Morphine and the Goddess of Hirō

Just a memoir of a thing that happened one time

Dave Gutteridge
6 min readApr 6, 2021


A woman in high heels sitting on a bench outside.

Morphine is the fucking best. Can’t recommend it enough.

I’ve been prescribed morphine three or four times in my life. One time was Demerol, which I think is a form of morphine, but I’m not up on all the particulars. The other times, though, so far as the doctors explained to me, were just straight morphine.

One of those times was about twenty years ago, a few years after moving to Japan. I had neuralgia, which is a condition that effects your nervous system. There’s no one consistent cause for everyone, but in my case I think my doctor said it was a viral infection.

I felt it in the nerves between my neck and my right shoulder. It just came out of the blue one day. I never had it before or since. I’ve broken bones and other injuries, but this was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I mean, it’s your nerve itself, the thing that is tasked with letting your brain know when pain is happening, so the only symptom is just straight up pain. It’s the kind of pain where it’s hard to think straight.

According to the doctor I saw, the only way to deal with it was to take morphine, and wait it out. So I got intravenous morphine to start, and pills for about two weeks, and it was an awesome two weeks.

Well, maybe an awesome one week. At first it was a pretty even fight between the neuralgia and the morphine, and I remember mostly being in bed, unable to do much because everything seemed to aggravate the pain. But, after a while, my shoulder was good again. I still had a few pills left, so I was better than good. Being on morphine felt amazing.

I went back to see the doctor for a follow up, and he was like, “how’s it going?” And I was like, “Ummm… better, but I think a little more morphine would help.” I’m not proud of that moment. I was totally done with the neuralgia, but not done at all with the morphine. I was straight up lying because I wanted more.

He was like, “really?” I’m like “yeah. Definitely.” And this is the part I wonder about. He was like, “okay, yeah, you can have more morphine, but from now on it has to be a suppository.”



Dave Gutteridge

I write thought-provoking pieces on ethics, relationships, and philosophy with honesty and vulnerability, often inspired by experiences and pop culture.