i pay $1500 a year to my pharmacy (that's on top of what insurance pays) for medications to manage my genetic disorder: depression. without those medications i would be dead. with them, i'm functional and stable, but most of the time i'm also irritable, tense, closed. that's why i also pay about $500 a year on the black market for the one medication my insurance won't cover and my doctor can't prescribe: marijuana. my husband likes me better when i smoke pot daily. my colleagues like me better. my kids like me better. i like me better. in the horrific six months when my old medications stopped working marijuana kept me alive until the new meds started to work. i really wish i were kidding, but i'm not: i would have killed myself without marijuana.
because i hate hypocrisy, i quit smoking pot before i took the n-clex and abstained from it for a year. it was not a good year. because i knew i would be a happier, more productive person, citizen, and nurse, i started smoking pot again. i have never gone to work high, and i never will, just as i would never go to work if i were drunk, hungover, running a fever, or taking any medication that caused drowsiness. just like pilots have a 12-hour "bottle to throttle" rule, i have a 12-hour "toke to time-clock" rule.
i am respected in my community for my work and for my parenting. i don't cheat on my taxes, i don't steal, and i would never park in a handicapped space. if i want to, i can legally buy and consume cases of liquor and cartons of cigarettes, substances we nurses know causes disease. but in order to purchase a drug that i need for my mental health, i lie and i break the law, and i hate it.
sometimes i wonder how many nurses are in the same position. sometimes i wonder what would happen if nurses, the most respected professionals in our society, stood up together and said we want marijuana legalized now.