There was no delay, no time given, no quarter extended by my body, nor begged for by my mind. I’d never detoxed before, although the pain had become an old bad friend. The codeine tablets in my nearby metal drawer, twenty-three of them, got me through the night and on into the next day but the awful nature of combining the pain with the horrid terrible shakes, hallucinations, sweating, and fear was horrific. I believed that I would have died if I had not had the prisoner-supplied supplement. Not only that, but the prisoners were there when the supply ran out to add more codeine. I wondered if I would have to detox from that at some future time, but future time meant nothing to me. There wasn’t even a clock to count the minutes of misery, the seconds of bitter terror, and the actual agonizing physical nature of all of it.
I did not sleep, I lay in moving, moaning misery, waiting for a sun to rise and fall behind the never to be opened blinds on the windows. I waited for more water, ice, and bed changes. Our ward had a bathroom and I spent hours inside it through the nights, using the toilet instead of the pans for the heaving vomit, that most often produced nothing except almost complete exhaustion. Hot showers were a very small relief, but the shower made noise and the other prisoners didn’t like noises in the night. None of them had been to Vietnam so none of them were creatures of the night.
The prisoners weren’t bad men, not in my view anyway. They seemed to care a whole lot more than the rest of the Oak Knoll staff thrown in together. Peterman had killed no one, which is what I expected. I was the only killer in the ward but wasn’t in the ward because of it. I also didn’t think the ‘killer’ had much chance of making it through the detox and lack of real pain drugs alive.