Author's Note: Written for the drabble challenge on the LJ community HouseficPens, with four drabbles of 100 words or less linked by a common thread, in this case facts about morphine, with references in the last two from the episodes "Skin Deep" and "Who's Your Daddy."
Morphine was named for Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams
Whoever named morphine was a sick son of a bitch, House decided. One side effect was nightmares. Another was insomnia.
House didn't remember his dreams. In the first days after his second surgery, he wasn't sure if he slept at all. The morphine swept away time along with most of his pain. The only thing that remained was emotion: anger and fear.
He lay in bed, a dull ache coming from the spot where there used to be muscle, and tried not to think about what would happen next.
Morphine was introduced in 1804, but didn't come into wide use until the hypodermic needle was invented in 1853
None of the alternative painkillers seemed to work. House put up with three days of vomiting and nausea on Lortab. Percocet added itching to the mix.
House began to wish again for the relief morphine could bring, but never asked for it. Too much temptation. The same chemical that dulls pain also stimulates physical dependence.
Always take care of your patients' pain, his first attending told him, but never depend on morphine long term. During the Civil War, Army surgeons created a nation of morphine addicts 400,000 strong because they didn't understand the danger that came with relief.
A single epidural injection of morphine in the spinal column provides two to three weeks of relief for those with severe chronic pain.
House re-read the article in a back issue of "The Lancet" before he went to Cuddy. For years, he had thought of it his safety net, knowing that no matter how bad the pain got, there was another alternative, something that could still give him relief when the Vicodin and the massages and the mind games no longer worked.
Just this once, he told himself. Just for some relief. Just to get through the next few days.
When she told him about the saline, he remembered the footnotes about the placebo. Seemed she'd read the article too.
Hermann Goering was a morphine addict for 20 years
House can't remember who told him about Goering, but ever since he'd wondered if the Final Solution grew from some morphine-fueled hallucination from Hitler's right hand man. House tried not to think about it again when he came home and saw the box still open on his table.
He dropped onto the couch in a barely controlled fall and stared at the needle. He closed his eyes and counted to 100, forcing himself to think it over once more.
When House finally reached for the syringe, he noticed his hands were shaking.