Some people have asked me since I’ve been back from the hospital to post my reactions to morphine. I’m happy to oblige. The closest thing I had ever taken to it is Demerol, way back in 1966 when I had an adventure with a cop in South Carolina that resulted in the fourth finger of my left hand being temporarily separated from my body. Needless to say, the Demerol helped a lot. Of course, I had tried a fair number of recreational drugs in the sixties and seventies (I must have thought I would live forever – talk about changed views!), including opium, also close in feeling to the morphine, but I always drew the line at “skin-popping” of any sort. Something about the needle freaked me out.
Anyway, at Cedars Sinai they deliver post-operative morphine the old “Frankie Machine” way — via injection.(I suppose they want to discourage the addiction that comes from those IV drips.) I had a couple or three that sent me on some interesting trips. Maybe it’s the detective writer in me, looking for clues, but I tend to go into the past in such situations. I remember one particular acid trip during which I thought I was one of the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup. (Well, I guess I wasn’t looking for clues there, just pure joyous insanity.) This time I kept going back to my father’s office in New York when I was a boy circa 1950. My father was a doctor and I spent a lot of time visiting hospitals with him while he was making rounds, so the association was there. Also, we had had a testy relationship that I have always wanted to resolve and in these reveries he was very close and loving. But there was something more, I figured out the MacGuffin of the book I am writing. Yes, it is a non-fiction memoir but it still has a MacGuffin. I am structuring the book somewhat as a mystery – the mystery of why I changed my views and others haven’t. I found a key in the past, my little Rosebud. But I won’t say what it was. That will have to wait for the book. [Why don’t you get to work on it? -ed. Hey, gimme a break. I just had an operation.]