 3rd was born after a c-section. Totally get it x

  7. I am always thinking. Sometimes I drift off into the never-never land, where my thoughts are dreamlike and random.... but I'm still always thinking. Lucky you, though, huh?

  8. Yeah, I felt a bit nauseous too. I don't want to repeat the experience. x

  9. Me too, though I didn't like it myself. But can see the appeal.

  10. OMG, I want some endone. To just switch off would be bliss....

  11. Lucky? I guess so - I didn't mean it to sound that way though...

    I think I have four states of mind now:

    1) Passive thinking, like you describe — dreamlike and random

    2) Active thinking, where I focus on one specific thing

    3) Creative thinking, when I'm working on my book and blog, or music

    4) Vacant thinking, where I'm able to empty my mind...

    #4 is a new experience for me.

    I guess there are technical words for these states that psychologists or neurologists would be able to describe - these are just how I perceive them.

    It's all interesting though - thinking about thinking... ;)

    (I may have just written a draft blog post...)

  12. should probably add i only took it in hospital, where all i could do was stay in bed … i have no idea how anyone could achieve anything on it in the real world.

  13. Lana (Sharpest Pencil)October 20, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    Can I have your endone? If you give it to me I promise I will return all your calls.
    PS You were quite fun to speak to when you weren't thinking

  14. I have no recollection of our conversation other than something about fur.


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