January 20, 2018

"On a positive note we now know for certain he went painlessly and beautifully exhausted after doing what he loved the most, for one last time..."

"... performing live with his unmatchable rock band for his loyal fans on the biggest tour of his 40 plus year career. He was extremely proud of that achievement in the days before he passed."

Tom Petty's family communicates after receiving the news from the coroner that Petty died from an accidental overdose of painkiller drugs.

Like Prince, who also died from an accidental overdose of painkiller drugs, Petty suffered from physical injury in the hip bone. In Petty's case: "On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication."

I've written before about the "died doing what he loved" statement. It is what people tend to say, even when it's a tough fit. I've heard it used to adjust to a murder that happened to a person who was walking down the street. It's a big cliché, but obviously entirely understandable and only worth pointing out from a great distance.

In this case, if Petty went on stage after hearing this news and played one great concert, while overusing dangerous drugs, I'm not convinced he didn't decide to check out from this life, but there's no suicide note, and the family should interpret the evidence in the way it likes best. There's no greater truth than that we believe what we want to believe.

66 comments:

David Begley said...

Why no hip replacement?

Curious George said...

"Like Prince, who also died from an accidental overdose of painkiller drugs, Petty suffered from physical injury in the hip bone. In Petty's case: "On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication."

Not buying it.

Jason said...


Maybe he tried to be a hero and tough out the tour.

Etienne said...

The guy was a millionaire. He could have paid for 100 hip replacement surgeries. But no, tough boy is gonna go out on tour and play for his fans.

The good news is, his family gets to spend his money now. Ka-ching!

Tough boys, running the streets...

Sebastian said...

"There's no greater truth than that we believe what we want to believe."

How does that square with the Althouse Addendum I seem to recall--that people don't really believe what they profess to believe?

Ralph L said...

I'm guessing Petty would have liked to have had an encore performance or two.

Hagar said...

If you are on drugs, an overdose is not "an accident," but something likely to happen.

MathMom said...

I had a friend who actually died doing what he loved. He died while square dancing.

Curious George said...

"...we now know for certain he went painlessly and beautifully exhausted after doing what he loved the most, for one last time..."

Apparently that was taking drugs.

Gahrie said...

Hip replacement is no walk in the park...before, during or after. The doctors would have wanted to try everything else first.

Ann Althouse said...

"How does that square with the Althouse Addendum I seem to recall--that people don't really believe what they profess to believe?"

It squares perfectly.

People want to believe, for example, that racial stereotypes are not true, so they believe they don't believe them, even when they do believe them. The beliefs about yourself are very important beliefs, and your preferences are very powerful.

So many people think they are good even when they actually believe they are bad.

JML said...

Well, he doesn't need a hip replacement now. RIP

Ann Althouse said...

I realize this calls into question what "belief" even means, but we like to believe there's a such thing as belief. We could let go of that and simply be belief skeptics, and yet, I believe that you'll only go with me there if you want to believe in such a thing.

Gahrie said...

So many people think they are good even when they actually believe they are bad.

An observant Christian believes he is a sinner, even as he tries to live a good life and repent/atone for his sins.

A secularist who believes that human nature is fundamentally selfish and brutish, including his own, but believes as humans we have the ability to overcome these traits and does so in his daily life would also think this way.

The problem for most of us are all the people who believe they were born as philosopher kings and can do no wrong.

Curious George said...

"Gahrie said...
Hip replacement is no walk in the park...before, during or after. The doctors would have wanted to try everything else first."

I've had both done and that's bullshit. Yes, before is a bitch. Unbelievable pain. But the progression is quick.

During, your under general, but the anterior process now used requires no cutting of muscle. It's the simplest joint replacement because unlike knees it actually is a joint...a ball and socket.

After, you're walking the same day. I was back in the gym within a week both times. Off the oxy (low dose) in five days. There is absolutely no reason to delay replacing a hip. None.

Gahrie said...

Belief:

1) an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists
2) something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction
3) a religious conviction
4) trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something

Basically beliefs are ideas we feel are true, without objective facts (or truths) to back them up.

The reason I am no longer a Christian is because there is no objective proof that Christianity is true, and I have no faith that it is (despite searching for years).

Phil 314 said...

This was not a noble death, it was a sad, unnecessary one.

Unknown said...

Regarding Petty not having got the hip replacement yet:

He thought he had another day. And a day after that.

A quote I have posted before:

“Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps 20. And yet it all seems limitless.”
― Paul Bowles

-jj

Fernandinande said...

Funny that pain meds haven't improved much over the past 100+ years.

wwww said...



That must have been extremely painful. Breaks are incredibly painful if you can't hold the break still. Sounds like he used painkillers to get through the show.

Very sad he didn't cancel the show and rest and heal.


"The reason I am no longer a Christian is because there is no objective proof that Christianity is true, and I have no faith that it is (despite searching for years)."

But what, then, is the value of faith? God cannot work in the material world except through souls that are open to him.

Unknown said...

"On a positive note we now know for certain he went... ...beautifully exhausted..."

This makes me think of a Hold Steady lyric about John Berryman.

Stuck Between Stations:

He was drunk and exhausted but he was critically acclaimed and respected.
He loved the Golden Gophers but he hated all the drawn out winters.
He likes the warm feeling but he's tired of all the dehydration
Most nights were kind of fuzzy
But that last night he had total retention.

--jj

MayBee said...

The problem is, over time the opioids would no longer be eliminating the pain. So he overdoses because he needs more more more, and it's more than his body can handle.

I hate that his family said "beautifully". I don't want people thinking opioids and fentanyl are a beautiful death. It is a tragic death, and it is happening to too many people. We don't want to lure more people into it.

Rusty said...

Blogger Gahrie said...
@ 8:01
According to my hip guy there are only two alternatives. Pain meds and hip replacement. Most people think the procedure is painful and the recovery long and painful. That is the main reason people avoid it. Today it is done routinely in outpatient clinics and you're encouraged to walk right after you recover from surgery.

Mark said...

I understand your point, Professor, and think there's validity to it generally. But as applied to Petty, I don't think it holds. The substance of the man's life pointed to a man who was happy with his station. Certainly I'm just speculating, as you are. But he just finished a successful tour, he appeared on sirius radio regularly with his "Buried Treasure" radio show (where he came across as a man who understood life's ups and downs pretty well and could live with them with a wink and a smile), he was making music with his lifelong friends (read about Mudcrutch), and he was happily married. If this had happened a number of years ago, when the man was despondent over a failed marriage and an admitted addict, then I could see the possibility. But that was quite a long while ago. Accidents happen. I may just be wishful thinking because I hate to imagine the alternative is true. But the evidence doesn't support what you're suggesting.

Rusty said...

Didn't see you George.
What George said.
No excuse.

mockturtle said...

There are currently some breakthroughs in pain management, not yet on the market, that will eliminate the need for opioids. This will be good news for chronic pain sufferers and probably bad news for those who just want to get high.

Curious George said...

"Rusty said...
Didn't see you George.
What George said.
No excuse."

No worries, and yep. The day after surgery is better than the day before.

Wince said...

So it wasn't his heart, and indirectly orthopedic.

EDH Said...
His crew always said it was tough to get TP to leave Malibu for the road.

On the most recent tour TP looked okay, but he needed a Cushman to get from his dressing room to the bus, even indoors.

I just assumed it was orthopedic. Sad news.

10/2/17, 3:08 PM

Curious George said...

"mockturtle said...
There are currently some breakthroughs in pain management, not yet on the market, that will eliminate the need for opioids. This will be good news for chronic pain sufferers and probably bad news for those who just want to get high."

For my hip PRIOR to surgery I found that gabapentin, which is taken for nerve pain, was much more effective than opiods are OTC like Advil. A good 12 year old single malt wasn't bad either.

Bad Lieutenant said...

According to my hip guy there are only two alternatives. Pain meds and hip replacement.

Ah! He was probably an Obama voter trying to help bend the curve.


Most people think the procedure is painful

My mother's last year went excellently.

Kate said...

I assume that if a coroner declares an "accidental overdose" the amount of the drug found is not conclusive to call it suicide. Otherwise, they shouldn't use a word that suggests a continuum.

Patrick said...

"How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps 20. And yet it all seems limitless.”
― Paul Bowles

I'm gonna go call my Dad.

WK said...

Most nights were kind of fuzzy
But that last night he had total retention.


Kind of similar to
“Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

William said...

I wonder if he was more addicted to applause than to opioids........That guy who screwed up his auto asphyxiation session died doing what he loved. Lots of guys love driving really fast, especially after a few drinks. Doing what you love is an unreliable guide to a good life and utterly subversive of a long one......One time after the biopsy came back negative I went to a favorite BBQ restaurant. I saw someone with his plate piled high, and it occurred to me that I had never truly eaten my fill of good BBQ. I did that day. I felt bloated and dyspeptic for the rest of the day and onto the next day. Sometimes the right proportion is not enough. Less is just the right amount. How much applause is enough?

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stephen cooper said...

As far as I can tell from the people I talk to, many forms of surgery are not just subjectively and objectively easier than they were, say, 10 years ago, but exponentially easier - problem is that people rely on old info about the pain side-effects of surgery. Also, there are some surgeries that are difficult for elderly people - not to mention dangerous - but are little more than out-patient treatments for middle-aged people.

Howard said...

Hip docs (the mediocre ones which make up 75% of the field) are still telling guys to wait until you can't stand the pain any longer before getting a replacement. Also, some folks don't like the sound of being filleted to the thigh knuckle, split like a wishbone, amputate the head and neck of the femur, drill out the marrow a third of the way down inside the thigh, bang in a long metal implant that carries a tiny ball less than half the size of your original equipment, grind off all the cartilage from the pelvic socket, press-fit a in a plastic lined bearing and sew you back up.

After that, a minimum of 6 weeks of rehab followed by a lifetime risk of dislocation, infection and implant fixation failure every day for the rest of your life. If and when it fails and needs to be redone, they just drill deeper and grind more bone down until there is hardly anything left to hold on to.

It's not an easy decision, especially if you get advise from crap surgeons.

As far as pain management, I am glad Jeff Sessions is working hard to prevent the use of non-intoxicating, non-addictive, no side effects CBD extract in favor of percocet and fentanyl.

Ralph L said...

In the 90's, my dad limped around (without meds) for 5 years before having it done, then wondered why he waited. Doctor said it was the worst unbroken one he'd seen. The opposite knee needed replacing soon after from all the limping.

Idiot step-monster took him skiing 6 months later for the second time in his life, 45 years after the first.

Owen said...

'There's no greater truth than that we believe what we want to believe." This is somewhere between tautologous and Extremely Deep. I'll approach it as if it were the latter, because I believe (see what I did there?) that to survive at all we need belief. Hierarchies of beliefs. The axiomatic or given layer; and then others, stacked on it, and others, stacked on them. Maybe that hierarchy is a bad metaphor, and we should talk about epistemological networks, nodes of "things we know" and links (rich or sparse) to other nodes; that would be less dependent on a single Master Fact and more on a robust web of "stuff that has mostly worked for us."

In this context, yes, facing the void (even vicariously, as we hear of this man's death), we want to grab onto that web with both hands.

Mary Beth said...

For my hip PRIOR to surgery I found that gabapentin, which is taken for nerve pain, was much more effective than opiods are OTC like Advil. A good 12 year old single malt wasn't bad either.

Gabapentin has become one of the prescription drugs that are frequently abused because it intensifies the effects of other drugs that are taken with it. It's associated with a higher risk of opioid death.

Ficta said...

" we believe what we want to believe."

ISWYDT. Very nice.

Gahrie said...

"The reason I am no longer a Christian is because there is no objective proof that Christianity is true, and I have no faith that it is (despite searching for years)."

But what, then, is the value of faith? God cannot work in the material world except through souls that are open to him.


I believe faith is very valuable to those that possess it. I often wish I did.

mockturtle said...

I believe faith is very valuable to those that possess it. I often wish I did.

Well put, Gahrie, as faith is, in fact, a gift from God, not something we conjure up ourselves.

mockturtle said...

A class I took on pharmacokinetics years ago taught that opioids taken during intense pain does not produce euphoria nor do they addict. The problem is that so many keep taking it after the pain is gone because, at that point, there is euphoria involved.

I have been on opioids a few times post surgery [after right knee replacement I had to endure painful rehab for several weeks]. At no time did I feel euphoria from the drugs. Only nausea and horrible constipation. And there was no problem with withdrawal when I stopped taking them.

Howard said...

Faith is a gift from our entropic Universe to confidence men. G_d was cleverly created by prehistoric Madison Avenue sharps to direct cash into their pockets and women into their beds. This is why teh Trump is so successful with the religious right. It also explains why many of the extreme left progressives on the left coast are faithful fellow travelers in Christ.

Rusty said...

Howard'
When the surgeon saw my x-rays he couldn't understand how I walked on my own. There was no cartilage left and the socket and knob were worn down to about half. I had been walking around like that for years.
There was no post operative pain. Period. None. Zero.
There was no joint pain at all.
My only pain was from muscles that had atrophied.
Even then, at worst, 4 or 5 out of 10.

Rabel said...

"At no time did I feel euphoria from the drugs."

You were doing it wrong, that is, if you wanted the high.

I had the same experience and asked a more well-informed friend about it and he explained it to me. With hydrocodone as is in Vicodin, for example, you crush or crack the pill and snort or smoke it, or, if you're hardcore, melt and inject it. It's the sudden infusion of a full dose into the bloodstream that produces the euphoria, which I'm told is "better" than heroin and highly addictive. It's hard to stop once you start.

Also, the 5 milligram Vicodin the dentist gives you won't get it done. You need a 10 mg, and 20 or more is better.

Feel free to experiment.

Earnest Prole said...

ISWYDT. Very nice.

ditto

Howard said...

Rusty: I hear you, brother. For the last years before getting both hips replaced, I was 100% bone on bone. The creaking was so bad, I sounded like an old wooden ship being tossed in a gale. What was left of the femurs were jammed up so far into the eroded sockets, they were nearly fused together. I got them both metal on metal resurfaced in 2001 as part of an FDA trial down in LA.

This procedure requires dislocation, which was almost impossible because of the bone spurs and near fusing of the joint. Like you, the joint pain disappeared immediately. The atrophy and pathological muscle memory, however, was a bitch and a half. I can tell when you say 4 or 5 pain that you are using a real scale, not the pussy scale most people use when they call a 3 an 8. It took me a good 5-years of intensive self-directed rehab to get back into running and jumping.

Had x-rays and a metal ion test this past summer and the implants look brand new and the ions are at the bottom of the normal range for having a metal on metal hip implant. I was lucky because I found happened to find the best hip replacement guy on the planet. I saw plenty of ortho surgeons in the years prior and they all told me to wait as long as possible until the pain was unbearable, etc. Back then it was good advise because the plastic hips only lasted 5 to 15 years in big young athletic guys. Now, with the new materials, you are better off getting it fixed before your muscles go south.

Rabel said...

The only time I ever got "high" on poppy juice was with a self-administered morphine pump lying in a hospital bed the day after back surgery. I remember colorful visual imagery and not much else.

Mountain Maven said...

The Rock Star's Death.

Sebastian said...

"they believe they don't believe them, even when they do believe them"

I agree the Allthouse axiom and the Althouse Addendum can be squared.

To avoid contradiction, perhaps we should distinguish between beliefs and beliefs about beliefs.

Trumpit said...

"Tom Petty Died From Accidental Drug Overdose Involving Opioids, Coroner Says"

Is there a difference between opioids and opiates?
Whatever.

Death is death, and murder is murder, or was it suicide or accident that did him in? In my mother's case I know.

My mother was "killed" with a morphine overdose by two sociopathic medical doctors to hide their mistake. I've faced a dilemma as to which word to use to describe the fact that she was intentionally overdosed. I've vacillated among murder, homicide, intentional overdose, killing, and others. I was concerned what the listener or reader would think. Is this person nuts?

It's been coming on six years since she was "killed" in the hospital while I was at her beside. The doctors may never face justice, while I'm now entangled in numerous lawsuits against attorney who ALL committed malpractice in my wrongful death lawsuit that I started in 2013. The attorneys fleeced me bigly and were grossly incompetent, but I regress. Back to the most appropriate word for an intentional morphine overdose of an old lady who was stoically fighting cancer to hide their medical malpractice.

I blurted out to a total stranger that "she was executed" after exchanging pleasantries with him. He was horrified, but in a nice way. I accidentally got the reaction that I wanted by choosing that word. The doctors executed her death warrant by signing a phony DNR for a "diagnosis of pancreatic cancer" a disease she didn't have. It was a mistake made by the paramedics that dropped her off at the hospital.

Executed! Perfect!

eddie willers said...

A class I took on pharmacokinetics years ago taught that opioids taken during intense pain does not produce euphoria nor do they addict.

I anecdotally agree. I came down with pleurisy in my twenties and, if birth'n babies is more painful, then God bless the women.

I was bent over and could hardly move. The nurse thought I was faking it to get drugs but my mother set her right straight and got her to give me a morphine drip. It did nothing but get rid of almost all the pain. No sense of "high" whatsoever.

A true Godsend.

Thuglawlibrarian said...

All these music stars, Prince, Petty, Whitney Houston, Whinehouse, Michael Jackson, Cobain, Jim Morrison, et al. and the serious drug use (addictions). There must have been lots of emotional pain in their lives.

I think fame, stardom, and celebrity are terrible things that most (if not all) can't handle.

stephen cooper said...

Faith is not just a gift from God - sometimes a friend gives us, as sometimes "that is what friends do" - that faith.

Maybe the friend making the gift spent years without faith in God - maybe thinking that all there was in life was being something like a lesser character (without so many wisecracks, but with more continuity) in one of the sitcoms that were so popular in the 70s and 80s and 90s --- and one morning that person woke up with faith, a faith she had not had the morning before (perhaps in the interim there was a beautiful and angelic dream, with wisdom, or words of hope and love from a friend with faith).

The first thing many people do when they recognize they now have faith in the the Lord's promises (The Epistles to the Ephesians and Philippians describe this) is offer up their past suffering, as a person who had not enjoyed the gift of faith, as a way to effect, for someone they care about (maybe someone close in their family life or work life, maybe someone they barely remember), the furthered gift of such faith (pass it on, chebere ok chebere), which (in this spectacularly imperfect world) is a gift that few of us try to give, even when it would be fairly easy (for some of you....).

Yes it's gonna be all right, yes the worst is over now, the morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball.

Anonymous said...

Did you see the absurd slurry of drugs he had in his system?

Fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetylfentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl.

The newspaper articles are absolutely no help about what all of these are. I'm willing to assume that all the ones with "fentanyl" in the name are all the same drug (or derivatives/metabolites thereof).

But temazepam is a benzodiazepine, prescribed for insomnia. Alprazolam is Xanax, an antianxiety medication (also used for insomnia). Citalopram is Celexa, prescribed for depression. Fentanyl and oxycodone are simply bada** s**t.

The family is saying sweet things now, but the prescribing physician(s) must be calling their malpractice insurance carriers.

Bad Lieutenant said...

chebere ok chebere

?

stephen cooper said...

I have some Central/South American friends who try to make my rudimentary Spanish sound better, one day I said to one of my friends, esta bueno (that is good), she said, Steve, say Cheberay! (chebere is a version of chulo, it means cool (as opposed to uncool), tight (as opposed to sloppy) ) - I did not want to just say "chebere' because I did not want to sound like Sammy Davis Junior saying "groovy" so when I say chebere I say, relying in part on my long ago Long Island English, "chebere ok chebere" (phonetically cheberay okay cheberay) or "cheberay all right cheberay".

Bad Lieutenant said...

I know, it's so hard to get idioms out of these Frogs ;) I work with. Part of the problem is a lot of my reading is of course from old literature so the phrases that I did get out of, say, Dumas, don't register with these babies.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Oh you mean chévere! I was a little confused because cool okay cool didn't seem to make sense. I'm trying to remember who was playing with that Stevie Wonder or somebody. I have it on my phone. Maybe Herbie Hancock. Some Earnest sounding Young black musician trying to get with the Afro Cuban rhythms or maybe it was just an Afro Cuban chick.

Urban dictionary is all up in this :

chevere
This word has the generic connotation of "good/cool" and can be used in almost any context that those two words can be used. It can be used less emphatically as a passing comment such as "Terminaste tu tarea? Chevere." (You finished your work? Good." Or it can be said more emphatically to have the connotation of "great/awesome" such as "Ganaste el juego? Chevere!" (You won the game? Great!). It is also very common to use the very emphatic phrase "Que chevere!" to mean "how great!" or "how awesome!".

In terms of its origins, it derives from the African which means that with all due respect to the Venezuelans and Puerto Ricans that have already posted (I am Puerto Rican), the word was almost certainly popularized first in CUBA where Afro-Caribbean culture was strongest. For example, the word was already being used in very early rumba/mambo songs (e.g. Guaguanco Callejero) for as long as we have had recorded evidence. Cuba was the first major exporter of Afro-Caribbean culture to the Spanish-speaking world (and indeed to the entire world), so it was from Mambo songs played on the radio that the word probably disseminated into the popular culture.

The reason why the word may be associated with Puerto Rico more now is that since the 60's - after Cuba was cut off from the world - Puerto Rico became the main proponent of Afro-Caribbean culture (and has itself been surpassed in the last decade or two by the Dominican Republic). Sorry Venezuelans, but to my knowledge Venezuela has never been a major exporter of Afro-Caribbean culture to the rest of the world.
Ganaste el juego? Chevere!
by lmalave April 09, 2008


Bad Lieutenant said...

Chevere, papi chulo!

Oso Negro said...

@Trumpit - there are people who seem more likely to have had their mother murdered by a cabal of sociopathic doctors. I am guessing the men in black suits had her quickly cremated to eliminate the possibility of an autopsy to reveal the truth.

Trumpit said...

@Oso Negro,

First, I ordered an autopsy soon after she died, then I had a toxicologist test her blood. A PhD toxicologist opined that she died from a morphine overdose. The pathologist thought she died from a heart attack. Morphine doesn't show up on autopsy. The evidence shows that she never had a heart attack until she was placed on "Comfort Care For The Dying Patient," i.e., a continuous morphine pump. My mother said she had 0/10 pain level; morphine is for pain. My mother had been placed on observation while in the ER, then she had a (temporary) adverse reaction to Ativan, a tranquilizer given for "anxiety." While on CMO (Comfort Measures Only) she was also denied adequate oxygen, and given no water. Morphine kills by stopping one's breathing.

Does this mean that the autopsy was of no value? No. The autopsy showed that the victim did not have: 1) pneumonia; 2) kidney failure; 3) pancreatic cancer; 4) sepsis. All these diseases were alleged to make it seem like the patient was massively dying to justify placing her on Comfort Care. There was a mountain of evidence beyond the autopsy and blood tests, but those two tests were important to prove a homicide took place to a jury.

bcorig said...

The autopsy toxicology results indicate, in addition to Fentanyl and fentany propionate, acetylfentanyl was found in his blood. . The former two could have been from the fentanyl transdermal as the family asserts. However, cetylfentanyl is not a licensed pharmaceutical in the United States - it has been implicated as a so-called “designer” drug. This suggests injectionable medications not prescribed by a physician were involved in this death and illegal activity likely took place.
Oh, and I was at the last concert. Tom Petty did not appear to be in excellent health ( the Coroner did report, not surprisingly, Emphysema) but the performer I saw definitely did NOT have a fractured hip.
Sad.

stephen cooper said...

Bad Lieutenant - thanks that was fascinating.

Trumpit - good luck at finding the truth one day. I had a cousin who was put down like a rabid dog by a VA doctor (apparently, the doctor choked him to death because my cousin responded violenty, and subconsciously, to a medical procedure that involved forcing something down his throat). It took about 10 years, but eventually justice was done.