Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Addiction and Death

I don't want to bring people down with this post but it is horrific in its reality. It is something a parent of an addict lives with every day. I hope this reminds everyone to celebrate each day with your child, addiction or not.

Another blogger I read wrote about the sheriffs daughter that was found dead in a storage locker. Her body had been placed there by a guy that had been doing drugs with her and she overdosed and died. He panicked and hid the body. This reminded me of how close to death every addict is each day of their using.

One night about midnight the phone rang. It was the emergency room of a hospital. The woman on the other end of the phone ask us if we had a son in his late teens, dark brown hair, about 5'9?

Our response was yes but he is away at college 125 miles from here.

She said this young male had no identification on him but they found a book of checks with our name and number on them. She said if we thought this could be our son we should come to the hospital immediately, he is unconscious and not breathing.

Needless to say we made a hasty trip to the hospital 20 miles away.

It was our son, he and a couple of his "buddies" came back to KC area to score some stuff. At this time he was doing Fentenyl. In the car he did a patch under his tongue and was eating beef jerky at the same time. This caused his throat muscles to stop swallowing. He was choking. The story is they just happened to be driving by the hospital. By this time our son was unconscious and not breathing in the back seat of the car. His buddies pulled up to the door of the emergency room and the security guard saw them roll someone out onto the side walk and jump back into the car and speed away. When he went outside to check, our son was unconscious and still not breathing. The ER people cleared his airway and got him to breathing again. They did not know what he had done so they gave him a shot of Narcan. By the time we got there he was conscious and breathing again.

Another time our son complained of his arms hurting. Our daughter is a nurse and by the time he was complaining terribly and she came and looked at them she said take him to the ER immediately. He had not gone to the doctor because he had no insurance and the doctor would immediately know he was shooting up.

I took him to the ER and they immediately admitted him into the hospital. That night they performed surgery on both of his arms to remove the infected tissue and muscle. He had contracted a staph infection in both arms from not shooting up properly, not cleaning his skin with alcohol wipes before injecting. He spent 15 days in the hospital. After a couple days I went down to the ER doc that treated him to personally thank him. He responded by telling me that when he saw him in the ER he personally felt our son had less than a 50/50 chance to live due to the possibly of that infection already traveling up his arms to his heart. He said he was glad to hear the news that he was alive.

When he was released from the hospital our daughter taught him how to properly shoot up and why swabbing the area with alcohol was so important.

I'm sure many of you with kids actively using are wondering, WHY IS HE WRITING THIS!!!???

Every day of life is a day to hope for a change. We all know you cannot build your life on hope for their recovery but hope and love sustains you and you don't know how much it can help your child in ways we do not understand.

I am sure each of your have similar stories you can write and if it helps please do write. Writing the story may help all of us to see how lucky we all are instead of how bad it is.

It is scary to think how close to death our children are when they are using. We get our days one day at a time, sometimes minute by minute. Try not to spend them in sorrow and anger about their addiction. Our addicts don't care how you are living your life, so you must live your life for you, otherwise the drugs will claim two people.


VJ said...

Sooo many great points in your post, especially that last sentence.

My son has been in and out of many ER's but he has never came that close to death --- that I know of.

You have to deal with this "fear my son will die" thaought process in order to have a life. I am dealing with many issues right now and this is one of them.

"Detach with love" and "acceptance," this is tough. This is the hardest part of my recovery.

I read the book "Loving What Is" by Bryon Katie and one of the questions she suggest her reader's use in dealing with these unhealthy thoughts is, "Who would you be without the thought?" I now use that one a bunch, then I pray. It works for me!

Thanks for your post.

Syd said...

Such true and wise words Ron. The addiction will claim two lives if I don't decide to live mine. I am glad that I learned about that and am living each day to the fullest that I can manage.

Annette said...

I totally get WHY you are writing this. These are thoughts that most of us live with everyday. We all cope in whatever ways work for us. Detaching with love is huge but hard. Glad your son lived through it all to continue to have more chances at living a clean and sober life.

Heather's Mom said...

What an awesome post! I truly appreciate your sharing the stories, and the WHY you wrote it came through loud and clear and with love.
I also want to mention something I have just noticed recently... about "Our addicts don't care how you are living your life, so you must live your life for you". THREE times I have heard an addict (one was an alcoholic) say about their parents, "They have no life." One said she wished her Mom would, "Go out and do something." I found that perspective very interesting.
God bless.

Tori said...

Geez. That was brutal. I am going back to believing my son is not using oxi until he proves me different. It isn't worth the worry wondering if he is cause I know I can't change it and I don't love him any less for it. Thanks for another thought provoking post Ron.

Briar said...

Indeed, I know I live with the fear every day of my son ending up dead or hurting someone else. I have many stories of his near-death experiences to date. All the times he should have died - hit by a car, smashing up a car (while intoxicated), overdosing...

Right now he is far far from sobriety, but I pray not so far that it isn't just around the next corner.

Anonymous said...

this needs to be said!

when i woke up in the ICU after drinking a bottle of vodka and blacking out, I was told I took 24 tablets the night before. To this day I don't remember this. I was not suicidal before I drank. If I had not called my mother immediately after I did it (no memory of this either), I would be dead, plain and simple. I needed to be ventilated as for some hours I could not breathe on my own.

Since then i have found it so much easier to stay sober - I knew this could kill me, I never knew how quickly and easily till that happened.

~alice, recovering alcoholic

Hap Joy Free said...

Your post reminds me how much horror has come into you and your family's life. Im so sorry you have had to endured those experiences and I pray you never have to again. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful for the healthy, sane 18 year old son I have today. God bless you and your son.

Anna said...

I tell my family to make sure that the way you treat her when she is alive is something that you can live with if you see her dead.

Barbara said...

Great reminders. And yes, its important to know how to shoot up properly. Its controversial, sort of like giving teens birth control. Sure in a perfect world kids would say "no thank you I choose not to have sex because I don't want to get you pregnant/get pregnant". Hello? Same with an addict. In a perfect world there would be none. We don't live in a perfect world.

Anonymous said...

My son did die. There is no right answer other than the addict has to change their behaviors and learn. All parents of addicts listen and learn, then we try our best to help the bed way we know how.