How a Banana Peel Changed My Life
What is the funniest, yet most bizarre thing that has ever happened to you… the one thing that no one would ever believe is true? For me, I slipped on a banana peel and broke my leg. As crazy as it sounds, it is the absolute truth.
It was a Sunday morning, and I was headed to my job for an all-staff training at The Ohio State University’s Recreation and Physical Activity Center (RPAC). As I was power walking in the back alley near my apartment (of course I was running late), I was texting my brother to tell him “Happy Birthday” and what an amazing, wonderful and life-changing brother he is- just the normal things people want to hear on their birthday. Suddenly, I slipped on something and felt immediate and excruciating pain in my ankle. My vision went white upon impact, and as I tried to stand and put weight on my left leg, I saw the banana peel as I fell down once again.
Thankfully, some neighbors saw the entire episode and offered to drive me to the hospital (which in hindsight was the “common sense” thing to do), but of course, I refused and insisted they take me to work instead. Here’s the funny thing… imagine me in a wheelchair, being rolled out of the all-staff training by my boss and told to call my parents, who, by the way are eight hours away. I was a mess and initially refused to call or speak to either of my parents. After a long day at urgent care and the ER with my aunt who lives in Columbus, it was determined that I had broken my left fibula at the growth plate and might need surgery. The ER doctor prescribed me a 30-day supply of medication for pain, assuming that the orthopedic surgeon would allow me to continue taking the same opioid.
During my consultation with the orthopedic surgeon, I was informed that I would need a different opioid in conjunction with post-surgery aspirin. Due to previous injuries, I knew before the surgery that opioids make me drowsy and confused. I did not want to miss my classes any more than I had to and informed the doctor I wouldn’t need more than a two-week supply. He sort of chuckled and wrote a 30-day supply anyways because he didn’t think I knew how painful the surgery would be. I was really shocked and concerned that they failed to validate my own understanding of my body, and the risky situations I could be in as a student on a college campus with two 30-day supplies of opioids.
However, I knew I would need the opioid prescription this surgeon had written for so a mere three days after picking up a 30-day supply of opioids, I had to go pick up another 30-day supply of a different opioid and take all of those to a college campus apartment. While I knew my roommate wouldn’t take or steal my medicine, I had no way of knowing if someone had heard about my situation via word of mouth and would approach me about obtaining leftover opioids, or worse, robbing my apartment while my roommate and I were gone to obtain them. In an environment where people are known for abusing opioids for recreational use, I was constantly on alert, moving these extra pills around to hide them in new places.
This life-altering, anxiety-inducing experience enlightened me as to how over-prescribing the daily supply of opioids might lead to an individual becoming addicted. It further enlightened me as to the lack of care that is provided to newly opioid addicted patients. In my pharmacy career, I hope to challenge patients to use less opioids than they think they need and safely dispense of them if they have any leftover. I also hope to counsel patients who are trying to stop using opioids after a substantial period of use because of the provider gap I discovered by watching this video about one patient’s journey in trying to sustain from opioid use.