Monday, April 3, 2017

Soothing drug-addicted babies

A pharmaceutical giant that makes billions aggressively marketing addictive opioids — side effects may include constipation — is now aggressively marketing a drug that relieves opioid-induced constipation.

Side effects do not include, apparently, an appreciation of fine irony.

I’m interested in this because I’ve been feeling a bit constipated myself lately.

Constipated with love!

Let me explain.

Our daughters’ baby years are far behind us and our grandparent years — knock on wood — are likely distant.

I miss holding babies. My babies, sure, but any old baby will do.

The memories are indelible. The tiny fingers, the hot little breaths, the heart beating like a locomotive just getting ready to really roar. Holding a sleeping baby — holding the future — is magisterial. It is at once awesome and serene.

The feeling inspired me at the time to write the, for me, profound line: “Holding a sleeping baby is better than any drug.”

But because I’m a real world guy, I followed that yin line up with the following yang: “But babies wake up and become the reason many parents turn to actual drugs.”

Sad, but true.

While a sleeping baby can be magnificent to behold, a wide awake one can be an incredible pain in the ass. They scream for no apparent reason, they vomit on freshly changed onesies and soil diapers with alarming frequency.

Many pinched parents turn to drugs. Hard drugs.

Addiction is our epidemic curse. I feel heartsick for the scores of adults who fall prey to it and its strangling consequences.

I feel worse for their children. Our neonatal wards are becoming crowded with babies born addicted to drugs their mothers took while they were pregnant.

But what can I do about it? My professional life’s such a mess many people suspect I have to be addicted to something narcotic. It would sure explain a lot.

Val knows how I feel about these things and she had a suggestion: I should check out the baby rockers.

I told her I prefer the geriatric rockers like The Stones and Tom Petty.

“No,” she said, “the hospital is looking for volunteers who’ll help soothe babies born with addictions. You go in and they give you an addicted baby and a rocking chair. It does wonders for the baby.”

Experts say the human touch is essential to helping these narcotically-addled innocents heal. In many cases, the baby rockers become momentary surrogates while the mother recovers from her own addictions.

I’m thinking about doing it and encourage you to do the same.

Here in Latrobe you can find out about it at the “Angel Arms” Facebook page.

And if you don’t have time for that, innovate. There’s bound to be someone in your life who could use a healing hug. It could be a child, a co-worker, a neighbor or — who knows? — maybe someone who sits across from you at the dining room table.


It never hurts to hug. In fact, we’re learning you can literally hug the hell right out of someone.

Side effects may include a better world.

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