Yesterday’s blog touched on morphine and roused interest in this drug that’s been around, in liquid or tablet form, for a long time. Without it, my end-time would look different.

The drug has an interesting history.

Between years of animal testing, 1803 and 1806, a twenty-one-year-old pharmaceutical assistant, Friedrich Wilhelm Serturner, isolated a potent substance from opium he then named morphine. Its soporific effects, also observed in himself, led him to name it after Morpheus, one of the thousand children of the Greek God, Hypnos.

Depicted as winged, silent, speedy, he accompanied individuals into sleep and took form in their dreams. Pierre Grimal’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology (1992) resources this night-time god and speaks to his presence in the Roman poetry of Ovid.

Serturner’s discovery also revolutionized the continuing development of chemistry, including further refinements of morphine and multiple protocols for incorporation into seas of pain. Relief came quickly, as also my case when I began the drug several months ago.

Patients with decades of RA, a systemic disease I’ve had over sixty years, discover the air sacs in their lungs hardening like cardboard. The only treatment is a lung transplant, but ingestion of morphine slows down the body’s decline. 

With the continuing support of Twelve Step recovery in Chronic Pain Anonymous and of hospice support, I continue managing my twenty-four routine. I have no physical pain.