‘The Crown’, Morphine and My Client

Although I am a year, ok, maybe two or so behind, I just finished up the Season 1 of The Crown.  I became fascinated with the late Prime Minister Anthony Eden’s use of “popping pills” and injecting himself with something, which led me to google, “why is Prime Minister Eden taking medicine in season 1 of the crown?” (I love Google). This led me to a thorough academic article on Anthony Eden’s medical history,  a possibly botched gallbladder removal, several subsequent surgeries, and what could be called a decades-long addiction to amphetamines, and possibly morphine.  Apparently, there is much academic debate as to whether Prime Minister Eden’s physical health status influenced his behavior and political maneuvering during the 1956 Suez Canal crisis, a time period that obviously, had much effect on the existing and future security situation of Israel.

Given that I spend a great deal of time with clients helping them manage their significant, chronic pain, whether from surgeries, back issues, degenerative disease or as yet undiagnosed source, it made me think, how much of our everyday actions are governed by our physical state at the time?

My day is often peppered with conversations of people who can frame their lives around the ebb and flow of pain.  A young woman who told me she has basically had a constant headache for the past 14 years; a man in his 50’s who sometimes misses a night of sleep for the pain; a young mother of little children who delegates a great deal of the family budget to therapeutic massage to relieve the pain.   I am constantly inspired by these clients because they are still living their lives, moving forward, trying to find different management regimens, providers who will listen, even sometimes, a name to their condition, just to feel some legitimacy that their plight is recognizable.

Are any of them prime ministers? No, but they are teachers, lawyers, physicians, artists, computer programmers, and, usually, parents.  Some of them can remember a time without pain, others cannot.  Sometimes they are despondent, other times, cautiously optimistic that something is working.  They wonder who they are sometimes, pain with a face, or a person who happens to have a great deal of physical pain.  I don’t think there is an answer, just as I don’t think anyone can say whether Eden made political decisions due to his chronic condition. I don’t think you can separate out the experience from the individual because I think that our personality effects, greatly, how we experience our illness. Someone who has lived with chronic pain for 15 years is not the same person he was before the pain, just as someone who loses a loved one is not the same person she was before.  Inherently changed? Yes. but, less? No. And that is the key, I think.

Not that I have any vested interest or knowledge of PM Eden, but perhaps his management of his own pain made him more equipped to deal with crisis, not less. Physical pain, mental illness, chronic disease, they all change us, but it is a mistake to think that they make us less equipped to deal with life.



12 thoughts on “‘The Crown’, Morphine and My Client”

  1. I totally agree with what you said about PM Eden. What he had to do to keep 10 Downing St. running did help the country. He never faltered in his duties, and was as I have read, a good Prime Minister

  2. After the Queen’s passing, I finally watched “The Crown”. I see I am not the only one googling stories from situations that occurred during her reign. It helps to understand “rules” of the Royal Family…ex., Who you can or can’t marry and why…It puts in perspective disputes among siblings…Just now watching Season 2. Queen Elizabeth had more than I could ever imagine on her – May she Rest In Peace 🙏

    1. My goodness, your note could have been my exact words. I, too, just started watching “TheCrown” this week, and have googled several points of interest of which I was unfamiliar. The Queen was quite remarkable and really very isolated emotionally, but her consistent consideration of the monarchy was critically important to the whole world during her reign. It seems she was truly the only real constant figure of all the Royals of the 20th century.

  3. I wished “The Crown” had aired years ago. Although a drama, it depicts the heavy duties & sacrifices the Queen endured at every turn her entire life.
    God Bless her 🙏

    1. She was amazingly controlled.. Margarette however had so many personal disappointments I have to feel sorry for all her pain.

  4. Thank you for your empathetic & insight about chronic pain. I was an R.N. AFTER being heing hit by a car as a 19 yr old .pedestrian. Driver had no insurance or.job.
    2 yrs in hospitals, signed amputation X3,,
    but they saved it. I am now crippled and & each step is excruciatingTorture. I am an overcomer.but now @ 67 I want death.
    During my divorce after 35 years of marriage, I had pancreatitis OMG
    & nor have I ever used alcohol. Well It turns out I have end stage Is chronic pancreatitis, exocrine AND Endocrine glands & pancreas are all calcified.
    My pain management Dr. sounds like you.
    Very good @listening. I take 18 enzymes pills to Digest my food. My mom died 1 wk after turning 55, weight 68 pounds
    1977 they said possible crohn’s disease
    I was 130 down to 95 lbs. Just lucky to get.
    to the BR. I THANK God for you & other
    Dr’s who are compassion.
    I think PM Eden .had chronic pancreatitis. I was ashamed to pick up meds for pain That’s all there I just wanted to thank you who AR empathy and putting it out there so many doctors think we’re looking for a handful of pills believe me if I Could throw them all away I would. We need people like.Thank you,
    Ann Salaun Rondou RN

    1. Annemarie Mccarron

      I do have so much empathy for you, and agree with you. myself, I have chronic fibromyalgia all over my body along with other diagnosed difficulties. I am on Morphine tablets, and Oramorph liquid, and an array of painkillers and muscle relaxants…I hate taking them and would give anything not to be on them. These pills give me a reason to get up every day, even though its a struggle. I would love to throw these meds away and let the medical practitioner’s feel that they are right and it’s all in my head, but it’s not in my head. I will unfortunately be taking tablets all my life.

  5. Colleen Mary Murphy

    I wish I had watched The Crown many years ago. It is such a wonderful show, from the sets to the uniforms to the actors, unbelievable viewing. I know it is not all accurate, I understand that, but I think the writers and directors and actors have done their very best.

  6. Thank you for your insight regarding Prime Minister Anthony Eden’s health, illnesses, and treatment. The information you provided added to my understanding of the portrayal of PM Eden in the PBS series, “The Crown.”

  7. Thank you for your empathetic response to Anthony Edens pain in the Netflix show The Crown. People are so ready to disregard people in chronic pain as if it was there fault. Especially in today’s climate. I too was an RN who got injured in a MVA, . I have several operation on my leg and back. Im now on disability. I am not the same person I was before. Every day and night is spent in pain. It is physically and mentally exhausting. It can definitely make u feel very lonely and misunderstood.

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